Chinese Pagoda

               Big White Goose Pagoda
Pagoda (tǎ 塔) 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.

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History
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 
Four-Door Pagodato 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 (zhōng lóu 钟楼). With its development in Tang (táng 唐), Song (sòng 宋), Yuan (yuán 元), Ming (míng 明), and Qing (qÄ«ng 清) 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 tǎ 佛塔) and Wenfeng Pagoda (wén fēng tǎ 文峰塔).

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Significance
Wood PagodaChinese 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 tǎ 大雁塔)
Big Wild Goose Pagoda is located in the Daci"en Temple (dà cí ēn sì 大慈恩寺) in the southern suburb of Xi"an (xÄ« ān 西安), Shanxi Province (shǎn xÄ« shěng 陕西省). It was built in A.D. 652 during the reign of Emperor Gaozong (gāo zōng 高宗) of the Tang Dynasty (táng cháo 唐朝) (618-907), originally the pagoda was functioned to collect Buddhist materials that were taken from India by the hierarch Xuanzang (xuán zàng 玄奘), 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 Big Wild Goose Pagodapagoda". 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« ān shì 西安市) 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 běn 阎立本) 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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中国塔

      塔是中国古代文明、文化的一种重要标志和象征,也是我国古代建筑中的一个重要类型。佛教传来我国,结合中国特色创立的佛教寺院和中国塔有了很大的发展,塔是寺院中的重要组成部分。经过长期建造,不仅数量多,而且内容丰富。小型的塔可作为雕刻艺术品,纪念品;高大的塔则是古代的多层建筑,它涉及到不同历史时期的状况,也涉及到不同历史时期的结构、力学等各方面的科学技术发展水平。

历史
      塔是一种在尼泊尔、中国、日本、韩国、越南以及亚洲其它地方常见的,有着特定的形式和风格的东方传统建筑。原指为安置佛陀舍利等物,而以砖石等建造成的建筑物,后来又泛指于佛陀生Big Wild Goose Pagoda处、成道处、转法轮处、般涅槃处,乃至安置诸佛菩萨像、佛陀足迹、祖师高僧遗骨等,而以土、石、砖、木等筑成的高耸型点式建筑。印度佛教建筑窣堵坡和中国的传统建筑楼阁是塔的两大源头。随着佛教传入,中国的窣堵坡与中土的钟楼结合后,经历了唐宋元明清各朝的发展,并与临近区域的建筑体系相互交流融合,逐步形成了多种形态结构各异的塔系,建筑平面从早期的正方形逐渐演变成了六边形、八边形乃至圆形。其间塔的建筑技术也不断进步结构日趋合理,所使用的材质也从传统的夯土、木材扩展到了砖石、陶瓷、琉璃、金属等材料。14世纪以后,塔逐渐从宗教世界走向世俗世界,因此按照经律系统,塔可以分为佛塔和文峰塔。

意义
      在建筑学层面,塔是一种非常独特的东方建筑,其体量高大用料多样,在不同的地区地质条件不同,建塔技术也不同,对塔的建筑学研究涉及了材料力学、结构力学、土壤学、地质学等诸多方面。
      在东方文化中,塔的意义不仅仅局限于建筑学层面。塔承载了东方的历史、宗教、美学、哲学等诸多文化元素,是探索和了解东方文明的重要媒介。

大雁塔
      大雁塔位于陕西省西安市南郊慈恩寺内,建于唐代,是全国著名的古代建筑,被视为古都西安的象征。唐高宗永徽三年(公元652年)玄奘法师为供奉从印度带回的佛像,舍利和梵文经典,在慈恩寺的西塔院建起一座高180尺的五层砖塔,后在武则天长安年间改建为七层。此后民间有这样的说法:“救人一命胜造七级浮屠”。大雁塔塔通高64.5米,塔体为方形锥体,造型简洁,气势雄伟,是我国佛教建筑艺术中不可多得的杰作。塔身用砖砌成,磨砖对缝坚固异常。塔内有楼梯,可以盘旋而上。每层四面各有一个拱券门洞,可以凭栏远眺。长安风貌尽收眼底。塔的底层四面皆有石门,门桅上均有精美的线刻佛像,传为唐代大画家阎立本的手笔。大雁塔在唐代就是著名的游览胜地,因而留有大量文人雅士的题记,仅明清时期的题名碑就有二百余通。至今,大雁塔仍是古城西安的标志性建筑,也是闻名中外的胜迹。

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