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Chinese Pagoda
Learn Chinese - History and Culture

               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.

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 (qīng 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).

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 (xī ān 西安), Shanxi Province (shǎn xī 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 (xī 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.



      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。





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