Monday, September 22, 2008

Youguo Temple

Youguo Temple is a monastery complex located northeast of Kaifeng, one of the four sacred temples on , in Henan province, China. It was built by the Song Dynasty . The design features a pagoda towering in the center of the complex, a style that flourished in Chinese Buddhist temple architecture through the 11th century. The temple's original pagoda was a mammoth octagonal wooden tower thirteen storeys and 120 metres high. The eminent architect Yu Hao designed and engineered it. The architectural style features densely positioned ''dougong'' in the eaves and multiple storys . The exterior features more than fifty different varieties of brick and 1,600 intricate and richly detailed carvings, including those of sitting , standing monks, singers and dancers, lions, dragons and other legendary beasts as well as many fine engravings. Under the eaves are 104 that ring in the wind. The foundation rests in the silt of the Yellow River. Inside the Iron Pagoda are frescos of the Chinese classical novel, the Journey to the West.

In 1847 the Yellow River overflowed its banks and the Youguo Temple collapsed, but the Iron Pagoda survived. Historically, the pagoda has experienced 38 earthquakes, six floods and many other disasters, but it remains intact after almost 1000 years.

Xumi Pagoda

The Xumi Pagoda or Sumeru Pagoda, also known as Summer Pagoda is a Chinese pagoda of the Buddhist Kaiyuan Monastery west of Zhengding, Hebei province, China. This square-base stone and brick pagoda was built in the year 636 AD during the reign of of the Tang Dynasty . It stands at a height of 48 m and has been well preserved since its initial construction. The left side of the statue was damaged and is missing, and was found in the year 2000 while an excavation was underway under a city street nearby the pagoda.

Three Pagodas

The Three Pagodas are an ensemble of three independent pagodas arranged on the corners of a symmetric triangle, near the town of Dali, Yunnan province, China, dating from the time of the Nanzhao kingdom and Kingdom of Dali.


The Three Pagodas are located about 1.5 km miles north of scenic Dali, Yunnan province. They are at the east foot of the tenth peak of the massive Cangshan Mountains and face the west shore of the Erhai Lake of the ancient Dali town.


The Three Pagodas are made of brick and covered with white mud. As its name implies, the Three Pagodas comprise three independent pagodas forming a symmetric triangle. The elegant, balanced and stately style is unique in China’s ancient Buddhist architectures, which makes it a must-see in the tour of Dali. The Three Pagodas, visible from miles away, has been a landmark of Dali City and selected as a national treasure meriting preservation in China.

The main pagoda, known as Qianxun Pagoda , reportedly built during 824-840 AD by king Quan Fengyou of the Nanzhao state, is 69.6 meters high and is one of the tallest pagodas in China’s history. The central pagoda is square shaped and composed of sixteen stories; each story has multiple tiers of upturned eaves. There is a carved shrine containing a white marble sitting Buddha statue at the center of each fa?ade of every story. The body of the pagoda is hollow from the first to the eighth story, surrounded with 3.3 meters thick walls. In 1978, more than 700 Buddhist antiques, including sculptures made of gold, silver, wood or crystal and documents, were found in the body during a major repairing work. The designers of the pagoda are supposed to have come from Xi’an, the capital of Tang Dynasty at that time and the location of another pagoda, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, which shares the similar style but is two hundred years older.

The other two sibling pagodas, built about one hundred years later, stand to the northwest and southwest of Qianxun Pagoda. They are 42.19 meters high. Different from Qianxun Pagoda, they are solid and octagonal with ten stories. The center of each side of every story is decorated with a shrine containing a Buddha statue.

There is a lake behind them. Named (聚影池) ''Juying Chi'' , the pond is known to be able to reflect images of the Three Pagodas.


The Three Pagodas was initially built for auspicious reasons. According to local legends, Dali was once a swamp inhabited by breeding dragons before the humans arrived. As the dragons, which were believed to deliberately create natural disasters to dispel human intruders, revered pagodas, the Three Pagodas were built to deter the dragons.

The Three Pagodas are well known for their resilience; they have endured several man-made and natural catastrophes over more than one thousand years. Their mother building was known as Chongsheng Monastery and was once the royal temple of the Kingdom of Dali and one of the largest Buddhist centers in south-east Asia. It was originally built at the same time as the first pagoda, but was destroyed in a fire during the rule of the Qing Dynasty. The temple was later rebuilt in 2005. It was recorded that Qianxun Pagoda had been split in an earthquake on May 6th, 1515 AD . However, it miraculously recovered ten days later in an aftershock. The most recent record of severe earthquake in the Dali area occurred in 1925. Only one in one hundred buildings in Dali survived, but the Three Pagodas were undamaged.

The central Qianxun Pagoda was built sometime in the latter half of the 9th century . During repairs in 1979, three copper plates were found at the bottom of the steeple which recorded the exact years of previous repairs, those being 1000, 1142, and 1145.


Small Wild Goose Pagoda

The Small Wild Goose Pagoda, sometimes Little Wild Goose Pagoda , is one of two significant in the city of Xi'an, China, the site of the old Han and Tang capital Chang'an. The other notable pagoda is the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, originally built in 652 and restored in 704. The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built between 707–709, during the Tang Dynasty under Emperor Zhongzong of Tang . The pagoda stood 45 m until the 1556 Shaanxi earthquake. The earthquake shook the pagoda and damaged it so that it now stands at a height of 43 m with fifteen levels of tiers. The pagoda has a brick frame built around a hollow interior, and its square base and shape reflect the building style of other pagodas from the era.

During the Tang Dynasty, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda stood across a street from its mother temple, the Dajianfu Temple. pilgrims brought sacred writings to the temple and pagoda from India, as the temple was one of the main centers in Chang'an for translating Buddhist texts. The temple was older than the pagoda, since it was founded in 684, exactly 100 days after the death of Emperor Gaozong of Tang . Emperor Zhongzong had donated his residence to the building of a new temple here, maintaining the temple for 200 monks in honor of his deceased father Gaozong. The temple was originally called the Daxianfusi or Great Monastery of Offered Blessings by Zhongzong, until it was renamed Dajianfusi by Empress Wu Zetian in 690.


Qizu Pagoda

The Qizu Pagoda , located at Fengxue Temple of Ruzhou, Henan province, China is a stone, multi-eaved Chinese pagoda built in 738 during the Tang Dynasty. The pagoda was built in honor of a , while the name of the structure was given by Emperor Xuanzong of Tang himself.

This brick pagoda is located behind the main hall of the temple. It has nine stories, is 27 m tall , and has a square base. The outstretching eaves of the pagoda form an inverse curve, indicative of pagodas built during the early Tang Dynasty. It's design style is comparable to the Xumi Pagoda built a century earlier.

Pagoda of Tianning Temple (Changzhou)

The Pagoda of Tianning Temple is a modern Chinese pagoda of Changzhou, Jiangsu, China. Construction began in April 2002 while the opening ceremony for the completed structure was held on April 30, 2007, where a crowd of hundreds of monks gathered for the ceremony.

Structural features

The grounds for the Tianning Temple Pagoda occupies a space of 27,000 m2 .

Religious significance

On the completion of the new pagoda at Tianning Temple, the mayor of Changzhou, Wang Weicheng, explicitly correlated his city's economic development with that of . Following the end of religious persecution after the tumultuous Cultural Revolution , the Chinese Communist Party has relaxed it control over religion, especially Chinese Buddhism, which has some 100 million adherents within the People's Republic of China. The deputy abbot of Tianning Temple, Kuo Hui, said that like other religions Buddhism advocates peace and harmony, with ideas that could be beneficial to Chinese society. He also stated that the pagoda was rebuilt to "inherit the fine traditions of Buddhism and to honour ." The pagoda is dedicated to .

Pagoda of Cishou Temple

The Pagoda of Cishou Temple , originally known as Yong'anwanshou Pagoda , is a 16th century stone and brick Chinese pagoda located in the Cishou Temple of Balizhuang , a suburb of Beijing, China. This octagonal-shaped pagoda is roughly 50 m tall, with elaborate ornamental carvings, thirteen tiers of eaves, and a small steeple. The Cishou Pagoda was built in 1576 during the Ming Dynasty , commissioned by Empress Dowager Li during the reign of the Wanli Emperor . The Cishou Pagoda was modelled upon a similar outside Guang'anmen in Beijing. The style of eaves on the pagoda is similar to older Liao Dynasty and pagodas. Although the surrounding Cishou Temple has been destroyed, the original Ming pagoda of Cishou has remained unharmed except for noticeable weathering damage to the carved reliefs on its exterior facade.

The brick base of the pagoda is shaped as a sumeru pedestal and is decorated with relief carvings of the , lotus petals, and other designs. The upper portion of the pagoda features carved designs of such as the guqin. Stylistic ''dougong'' supports—commonly found in —are carved in between the eaves of the pagoda.

Pagoda of Bailin Temple

The Pagoda of Bailin Temple , located in Zhaoxian County, Hebei Province, China is an octagonal-based brick Chinese pagoda built in 1330 during the reign of , ruler of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty . This seven story pagoda stands at a height of about 40 m , built on a stone foundation. The lower section of the pagoda is a brick sumeru pedestal, which features two rows of intricate carvings that include artwork of musicians, celestial guardians, animals, and peonies. The first story of this solid brick pagoda features a facade of doors and windows, as well as columns, rafters, and . Above this are seven tiers of eaves. The design style of this pagoda follows the tradition of the Liao Dynasty and , which were and Jurchen dynasties that ruled northern China before Kublai Khan established the Yuan.

Nine Pinnacle Pagoda

The Nine Pinnacle Pagoda or Jiuding Pagoda is
an eighth-century pavilion-style brick pagoda located in central
Shandong , China. It is noted
for its unique roof design featuring nine small pagodas.

The Nine Pinnacle Pagoda is located near Qinjiazhuang Village, Liubu Town, in Licheng District, under the administration of Jinan City, about 33 kilometers southeast of the city of Jinan proper. It was erected during the Tang Dynasty between the years 742 and 756 AD. The pagoda is made entirely from bricks laid tightly with joint gaps of about 1 centimeter. The pagoda's floor plan is an equilateral octagon in which all of the eight side walls are curved inwards. These concave walls are another distinguishing feature not found in other pagodas of the period. The main body of the pagoda contains only a single storey and the most elaborate feature of the structure are nine small pagodas that decorate the roof. This design may have been chosen to reflect the Chinese saying derived from a story of the Warring States Period which reads: One word, nine . The saying means that a promise given carries a lot of weight . The name of the pagoda has the same pronunciation as the second half of the saying, although the characters for "ding" meaning "pinnacle" and "ding" meaning "ding vessel" are not the same. Each of the roof pagodas has a
square cross-section, three eaved storeys, and features a small door. Eight of the nine roof pagodas are positioned over the eight corners of the
main body's octagon with their doors oriented outwards. The height of these roof pagodas is 2.84 meters each. The ninth pagoda occupies the center of the roof. It is almost twice as large as its peers and its single door faces south. Including these roof decorations, the total
height of the pagoda is 13.36 meters. The eaves of the pagoda are made from 17 layers of brick as is characteristic for the period. The pagoda stands on the grounds of the Nine Pagoda Temple. A change in the appearance of the walls of the pagoda near the middle of the main body is seen as an indication that the lower half of the pagoda may have been formerly surrounded by another structure. The arched entrance door to the pagoda's main storey is located right above this transition. It leads to a chamber which houses a 1.2-meter tall Buddha statue made from stone and executed the style of the Tang Dynasty. There are also statues of two monks. On the wall of the chamber a few traces of Buddhist murals remain.

The Nine Pinnacle Pagoda has been integrated into the grounds of the "Jiuding Pagoda Park of Minority Customs".

References and external links


Liuhe Pagoda

Liuhe Pagoda , literally Six Harmonies Pagoda or Six Harmonies Tower, is multi-storied Chinese pagoda in southern Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, . It is located at the foot of Yuelun Hill, facing the Qiantang River. It was originally constructed during the Northern Song Dynasty , destroyed in 1121, and reconstructed fully by 1165, during the Southern Song Dynasty .

History and background

The pagoda was originally constructed by the ruler of the Wuyue State, some of which would later makeup Zhejiang province. The name 'Liuhe' comes from the six Buddhist ordinances and it is said that the reason for building the pagoda was to calm the tidal bore of the Qiantang River and as a navigational aid. However, the pagoda was completely destroyed during warfare in the year 1121.

After the current pagoda was constructed of wood and brick during the Southern Song Dynasty, additional exterior eaves were added during the and Dynasties . The pagoda is octagonal in shape and some 59.89 meters in height, it also has the appearance of being a thirteen-story structure, though it only has seven interior stories. There is a spiral staircase leading to the top floor and upon each of the seven ceilings are carved and painted figures including animals, flowers, birds and characters. Each story of the pagoda consists of four elements, the exterior walls, a zigzagged corridor, the interior walls and a small chamber. Viewed from outside, the pagoda appears to be layered-bright on the upper surface and dark underneath. That is a harmonious alternation of light and shade.

According to historian Joseph Needham, the pagoda also served as a lighthouse along the Qiantang River. Being of considerable size and stature, it actually served as a permanent lighthouse from nearly its beginning, to aid sailors in seeking anchorage for their ships at night .

Lingxiao Pagoda

The Lingxiao Pagoda is a Chinese pagoda west of the Xinglong Temple in Zhengding, Hebei Province, China.


The original pagoda that stood at the same site was dubbed the Wooden Pagoda, and was built in 860 AD during the Tang Dynasty . The pagoda's present form of brick and wood dates to 1045 AD during the reign of of the Song Dynasty , and was renovated and restored in the , , and dynasties. It was formerly part of the Tianning Monastery, and although the latter no longer exists, the pagoda has been well-preserved since the 11th century. In 1966 the pagoda was damaged in an earthquake, but immediate repairs have kept it standing and open to the public.


The brick base and structure of the 42 m tall pagoda ends after the 4th floor, as the rest of its height from the 5th floor up is purely wooden construction. It features a total of nine stories with nine wooden tiers of eaves encircling the octagonal frame of the pagoda. In the center of the pagoda stands a large column, a feature of Chinese architecture in pagodas that was discontinued sometime after the Song and Yuan periods. Built a decade later in 1055, the Liaodi Pagoda also features an inner column, in the shape of another pagoda. Within the interior of the Lingxiao Pagoda, a wooden staircase leads up to the 4th floor. The pagoda is also crowned with a cast iron spire.

Liaodi Pagoda

The Liaodi Pagoda of Kaiyuan Monastery, Dingzhou, Hebei Province, China is the tallest existing pre-modern Chinese pagoda, built in the 11th century during the Song Dynasty . The pagoda stands at a height of 84 m , resting on a large platform with an octagonal base. Upon completion in 1055, the Liaodi Pagoda surpassed the height of China's previously tallest pagoda still standing, the central pagoda of the Three Pagodas built during the Tang Dynasty, which stands at 69.13 m . The tallest pagoda in Chinese history was a 100 m tall wooden pagoda tower in Chang'an built in 611 by Emperor Yang of Sui, yet this structure no longer stands.


Construction on this stone and brick pagoda began in the year 1001 AD during the reign of Emperor Zhenzong of Song, and was completed in 1055 AD during the reign of Emperor Renzong of Song. Although Emperor Zhenzong intended to have Buddhist gathered by the Chinese monk Huineng from India stored at the pagoda's site, the pagoda served another important function besides religious. Due to its building at a strategic military location, the height of the pagoda made it pristine as a watchtower, which could be used to spot enemy movements coming from the northern Liao Dynasty headed by China's Khitan rivals.

Another pagoda of similar height and design is the Chongwen Pagoda of Shaanxi Province. Completed in 1605 during the Ming Dynasty, this pagoda stands at a height of 79 m , making it the second tallest pagoda built in pre-modern China.


Each floor of the Liaodi Pagoda features gradually-tiered stone eaves, doors and windows while the first floor has an encircling balcony. A split section of the pagoda's walls are open so that the tower's interior may be viewed, along with the actual thickness of the walls. At the top of its steeple, the pagoda features a crowning spire made of bronze and iron. In the interior a large staircase with landings for each floor winds from the bottom all the way up to the top floor. Brick brackets are used to support the landings on each floor, while from the eighth story up there is no brackets supporting the vaulted ceiling. Within the pagoda is a large pillar in the shape of another pagoda, as seen from the inside and as viewed from the cut section. The sinologist and architectural author Nancy Steinhardt features a picture and caption for this in her book ''Liao Architecture''. The painted murals and stone steles with Chinese calligraphy in the pagoda are dated to the Song period when the pagoda was built.

Leifeng Pagoda

Leifeng Pagoda is currently a five story tall tower which has eight sides and is located on Sunset Hill along the south route of the West Lake in Hangzhou which was originally constructed in the year AD 975. It has been a popular tourist attraction since being rebuilt in 2002.

History of the pagoda

The original pagoda was built in 975 AD, during Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, at the order of King Qian Chu of Wuyue. It was built to celebrate the birth of Qian Chu's son, born to Huang Fei, one of his favorite concubines. The Leifeng Pagoda was an octagonal, five-storeyed structure built of brick and wood and with a base built out of bricks.

During the Ming dynasty, attacked Hangzhou. Suspecting it contained weapons, they burned its wooden elements, leaving only the brick skeleton, as can be seen from Ming paintings of the West Lake.

Later, due to a superstition that bricks from the tower could repel illness or prevent miscarriage, many people stole bricks from the tower to grind into powder. On the afternoon of September 25 1924, the pagoda finally collapsed due to disrepair.

Construction of the original

Leifeng Pagoda was originally an octagonal, five-storied tower of brick and wood.

As for whether there was a mausoleum below, this was debated for years until finally radar was used to investigate. On March 11 2001 the mausoleum was excavated and many treasures were found, most notably a gold and silver coated hair of the Buddha.


In October 1999, the provincial and municipal governments complied with the aspirations of the general public decided to rebuild Leifeng Pagoda anew to enhance the scenery of the lake. The body of the pagoda was be based on a steel structure and copper parts which was made up of 1400 tonnes of steel and 200 tonnes of copper.
On 25 October 2002, the rebuilt Leifeng Pagoda opened, built above the ruins of the old one and with documents and exhibits on show for visitors. The current structure contains four sightseeing elevators, and modern features including air conditioners, televisions and speakers. At the entrance of the pagoda there are two autonomous elevators to carry visitors to the foot of the pagoda. The original base of the pagoda is kept in good condition as well as the treasures discovered in a undergroud chamber.

In Culture

Leifeng Pagoda was one of the ten sights of the West Lake because of the .

One Day Trip

This was the last stop in Hangzhou on August 13. You can see this building in the distance in some of the West Lake pictures. Lei Feng means "Thunder Peak", and Pagoda refers to the style of building.

The story about this particular Pagoda has to do with Bai Su-Zheng. She was a White Snake, the most elegant and beautiful of all snakes. One day she was visiting Hangzhou with her sister, the Green Snake, and they used their magical powers to disguise themselves as beautiful women. It began raining heavily, and the man Xu Xian offered them his umbrella, not knowing that they were supernatural. Immediately, Bai Su-Zheng and Xu Xian fell in love; soon after they were married, and Bai Su-Zheng even became pregnant. She never told Xu Xian about her true self.

But the monk Fa Hai warned Xu Xian that his wife was a snake, and he suggested that Xu Xian give his wife a special wine to drink at the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival. When she drank the wine, Bai Su-Zheng returned to her white snake form and Xu Xian was literally scared to death. Bai Su-Zheng was so upset that she risked her own life to go to Kunlun mountain and steal a special herb that would bring Xu Xian back from the dead. Unfortunately she was caught, but the Guard was so moved by her bravery and love that he gave her the herb anyway and she brought Xu Xian back to life.

However, when he awoke Xu Xian was still frightened and fled. To keep him separated from his wife, Fai Hai confined Xu Xian to the Temple and forced him to become a monk. Bai Su-Zheng begged Fa Hai to release Xu Xian, but he refused. Bai Su-Zheng brought war on Fa Hai. In the end, she ultimately lost the battle and returned to Hangzhou in defeat. Little did they all know that during the fighting Xu Xian was secretly released by a young monk. He happened to return to the same place in Hangzhou, where he had first met his wife. They were reunited and they lived happily. Bai Su-Zheng had a baby boy.

But Fa Hai wouldn't give up so easily and he went to heaven to enlist the aid of a powerful fighter with a magic lantern. One day Xu Xian went to buy a hat for his son, but the hat was actually the lantern, which caused Bai Su-Zheng to come under the spell of the fighter. He imprisoned her under the Lei Feng Pagoda where she remained for many years. In the meantime, the Green Snake practiced her magic. Finally she was strong enough to defeat Fa Hai, destroy the Lei Feng Pagoda, and release White Snake who immediately rejoined her husband and son. They lived happily ever after.

This site was rebuilt recently by the government and is quite up-to-date. Notice the escalator outside.



Iron Pagoda

The Iron Pagoda of Youguo Temple , Kaifeng City, Henan province, is a Buddhist Chinese pagoda built in 1049 AD during the Song Dynasty of . It was a brick pagoda tower built on the location of a previous wooden pagoda that had been burnt down by lightning fire in 1044 AD. Along with the , , , , and pagodas, it is seen as a masterpiece of Song Dynasty architecture.


This octagonal-base structure stands at a current height of 56.88 meters , with a total of 13 stories. It is a solid-core brick tower with an inner spiral stone staircase and outside openings to allow light and air flow. The architectural style features densely positioned, ''dougong'' in the eaves and multiple stories . Under the eaves are 104 that ring in the wind. The foundation rests in the silt of the Yellow River. Inside the Iron Pagoda are frescos of the classical Chinese tale, the ''Journey to the West''.


In the dynasty's capital city of Kaifeng, the famous architect Yu Hao built a magnificent wooden pagoda as part of Youguo Temple that was considered by many of his contemporaries to be a marvel of art. It was thirteen stories and 120 meters high. Unfortunately, the widely admired structure burned down in 1044 after a lightning strike.

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda or Big Wild Goose Pagoda , is a located in southern Xi'an, Shaanxi province, . It was built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty and originally had five stories, although the structure was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian and its exterior brick facade renovated during the Ming Dynasty. One of the pagoda's many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the that were brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and traveller Xuanzang.

Surroundings and history

The original pagoda was built during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of Tang , then standing at a height of 54 m . However, this construction of rammed earth with a stone exterior facade eventually collapsed five decades later. The ruling Empress had the pagoda rebuilt and added five new stories by the year 704 AD. However, heavily damaged the pagoda and reduced it by three stories, to its current height of seven stories. Its related structure, the 8th century Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an, only suffered minor damage in the 1556 earthquake . The monastic grounds around the pagoda during the Tang Dynasty had ten courtyards and a total of 1,897 bays. In those days graduate students of the in Chang'an inscribed their names at this monastery.

Close by the pagoda is the Temple of Great Maternal Grace; Da Ci'en. This temple was originally built in and then rebuilt in memory of his mother Empress Wende by Li Zhi who later became the Tang Emperor .

The monk Xuanzang's statue stands in front of the temple area.

Futuci Pagoda

Futuci Pagoda is a wooden that was built in Xuzhou during the Three Kingdoms period in China.

Fragrant Hills Pagoda

The Fragrant Hills Pagoda of the Fragrant Hills in Beijing, China was built in 1780 during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor as part of the Grand Zongjing Monastery. Although the monastery located just north of the pagoda was burned down by the Eight-Nation Alliance in 1900, the Fragrant Hills Pagoda was unharmed by the nearby fires. The pagoda is octagonal-shaped, 40 m tall with seven stories, and has a stone square-platform at the base to support the structure. The pagoda is adorned with glazed tiles of yellow, green, purple, and blue hues. Surrounding the pagoda at the base is a wooden Chinese pavilion with supporting columns, this structure crowned with a white marble railing and terrace.

Four Gates Pagoda

The Four Gates Pagoda is a Sui Dynasty stone Chinese pagoda located in central Shandong , China. It is thought to be the oldest remaining pavilion-style stone pagoda in China. The oldest extant brick-built pagoda in China is the 40 m tall Songyue Pagoda of 523 AD.

The Four Gates Pagoda is located at the foot of Qinglong Mountain, near Liubu Village, in Licheng District, under the administration of Jinan City, about 33 kilometers southeast of the city of Jinan proper. To the west of the pagoda once stood the Shentong Temple , which is now in ruins.

According to an inscription on a stone tablet which was discovered inside the pagodas ceiling in 1972, the pagoda was "built in the seventh year of the period of the Sui Dynasty". This corresponds to the year 611 AD, near the end of the dynasty. During the Sui Dynasty, stone and brick were introduced as material for building pagodas. The Four-Gates Pagoda was build from blocks quarried from a hard local rock. All extant older stone pagodas are sculptured pagodas or columns in the shape of a pagoda. The simple design of the Four Gates Pagoda is typical for one-storey, pavilion-style pagodas: It has a square cross-section delineated by plane side walls. All elements of the structure are symmetrical with four identical sides each facing one of the four cardinal directions. In the center of each wall is a door with straight sides and round arch on top . The roof of the pagoda is pyramid shaped. It consists of 23 tiers of overlapping stone slabs and is supported by 5 tiers of stone eaves. The tip of the roof is occupied by a stone steeple. The overall shape of the steeple resembles a box-shaped pagoda which is carved with scriptures and sits on its own pedestal with stone corner decorations in the shape of banana leaves. The spire of the steeple is made up of 5 stone discs. The total height of the pagoda is 10.4 meters; each side is 7.4 meters long.

The interior of the pagoda is dominated by a large central pillar with a square cross-section like the walls of the pagoda, between the surface of the central pillar and the inner side of the walls is a corridor which leads around the entire pillar. The roof of the pagoda is supported by 16 triangular beams which link the outer walls to the central pillar. On each of the four sides of the central pillar, behind the gates, a seated sculpture is located. The four sculptures are: the "Subtle-voiced" Buddha on the northern wall, the Ratnasambhava Buddha on the southern wall, the Akshobhya Buddha on the eastern wall, and the Amitayus Buddha on the western wall. On the base of the statues is a dedication inscription dated to the year 544 AD . According to the inscription, a high-ranking military and civil official named Yang Xian Zhou commissioned the Buddha statues to commemorate his ancestors on occasion of the anniversary of his father's death. This suggests that the statues are significantly older than the pagoda which houses them. The pagoda may thus have been build for the purpose of housing these sculptures.

The head of one of the four Buddha statues in the pagoda, the Akshobhya Buddha seated on the east wall, was sawed off and stolen in 1997. The head came eventually into the possession of a group of business people from Taiwan, who presented it to Dharma Drum Mountain Foundation in Peitou, Taipei, to be exhibited in the foundation's Museum of Buddhist History and Culture. After the origin of the head was determined, it was returned to its original location in 2002.

Next to the pagoda stands an ancient pine tree known as the "Nine-tip Pine" or "Thousand Year Pine" since it is believed to be more than thousand years old. Two other pagodas dating from the Tang Dynasty stand near the Four-Gates Pagoda: The Dragon-and-Tiger Pagoda and the Minor Dragon-and-Tiger Pagoda.

References and external links


Duobao Glazed Pagoda

Duobao Glazed Pagoda is a Chinese at the back of Longevity Hill inside the Summer Palace of Beijing, China. It was built during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty.

The pagoda is mostly noteworthy for its decoration: it is completely covered in tiny glazed Buddhist statues. It has three stories, each with double or triple-layer eaves supported with s.

The pagoda used to have a next to it, however, it was destroyed and only its brick platform survives.

Dragon-and-Tiger Pagoda

The Dragon-and-Tiger Pagoda is a Tang Dynasty brick and stone pagoda located in central Shandong , China. It is considered a characteristic example of the pagoda style of the period.

The Dragon-and-Tiger Pagoda is located in Nanshan, near Liubu Village, in Licheng County, under the administration of Jinan City, about 33 kilometers southeast of the city of Jinan proper. The pagoda stands near the site formerly occupied by the Shentong Temple and was erected as a burial monument to a monk. No records about the construction date of the pagoda are known to exist.

The pagoda is designed in a single-storey pavilion-style with a square cross-section. The total height of the structure is
10.8 meters. The base of the pagoda consists of a three-tier pedestal decorated with relief sculptures of lions and lotus flowers. On the pedestal rests the central pillar of the pagoda which is carved out of a single cube-shaped stone block with 4 meters edge length. Rectangular doors are carved into each side of the central pillar. Behind each of these doors, a carved sculpture is positioned. The top of the pagoda consists of a richly decorated brick roof. The artistic and technical design of the roof suggest that it has been rebuild during the Song Dynasty. The pagoda is vividly decorated with alto-relievo tang-dynasty-style
sculpture on the central pillar showing the Buddha, bodhisattvas, celestial guards, flying apsarases , as well as the dragons and tigers which give the pagoda its name.

Two other pagodas stand near the Dragon-and-Tiger Pagoda: The
Four-Gates Pagoda and the Minor Dragon-and-Tiger Pagoda. The latter also dates from the Tang Dynasty area and - although much smaller - shares many features of the Dragon-and-Tiger Pagoda. Also in the immediate vicinity of the Dragon-and-Tiger Pagoda is the Thousand Buddha Cliff into which over 200 religious statues as well as sculptures of noble people have been carved during the Tang Dynasty.

References and external links


Daqin Pagoda

Daqin Pagoda in Chang'an, Shaanxi Province, located by Louguan temple, China, is the remnant of the earliest surviving in China. The church and the monastery were built in 640 by members of the Assyrian Church of the East, also referred to as the Nestorian church. ''Daqin'' is the name for the Roman Empire in the Chinese language of the time.


Persecution of Christians in China led to the abandonment of Daqin in about 845. Much later, in 1300, a temple was installed in the pagoda. An earthquake severely damaged the pagoda in 1556 and it was finally abandoned. Due to the earthquake, many of the underground chambers of the complex are no longer reachable. Daqin was "rediscovered" in 1998 and its roots in early Chinese Christianity were recognized.

The pagoda today

Inside the pagoda, artistic works in both Western and Asiatic style can still be found, among them Jonah at the walls of Nineveh, a nativity scene and graffiti. Many of these artworks are made from mud and plaster, which suffered during prior centuries from exposure to the elements. Seismic activity and flooding endanger the stability of the pagoda. In 1999, the pagoda's exterior was restored, but overall stability was not improved. Further restoration of the site is planned, as well as exploration, most probably by remote probe, of the collapsed underground chambers.

Beisi Pagoda

The Beisi Pagoda or North Temple Pagoda is a Chinese pagoda located at Bao'en Temple in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. The base of the pagoda has an octagonal frame, and the tower rises nine stories in a total height of 76 m . The pagoda was once eleven stories tall, yet was damaged and reduced to nine stories. It's double eaves and flying corners are similar to that of the Liuhe Pagoda found in Hangzhou. Its base and outside walls are made of brick, the balustrades made of stone, and the eaves and banisters encircling the structure are made of wood.


Although the present structure dates to the Ming Dynasty , the historical site of construction for the pagodas dates back 1,700 years. A Buddhist pagoda built during the reign of Sun Quan in the 3rd century originally stood at the site , along with another pagoda built during the Liang Dynasty . The current design of the pagoda structure was made between the years 1131 and 1162, during the Song Dynasty . Patronage and construction for the Song era pagoda was headed by the Buddhist monk Dayuan. However, the pagoda was burnt down by fire towards the end of the Song Dynasty and rebuilt during the MIng.

During the modern repairs of the pagoda in 1960 and 1975, Chinese artifacts were found within the , including a copper turtle and statues of the . The latest restoration of the pagoda was in 2006.

Baochu Pagoda

Baochu Pagoda is a in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, . Known as the ''Landmark of West Lake'', it is located just north of the lake on top of Precious Stone Hill . Its small base supports seven stories and gives it a distinctively slender and elegant appearance.

The name Baochu, translated directly, means "protect Chu", who, legend has it, refers to Qian Chu, the last king of Wuyue. As the story goes, one of King Chu's ministers had the temple constructed for prayers to be said for his safe return from a trip he had taken to Kaifeng, in central China. He had been summoned there by the Emperor and had been gone many days with no news of his return.

It was originally constructed in 963 and stood nine stories tall. Its most recent reconstruction, in 1933, left it slightly shorter, seven stories, and it has most recently had its lantern replaced on its top, though its previous one is on display near the pagoda. It is constructed of brick and stone and contains no internal staircase. The tower lies next to a path that runs the length of West Lake's northern mountain range and is accessible by both dirt paths and cement stairs from nearly every side of the mountain.

Bao'en Temple

Bao'en Temple is a well-preserved fifteenth century monastery complex located in northwestern , China. It was built by Wang Xi, a local chieftain, between 1440 and 1446 during 's reign in the Ming Dynasty .


As is typical in Chinese Buddhist temples, the major halls were constructed along a central while the minor halls and other structures were built along axes. The many galleries connecting the halls form rectangular courtyards. Numerous other buildings are part of the complex including a meditation hall, a fasting hall, and storage halls. Stele pavilions stand on the east and west sides. As is characteristic of the Ming style, in every hall part of the ceiling is exposed.

At the centre of Dabei Hall is a golden statue of Guanyin, the goddess of mercy, carved out of a nanmu tree. The figure is nine metres tall and has 1,004 clusters of hands and eyes. At the centre of Huayan Hall is the revolving sutra cabinet, a huge octagonal wooden structure that turns like a lever and even today can still turn smoothly.