From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|Wooden five-story pagoda of Hōryū-ji in Japan, built in 7th century, one of the oldest wooden pagodas in the world.
|Wooden three-story pagoda of Ichijō-ji in Japan, built in 1171 AD
Wooden five-story pagoda of Hōryū-ji in Japan, built in 7th century, one of the oldest
|One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi, Vietnam.
|The nine-story Xumi Pagoda, Hebei, China, built in 636 AD
|Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan
|The Bombardier Pagoda at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Nepal and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist, and were often located in or near temples. This term may refer to other religious structures in some countries. In Vietnam, pagoda is a more generic term referring to a place of worship, although pagoda is not an accurate word to describe a Buddhist temple. The modern pagoda is an evolution of the Ancient Indian stupa, a tomb-like structure where sacred relics could be kept safe and venerated. The architectural structure of the stupa has spread across Asia, taking on many diverse forms as details specific to different regions are incorporated into the overall design.
The word is first attested for in English in the period c. 1625–35; introduced from the Portuguese pagode, temple, from the Persian butkada (but idol + kada temple, dwelling.)  Another etymology, found in many English language dictionaries, is modern English pagoda from Portuguese (via Dravidian), from Sanskrit bhagavati, feminine of bhagavatt “blessed” < bhaga “good fortune.”
The origin of the pagoda can be traced to the Indian stupa (3rd century BC). The stupa, a dome shaped monument, was used in India as a commemorative monument associated with storing sacred relics. The stupa emerged as a distinctive style of Indian architecture and was adopted in Southeast and East Asia, where it became prominent as a Buddhist monument used for enshrining sacred relics. In East Asia, the architecture of Chinese towers and Chinese pavilions blended into pagoda architecture, eventually also spreading to Southeast Asia. The pagoda’s original purpose was to house relics and sacred writings.This purpose was popularized due to the efforts of Buddhist missionaries, pilgrims, rulers, and ordinary devotees to seek out, distribute, and extol Buddhist relics.
Chinese iconography is noticeable in Chinese pagoda as well as other East Asian pagoda architectures. The image of the Shakyamuni Buddha in the abhaya mudra is also noticeable in some Pagodas. Buddhist iconography can be observed throughout the pagoda symbolism.
In an article on Buddhist elements in Han art, Wu Hung suggests that in these tombs, Buddhist iconography was so well incorporated into native Chinese traditions that a unique system of symbolism had been developed.
Pagodas attract lightning strikes because of their height. This tendency may have played a role in their perception as spiritually charged places. Many pagodas have a decorated finial at the top of the structure. The finial is designed in such a way as to have symbolic meaning within Buddhism; for example, it may include designs representing a lotus. The finial also functions as a lightning rod, and thus helps to both attract lightning and protect the pagoda from lightning damage. Early pagodas were constructed out of wood, but steadily progressed to sturdier materials, which helped protect against fires and rot.
Pagodas traditionally have an odd number of levels, a notable exception being the eighteenth century pagoda “folly” designed by Sir William Chambers at Kew Gardens in London.
Structures that invoke pagoda architecture:
- The Bombardier Pagoda, or Pagoda Tower, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This 13-story pagoda, used as the control tower for races such as the Indy 500, has been transformed several times since it was first built in 1913.
- Taipei 101 in Taiwan, record setter for height (508m) in 2004 and currently the world’s second tallest completed building.
- Mercedes-Benz W113, nicknamed Pagoda for its concave hard top roof line. Included are the 1964-1971 230SL, 250SL, and 280SL sport coupes.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Beisi Pagoda
The Beisi Pagoda (Chinese: 北寺塔; pinyin: Běisì Tǎ; Wade-Giles: Peiszu T’a) or North Temple Pagoda is a Chinese pagoda located at Bao’en Temple in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. The base of the pagoda has an octagonal frame, and the tower rises nine stories in a total height of 76 m (243 ft). The pagoda was once eleven stories tall, yet was damaged and reduced to nine stories. its double eaves and flying corners are similar to that of the Liuhe Pagoda found in Hangzhou. Its base and outside walls are made of brick, the balustrades made of stone, and the eaves and banisters encircling the structure are made of wood.
Although the present structure dates to the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) (with renovations in following eras), the historical site of construction for the pagodas dates back 1,700 years. A Buddhist pagoda built during the reign of Sun Quan in the 3rd century originally stood at the site (in honor of his wet nurse), along with another pagoda built during the Liang Dynasty (502-557). The current design of the pagoda structure was made between the years 1131 and 1162, during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Patronage and construction for the Song era pagoda was headed by the Buddhist monk Dayuan. However, the pagoda was burnt down by fire towards the end of the Song Dynasty and rebuilt during the MIng.
During the modern repairs of the pagoda in 1960 and 1975, Chinese artifacts were found within the steeple, including a copper turtle and statues of the Buddha. The latest restoration of the pagoda was in 2006
Remnants of the pagoda
Daqin Pagoda (大秦塔) in Chang’an, Shaanxi Province, located about two kilometres to the west of Lou Guan Tai temple is the remnant of the earliest surviving Christian church in China. The church and the monastery were built in 640 by early Nestorian missionaries. Daqin is the name for the Roman Empire in the early Chinese language documents of the first and second century, by the mid-ninth century it was also used to refer to the mission churches of the Syriac Christians.
Persecution of Christians in China led to the abandonment of Daqin in about 845. Much later, in 1300, a Buddhist temple was installed in the pagoda. An earthquake severely damaged the pagoda in 1556 and it was finally abandoned. Due to the earthquake, many of the underground chambers of the complex are no longer reachable. Daqin was “rediscovered” in 1998 and its roots in early Chinese Christiagrnity were recognized.
This account needs to be emended. The Daqin Temple was converted to Buddhist use by the Northern Sung Dynasty at the latest; the great poet, Su Shih/Shi (Tung-p’o/Dongpo; 1037-1101) visited the place in 1064 and wrote a well-known poem about it, the poem entitled “Daqin Temple” (using the Buddhist word for “temple”)大秦寺, and his younger brother Su Ch’e/Che, wrote an “echoing” poem referring to the monks at the temple. Also, note that the claim that the seriously damaged sculptures inside are Christian is most unlikely to be true. They simply lack sufficient detail, and what is left is entirely consistent with known Buddhist iconographical schemes. — Jonathan Chaves, Professor of Chinese, The George Washington Universit
The pagoda today
Inside the pagoda, artistic works in both Western and Asiatic style can still be found, among them Jonah at the walls of Nineveh, a nativity scene and Syriac graffiti. Many of these artworks are made from mud and plaster, which suffered during prior centuries from exposure to the elements. Seismic activity and flooding endanger the stability of the pagoda. In 1999, the pagoda’s exterior was restored, but overall stability was not improved. Further restoration of the site is planned, as well as exploration, most probably by remote probe, of the collapsed underground chambers.
Outside of the pagoda, a replica of the Nestorian Stele and its stone tortoise have been installed.
The exterior of the pagoda and its surroundings were featured in the first episode of the 2009 BBC program “A History of Christianity”. The program also features an interview with Martin Palmer by the presenter Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda
Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi’an, China
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda or Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Chinese: 大雁塔; pinyin: Dàyàn Tǎ), is a Buddhist pagoda located in southern Xi’an, Shaanxi province, China. It was built in 652 during the Tang Dynasty and originally had five stories, although the structure was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian and its exterior brick facade was renovated during the Ming Dynasty. One of the pagoda’s many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and traveler Xuanzang.
Surroundings and history
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda
Close up view of the eaves and exterior bricks
The original pagoda was built during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of Tang (r. 649-683), then standing at a height of 54 m (177 ft). However, this construction of rammed earth with a stone exterior facade eventually collapsed five decades later. The ruling Empress Wu Zetian had the pagoda rebuilt and added five new stories by the year 704 AD. However, a massive earthquake in 1556 heavily damaged the pagoda and reduced it by three stories, to its current height of seven stories. The entire structure leans very perceptibly (several degrees) to the west. Its related structure, the 8th century Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an, only suffered minor damage in the 1556 earthquake (still unrepaired to this day). The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was extensively repaired during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) and renovated again in 1964. The pagoda currently stands at a height of 64 m (210 ft) tall and from the top it offers views over the current city of Xi’an.
During the Tang Dynasty the pagoda was located within the grounds of a monastery, within a walled ward of the larger southeastern sector of the city, then known as Chang’an. The monastic grounds around the pagoda during the Tang Dynasty had ten courtyards and a total of 1,897 bays.[ In those days graduate students of the Advanced Scholars examination in Chang’an inscribed their names at this monastery.
Close by the pagoda is the Temple of Great Maternal Grace; Da Ci’en. This temple was originally built in AD 589 and then rebuilt AD 647 in memory of his mother Empress Wende by Li Zhi who later became the Tang Emperor Gaozong.
The monk Xuanzang‘s statue stands in front of the temple area.
Global Vipassana Pagoda
|Global Vipassana Pagoda
||Stone dome, with self-supporting interlocking stones
||Ar.Prvez Dumasia Mumbai, Sompura Consultant=Chandubhai Sompura
||Nandadeep Building Center (NPPCPL) Aurangabad M.S.
The Global Vipassana Pagoda is a notable monument in Mumbai, India. The pagoda is to serve as a monument of peace and harmony. This monument was inaugurated by Pratibha Patil, the President of India on February 8, 2009. It is located in the north of Mumbai in an area called Gorai and is built on donated land on a peninsula between Gorai creek and the Arabian Sea. The Global Vipassana Pagoda is built out of gratitude to the Buddha, his teaching and the community of monks practicing his teaching. Its traditional Burmese design is an expression of gratitude towards the country of Myanmar for preserving the practice of Vipassana. The shape of the pagoda is a copy of the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. It is being built combining ancient Indian and modern technology to enable it to last for a thousand years
The center of the Global Vipassana Pagoda contains the world’s largest stone dome built without any supporting pillars. The height of the dome is approximately 29 metres, while the height of the building is 96.12 meters, which is twice the size of the previously largest hollow stone monument in the world, the Gol Gumbaz Dome in Bijapur, India. External diameter of the largest section of the dome is 97.46m and the shorter sections is 94.82m. Internal diamter of the dome is 85.15m.The inside of the pagoda is hollow and serves as a very large meditation hall with an area covering more than 6000 m2 (65,000 ft2). The massive inner dome seats over 8000 people enabling them to practice the non-sectarian Vipassana meditation as taught by Mr S.N. Goenka and now being practiced in over 100 countries. An inaugural one-day meditation course was held at the pagoda on December 21 2008, with Mr S.N. Goenka in attendance as the teacher.
The aim of the pagoda complex is, among others, to express gratitude to Gautama Buddha for dispensing for what followers believe is a universal teaching for the eradication of suffering, to educate the public about the life and teaching of the Buddha, and to provide a place for the practice of meditation. 10-day vipassana meditation courses are held free of charge at the meditation centre that is part of the Global Vipassana Pagoda complex.
Meditators seated inside the Global Pagoda dome.
Planning for the construction of the Global Vipassana Pagoda began in 1997, while actual building work started in 2000. The pagoda consists of three sub-domes. The first and largest dome was completed in October 2006 when bone relics of Gautama Buddha were enshrined in the central locking stone of the dome on October 29 2006, making it the world’s largest structure containing relics of the Buddha. The relics were originally found in the stupa at Sanchi. They have been donated by the Mahabodhi Society of India and the prime minister of Sri Lanka to be kept at the Global Vipassana Pagoda.The second and third domes sit atop the first dome. Construction of the third dome was structurally completed on November 21 2008.
The Global Vipassana Pagoda complex is still under construction with plans to include a museum depicting the life and teaching of Gautama Buddha that is expected to draw one hundred thousand visitors annually. The Global Vipassana Pagoda’s educational displays will communicate the Buddha’s universal teaching as a path towards real happiness.
The Global Vipassana Pagoda complex will consist of the following structures:
- Pagoda dome containing relics of Buddha (complete)
- Vipassana meditation centre Dhamma Pattana (complete)
- Museum depicting life of the Buddha (Complete)
- Two smaller pagodas on the north and south side (north pagoda complete)
- Library and study rooms
- Circumambulation path around the dome
- Administration building (complete)
- Underground parkade
The south pagoda, once completed, will contain 100 meditation cells for use by Vipassana students taking a meditation course at the adjoining meditation centre.
The foundation of the dome consists of basalt, while the dome itself is made from sandstone imported from Rajasthan. The individual blocks of sandstone weigh 600-700 kg each and are joined by lime mortar. The circumambulation path is laid in marble.
The pinnacle of the pagoda is adorned with a large crystal. The spire is covered in real gold, while the rest of the pagoda will be covered in gold paint. The spire is topped with a special ornamental umbrella piece donated by the Burmese. The main doors to the pagoda are wooden and hand-carved in Myanmar (Burma).
The pagoda as viewed from the Tiger Hill
The Huqiu Tower, or Yunyan Pagoda and Tiger Hill Pagoda, (Chinese: 云岩寺塔; pinyin: Yún yán sì tǎ or Chinese: 虎丘塔; pinyin: Hŭ qiū tǎ) is a Chinese pagoda situated at Changmen in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province. It has several other names, including the ‘Leaning Tower of China’ (as referred to by historian O.G. Ingles) and the Yunyan Temple Tower. The tower was built in the later period of the Five Dynasties (907-960 CE), completed by the second year of the Song Dynasty. The tower rises to a height of 47 m (154 ft). It is a seven-story octagonal building built with blue bricks. In more than a thousand years the tower has gradually slanted due to forces of nature. Now the top and bottom of the tower vary by 2.32 meters. The entire structure weighs some 7,000,000 kg (7000 tonnes), supported by internal brick columns. However, the tower leans roughly 3 degrees due to the cracking of two supporting columns.
The tower leans because the foundation is originally half rock and the other half is on soil. In 1957, efforts were made to stabilize the tower and prevent further leaning. Concrete was also pumped into the soil forming a stronger foundation. During the reinforcement process, a stone casket containing Buddhist scriptures was found. The container had an inscription noting the completion date of the tower as the seventeenth day of the twelfth month of the second year of the reign of Jianlong (961 AD); according to O.G Ingles it was built in 959.O.G. Ingles writes that the better name for the Tiger Hill Pagoda should be the “‘Leaning Tower of China’, since it predates the famous Italian structure.”The uppermost stories of the tower were built as an addition during the reign of the Chongzhen Emperor (1628–1644), the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty.
Although it is seven stories, there are no built-in staircases. People climbed to upper stories using movable ladders
As of January 2007 public access to the top of the tower is allowed
The Liaodi Pagoda (traditional Chinese: 料敵塔; simplified Chinese: 料敌塔; pinyin: Liàodí Tǎ; Wade-Giles: Liaoti T’a) of Kaiyuan Monastery, Dingzhou, Hebei Province, China is the tallest existing pre-modern Chinese pagoda, built in the 11th century during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). The pagoda stands at a height of 84 metres (276 ft), resting on a large platform with an octagonal base. Upon completion in 1055, the Liaodi Pagoda surpassed the height of China’s previously tallest pagoda still standing, the central pagoda of the Three Pagodas built during the Tang Dynasty, which stands at 69.13 m (230 ft). The tallest pagoda in pre-modern Chinese history was a 100-metre-tall (330 ft) wooden pagoda tower in Chang’an built in 611 by Emperor Yang of Sui, yet this structure no longer stands.
Construction on this stone and brick pagoda began in the year 1001 AD during the reign of Emperor Zhenzong of Song, and was completed in 1055 AD during the reign of Emperor Renzong of Song. Emperor Zhenzong intended to have Buddhist scriptures gathered by the Chinese monk Huineng from India stored at the pagoda’s site. Due to its location at a strategic military location, the height of the pagoda made it useful as a watchtower, which could be used to spot enemy movements coming from the northern Liao Dynasty headed by the Song’s Khitan rivals. Initially the pagoda was called the Kaiyuan Pagoda, but as a result of its military use it became known as the ‘Liaodi’ pagoda, literally meaning ‘foreseeing the enemy’s intentions.’
A closeup of a door at the Liaodi Pagoda of Kaiyuan Temple in Dingzhou, China.
Another pagoda of similar height and design is the Chongwen Pagoda of Shaanxi Province. Completed in 1605 during the Ming Dynasty, this pagoda stands at a height of 79 m (259 ft), making it the second tallest pagoda built in pre-modern China.
Each floor of the Liaodi Pagoda features gradually-tiered stone eaves, doors and windows (with false windows on four sides of the octagonal structure) while the first floor has an encircling balcony. A split section of the pagoda’s walls are open so that the tower’s interior may be viewed, along with the actual thickness of the walls. At the top of its steeple, the pagoda features a crowning spire made of bronze and iron. In the interior a large staircase with landings for each floor winds from the bottom all the way up to the top floor. Brick brackets are used to support the landings on each floor, while from the eighth story up there are no brackets supporting the vaulted ceiling. Within the pagoda is a large pillar in the shape of another pagoda, as seen from the inside and as viewed from the cut section. The painted murals and stone steles with Chinese calligraphy in the pagoda are dated to the Song period when the pagoda was built.
The Liuhe Pagoda
Liuhe Pagoda (Chinese: 六和塔; pinyin: Liùhé Tǎ), literally Six Harmonies Pagoda or Six Harmonies Tower, is multi-storied Chinese pagoda in southern Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. It is located at the foot of Yuelun Hill, facing the Qiantang River. It was originally constructed during the Northern Song Dynasty (960 – 1127 AD), destroyed in 1121, and reconstructed fully by 1165, during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279 AD).
History and background
The pagoda was originally constructed by the ruler of the Wuyue State, some of which would later makeup Zhejiang province. The name ‘Liuhe’ comes from the six Buddhist ordinances and it is said that the reason for building the pagoda was to calm the tidal bore of the Qiantang River and as a navigational aid. However, the pagoda was completely destroyed during warfare in the year 1121.
The pagoda was in disrepair before 1900
After the current pagoda was constructed of wood and brick during the Southern Song Dynasty, additional exterior eaves were added during the Ming (1368 – 1644) and Qing Dynasties (1644 – 1911). The pagoda is octagonal in shape and some 59.89 meters (196 feet) in height, it also has the appearance of being a thirteen-story structure, though it only has seven interior stories. There is a spiral staircase leading to the top floor and upon each of the seven ceilings are carved and painted figures including animals, flowers, birds and characters. Each story of the pagoda consists of four elements, the exterior walls, a zigzagged corridor, the interior walls and a small chamber. Viewed from outside, the pagoda appears to be layered-bright on the upper surface and dark underneath. That is a harmonious alternation of light and shade.
According to historian Joseph Needham, the pagoda also served as a lighthouse along the Qiantang River. Being of considerable size and stature, it actually served as a permanent lighthouse from nearly its beginning, to aid sailors in seeking anchorage for their ships at night (as described in the Hangzhou Fu Zhi).
A small “Pagoda Park” has recently been opened nearby. Its an exhibition features models of ancient Chinese pagodas, and illustrates the variety of different designs, and the history, culture and symbols associated with the pagoda.
The Lingxiao Pagoda of Zhengding, Hebei Province, a half-brick half-wooden pagoda built in 1045 AD, with little change in renovations since.
The Lingxiao Pagoda (Chinese: 凌霄塔; pinyin: Língxiāo tǎ; Wade-Giles: Linghsiao T’a) is a Chinese pagoda west of the Xinglong Temple in Zhengding, Hebei Province, China.
The original pagoda that stood at the same site was dubbed the Wooden Pagoda, and was built in 860 AD during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The pagoda’s present form of brick and wood dates to 1045 AD during the reign of Emperor Renzong (1022-1063) of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and was renovated and restored in the Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties. It was formerly part of the Tianning Monastery, and although the latter no longer exists, the pagoda has been well-preserved since the 11th century. In 1966 the pagoda was damaged in an earthquake, but immediate repairs have kept it standing and open to the public.
The brick base and structure of the 42 m (137 ft) tall pagoda ends after the 4th floor, as the rest of its height from the 5th floor up is purely wooden construction. It features a total of nine stories with nine wooden tiers of eaves encircling the octagonal frame of the pagoda. In the center of the pagoda stands a large column, a feature of Chinese architecture in pagodas that was discontinued sometime after the Song and Yuan periods. Built a decade later in 1055, the Liaodi Pagoda (China’s tallest pre-modern pagoda) also features an inner column, in the shape of another pagoda. Within the interior of the Lingxiao Pagoda, a wooden staircase leads up to the 4th floor. The pagoda is also crowned with a cast iron spire.