Lofty legends: 14 ancient Chinese pagodas with distinctive styles

Small Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi’an, Shaanxi province

Updated: Apr 13, 2022 Print
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A part of today’s Xi’an Museum, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda is located at the Jianfu Temple which was built in the year 684 to bless Emperor Gaozong (r. 649-83) of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Yijing (635-713), an eminent monk who made a great contribution to spreading Buddhism, used to preside over Buddhist rites and translate scriptures there. It was not only a famous imperial temple, but also a garden with beautiful scenery. With its construction completed between 707 and 710, the pagoda gained its name as it was smaller than the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in the Ci’en Temple of the same city.

The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is square in plan and has multi layers of eaves. [Photo/IC]

The pagoda is square in plan and has multi layers of eaves. Originally in 15 stories, it now has only 13 stories without a top and a cracked body – a result of several earthquakes throughout history. The pagoda is 43.4 meters tall and has a square base with a perimeter of over 44 meters. The melodious ringing of bells hanging from the pagoda’s eave corners was one of the eight outstanding cultural experiences in the central Shaanxi area of ancient China.

Withstanding multiple earthquakes in history, the pagoda now has only 13 stories left, and a cracked body without a top. [Photo/IC]


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