Monday, September 22, 2008

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.

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