Lofty legends: 14 ancient Chinese pagodas with distinctive styles

The Giant White Stupa, Xinzhou, Shanxi province

Updated: Apr 13, 2022 Print
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The Tayuan Temple is located in the southern part of the Xiantong Temple in Xinzhou, North China’s Shanxi province. One of the five famous Buddhist monasteries on Mount Wutai, it was originally a courtyard enclosing a Buddhist stupa in the Xiantong Temple. After the reconstruction of the stupa during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), it separated from the complex and became an independent temple. It was thus named “Tayuan” after the giant white stupa in its yard (“tayuan” means a courtyard with a pagoda in Chinese).

The Giant White Stupa is named the Sakyamuni Stupa. [Photo/IC]

The stupa is called the Sakyamuni Stupa, and is commonly referred to as the Giant White Stupa. It has a height of 75.3 meters and a circumference of 83.3 meters with a square base as well as a huge inverted-bowl-like body.

The cap of the pagoda finial is made up of 63 overhanging pieces. [Photo/IC]

The finial is covered with eight bronze plates which are placed to form a circle according to the eight trigrams. There is a copper tip on the top of the finial, about five meters high. The cap of the finial is made up of 63 overhanging pieces, each 2 meters high and adorned with three wind bells at its tip and producing euphonious sounds when the wind blows.

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