Pagoda (tÇ å¡) is an important symbol of civilization and culture of ancient China. It’s also a significant style of ancient architecture in China. Since Buddhism introduced to our country, pagodas with Chinese characteristics has increased rapidly. And it has become an important part of the temple. Mini-pagodas can be taken as a sculpture and souvenir. Tall pagodas are with ancient multi-story structure, reflecting the situations such as technology development in different historical periods.
Pagoda is common in Nepal, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia. It is the traditional oriental architecture with specific form and style. The Pagoda"s original purpose was
to house relics and sacred writings. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Pagoda is evolved from the Stupa of the Indian Buddhism and Chinese traditional pavilion. Since Buddhism has introduced to China, Chinese people combined Stupa with Clock Tower (zhÅng lóu éæ¥¼). With its development in Tang (táng å), Song (sòng å®), Yuan (yuán å ), Ming (míng æ), and Qing (qÄ«ng æ¸ ) dynasties, the pagoda has integrated with adjacent regions, and gradually formed various styles. The earliest base-structure of Chinese pagodas was square-base and circular-base. By the 10th century the Chinese began to build octagonal-base pagoda towers. During the period, the technique of building pagodas was advanced gradually. The materials were extended from rammed earth, wood to brick, ceramic, azure stone and metal. After the 14th century, the pagoda gradually becomes common. According to the Sutras and Vinaya system, pagoda consists of Buddha Pagoda (fó tÇ ä½å¡) and Wenfeng Pagoda (wén fÄng tÇ æå³°å¡).
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Chinese pagodas are with special features. A pagoda may be built of any kind of materials - stone, brick, wood, glazed tile, iron or gold. And it can be round, square, hexagonal or octagonal in shape.
The pagoda is with great significance in Chinese culture. With their beautiful shapes, bas-relief carvings and upturned eaves, they no longer serve religious purposes alone but are exquisite tourist attractions as well.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda (dà yàn tÇ å¤§éå¡)
Big Wild Goose Pagoda is located in the Daci"en Temple (dà cí Än sì å¤§æ æ©å¯º) in the southern suburb of Xi"an (xÄ« Än è¥¿å®), Shanxi Province (shÇn xÄ« shÄng éè¥¿ç). It was built in A.D. 652 during the reign of Emperor Gaozong (gÄo zÅng é«å®) of the Tang Dynasty (táng cháo åæ) (618-907), originally the pagoda was functioned to collect Buddhist materials that were taken from India by the hierarch Xuanzang (xuán zàng çå¥), a famous Buddhist monk who visited India for studying Buddhist classics, translated Indian Buddhist classics into Chinese language in this temple. Big Wild Goose Pagoda firstly was built to a height of 60 meters (197 feet) with five stories, it is now 64.5 meters (211.6 feet) high with an additional two stories. It was said that after that addition came the saying-"Saving a life exceeds building a seven-storied pagoda". Externally it looks like a square cone, simple but grand and it is a masterpiece of Buddhist construction. Built of brick, its structure is very firm. Inside the pagoda, stairs twist up so that visitors can climb and overlook the panorama of Xi"an City (xÄ« Än shì è¥¿å®å¸) from the arch-shaped doors on four sides of each storey. On the walls are engraved fine statues of Buddha by the renowned artist Yan Liben (yán lì bÄn éç«æ¬) of the Tang Dynasty. Steles by noted calligraphers also grace the pagoda. Around the Daci"en Temple, there are some bronze statues and stone statues which show the social life in the Tang Dynasty. Moreover, there are many square columns which are engraved with the poems of the Tang Dynasty. As the symbol of the old-line Xi"an, Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists. Till now, Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a famous places of interest all over the world.
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