Tianning Temple (Changzhou)

Tianning Temple (Changzhou)

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(Redirected from Pagoda of Tianning Temple (Changzhou))

Tianning Temple
The Tianning Temple with the finished giant pagoda in the background
Address Changzhou, Jiangsu
Country China

The Tianning Temple (Chinese: 天宁寺) is in Changzhou, Jiangsu, China. The temple is famous for its giant wooden Chinese pagoda. Construction began in April 2002 while the opening ceremony for the completed structure was held on April 30, 2007, where a crowd of hundreds of Buddhist monks gathered for the ceremony.[1][2] With 13 stories and a height of 154 m (505 ft), this wooden pagoda is now the tallest pagoda in the world,[1][2][3] taller than China’s tallest existent pre-modern Buddhist pagoda, the Liaodi Pagoda built in 1055 at a height of 84 m (275 ft). Although the existing pagoda was built by April 2007, the temple grounds and the pagoda have a history of construction and destruction for the past 1,350 years, since the time of the Tang Dynasty (618–907).[1][2][3] Building of the pagoda was proposed by the Buddhist Association of China in 2001, yet providing money donations for the temple was an international effort, as leaders of 108 Buddhist associations and temples worldwide attended the opening ceremony at the temple.[3]

On 25 May 2006 the lower levels of the pagoda caught fire however no permanent damage was done.

Structural features


The grounds for the Tianning Temple Pagoda occupies a space of 27,000 m2 (290,625 ft2).[1] Complete with 68,038 kg (75 t) of gold and brass for the rooftops, additional bronze and jade decorations, and the use of wood imported from Myanmar and Papua New Guinea, the total cost of its construction was some 300 million yuan (US $38.5 million).[1][2][4] The top story of the pagoda features a golden spire and a large bronze bell weighing 30,000 kg (33 t).[1][2]

[edit] Religious significance

On the completion of the new pagoda at Tianning Temple, the mayor of Changzhou, Wang Weicheng, explicitly correlated his city’s economic development with that of religious development in China.[3] Following the end of religious persecution after the tumultuous Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), the Chinese Communist Party has relaxed its control over religion, especially Chinese Buddhism, which has some 100 million adherents within the People’s Republic of China.[3] The deputy abbot of Tianning Temple, Kuo Hui, said that like other religions Buddhism advocates peace and harmony, with ideas that could be beneficial to Chinese society.[3] He also stated that the pagoda was rebuilt to “inherit the fine traditions of Buddhism and to honour Buddha.”[3] The pagoda is dedicated to Chinese Chan Buddhism.[4]

Pagoda Of Fogong Temple

Pagoda of Fogong Temple

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(Redirected from Pagoda of Fugong Temple)


Fogong Temple Pagoda

The Sakyamuni Pagoda of Fogong Temple (Chinese: 佛宫寺释迦塔; pinyin: Fógōng Sì Shìjiā Tǎ) of Ying County, Shanxi province, China, is a wooden Chinese pagoda built in 1056, during the Khitan-led Liao Dynasty. The pagoda was built by Emperor Daozong of Liao (Hongji) at the site of his grandmother’s family home.[1] The pagoda, which has survived several large earthquakes throughout the centuries, reached a level of such fame within China that it was given the generic nickname of the “Muta” (Chinese: 木塔; pinyin: mùtǎ; literally “Timber Pagoda”).[2][3]

The pagoda stands on a 4 m (13 ft) tall stone platform, has a 10 m (33 ft) tall steeple, and reaches a total height of 67.31 m (220.83 ft) tall; it is the oldest existent fully-wooden pagoda still standing in China.[4][5] Although it is the oldest fully-wooden pagoda in China, the oldest existent pagoda is the 6th century Songyue Pagoda made of brick and the oldest existent wooden buildings in China date back to the mid Tang Dynasty (618–907), which are Buddhist temple halls found at Mount Wutai.[6]


Close-up detail of the dougong supports of the pagoda.

The pagoda and temple grounds

Buddhist statues found within the pagoda, with the Sakyamuni Buddha at the center

The Pagoda of Fogong Temple was built 85 km (52.8 miles) south of the Liao Dynasty capital at Datong.[5] The Gujin Tushu Jicheng encyclopedia published in 1725—written during the reigns of Kangxi and Yongzheng in the Qing—states that a different pagoda built between the years 936–943 stood previously at the site before the present one of 1056 was built.[5] The same statement appears in the Shanxi tongzhi (Record of Shanxi Province) and the Yingzhou xuzhi (Record of Ying Prefecture, Continued).[5] The Yingzhou zhi (Record of Ying Prefecture)—edited by Tian Hui during the reign of the Wanli Emperor (r. 1572–1620) of the Ming Dynasty—states that the pagoda was funded and erected in 1056 by a Buddhist monk named Tian.[5][7] In compiling a record for Ying County, Tian Hui of the late Ming Dynasty researched the history of the pagoda and recorded the history of its repairs in his Zhongxiu Fogongsi ta zhi.[5] The placard on the third story of the pagoda listed that periodic repairs were conducted in the years 1195 and 1471.[5] While piecing together the history of the pagoda, Tian Hui never came across any information to suggest that the pagoda had a predecessor built from 936 to 943, as other texts suggest.[5]

In confirming the date of 1056 and not the years 936–943, Zhang Yuhuan writes in his Zhongguo gudai jianzhu jishu shi (1985) that the Wenwu Laboratory determined various wooden components from the second to fifth floors of the pagoda to be 930 to 980 years old.[8] Other evidence to suggest the later date includes the fact that the foster mother of Emperor Xingzong was a native of Yingzhou.[5] Xingzong’s son Hongji (Emperor Daozong) was also raised in Ying County due to his following of the Khitan custom of raising Yelu clan sons within the families of their mothers.[5] Hongji was also known as a devout Buddhist; the pagoda (following the tradition of the stupa) symbolized the death of the Buddha, which Hongji might have associated with his deceased father, the Xingzong Emperor.[5] Steinhardt writes “only something like the memory of an imperial youth might account for the construction of such a phenomenal building in such an out-of-the way place.”[5] Also, the 1050s was a decade which marked the end of a Buddhist kalpa, which would signify the Pagoda of Fogong Temple as an “ultimate death shrine to the Buddha of the age,” according to historian Nancy Steinhardt.[9] This occurred at roughly the same time in which Fujiwara no Yorimichi of Japan converted the Phoenix Hall of his father Fujiwara no Michinaga‘s residence at Byōdō-in into a temple meant to guide souls into the Buddhist afterlife (according to Pure Land Buddhism).


The pagoda was placed at the center of the temple grounds,[10] which used to be called Baogong Temple until its name was changed to Fogong in 1315 during the Yuan Dynasty.[11] Although the size of the temple grounds were described as being gigantic during the Jurchen-led Jin Dynasty (1115–1234), the temple began to decline during the Ming Dynasty.[11]

The Yingzhou zhi records that there was a total of seven earthquakes between the years 1056 and 1103, yet the tower stood firm.[11] In its entire history before the 20th century, the pagoda needed only ten minor repairs.[11] However, considerable repairs were needed after Japanese soldiers shot more than two hundred rounds into the pagoda during the Second Sino-Japanese War.[11] While repairing the pagoda in 1974, renovators found Liao Dynasty texts of Buddhist sutras and other documents that were printed, attesting to the widespread technological use of movable type printing that developed within the neighboring Song Dynasty.

[edit] Features

The pagoda features fifty-four different kinds of bracket arms in its construction, the greatest amount for any Liao Dynasty structure.[11][12] Between each outer story of the pagoda is a mezzanine layer where the bracket arms are located on the exterior.[11] From the exterior, the pagoda seems to have only five stories and two sets of rooftop eaves for the first story, yet the pagoda’s interior reveals that it has nine stories in all.[11] The four hidden stories can be indicated from the exterior by the pagoda’s pingzuo (terrace balconies).[11] A ring of columns support the lowest outstretching eaved roof on the base floor, while the pagoda also features interior support columns.[11] A statue of the Buddha Sakyamuni sits prominently in the center of the first floor of the pagoda, with an ornate zaojing (caisson) above its head (the pagoda is named Sakyamuni Pagoda due to this statue).[11] A zaojing is also carved into the ceiling of every story of the pagoda.[11] The windows on the eight sides of the pagoda provide views of the countryside, including Mount Heng and the Songgan River. On a clear day, the pagoda can be seen from a distance of 30 km (18.6 miles).[5]

Monarchs Of Korea


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



18 BC–660


Baekje at its height in 375.

Capital Wirye
(18 BC–475 AD)
Language(s) Old Korean
Religion Buddhism, Confucianism, Korean shamanism
Government Monarchy
– 18 BCE – 28 Onjo
– 346 – 375 Geunchogo
– 523 – 554 Seong
– 641 – 660 Uija
Historical era Ancient
– Establishment 18 BC 18 BC
– Campaigns of King Geunchogo 346 – 375
– Introduction of Buddhism 385
– Fall of Sabi July 18, 660 660
–  est. 3,800,000[citation needed] (660)


Gilt-bronze Incense Burner of Baekje
Korean name
Hangul 백제
Hanja 百濟
Revised Romanization Baekje
McCune–Reischauer Paekche
History of Korea
Jeulmun period
Mumun period
Gojoseon 2333–108 BC
Jin state
Proto-Three Kingdoms: 108–57 BC
Buyeo, Okjeo, Dongye
Samhan: Ma, Byeon, Jin
Three Kingdoms: 57 BC – 668 AD
Goguryeo 37 BC – 668 AD
Baekje 18 BC – 660 AD
Silla 57 BC – 935 AD
Gaya 42–562
North-South States: 698–935
Unified Silla 668–935
Balhae 698–926
Later Three Kingdoms 892–935
Taebong, Hubaekje, Silla
Goryeo Dynasty 918–1392
Joseon Dynasty 1392–1897
Korean Empire 1897–1910
Japanese rule 1910–1945
Provisional Gov’t 1919–1948
Division of Korea 1945–1948
North, South Korea 1948–present
Korean War 1950–1953
Korea Portal


This box: view • talk • edit

Monarchs of Korea
  1. Onjo 18 BCE–29 CE
  2. Daru 29–77
  3. Giru 77–128
  4. Gaeru 128–166
  5. Chogo 166–214
  6. Gusu 214–234
  7. Saban 234
  8. Goi 234–286
  9. Chaekgye 286–298
  10. Bunseo 298–304
  11. Biryu 304–344
  12. Gye 344–346
  13. Geunchogo 346–375
  14. Geungusu 375–384
  15. Chimnyu 384–385
  16. Jinsa 385–392
  17. Asin 392–405
  18. Jeonji 405–420
  19. Guisin 420–427
  20. Biyu 427–455
  21. Gaero 455–475
  22. Munju 475–477
  23. Samgeun 477–479
  24. Dongseong 479–501
  25. Muryeong 501–523
  26. Seong 523–554
  27. Wideok 554–598
  28. Hye 598–599
  29. Beop 599–600
  30. Mu 600–641
  31. Uija 641–660

Baekje or Paekche (Hangul: 백제; Hanja: 百濟,Korean pronunciation: [pɛk̚tɕ͈e]) (18 BCE – 660 CE) was a kingdom located in southwest Korea. It was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, together with Goguryeo and Silla.

Baekje was founded by Onjo, the third son of Goguryeo’s founder Jumong and So Seo-no, at Wirye-sung (around present-day Seoul). Baekje, like Goguryeo, claimed to succeed Buyeo, a state established in present-day Manchuria around the time of Gojoseon‘s fall.

Baekje alternately battled and allied with Goguryeo and Silla as the three kingdoms expanded control over the peninsula. At its peak in the 4th century, Baekje controlled some colonies in China and most of the western Korean Peninsula, as far north as Pyongyang. It became a significant regional sea power, with political and trade relations with China and Japan.

In 660, it was defeated by an alliance of Silla and China’s Tang Dynasty, submitting to Unified Silla.




According to the Samguk Sagi, Baekje was founded in 18 BCE by King Onjo, who led a group of people from Goguryeo south to the Han River basin. According to the Chinese record San Guo Zhi, during the Samhan period, one of the chiefdoms of the Mahan confederacy was called Baekje.

The Samguk Sagi provides a detailed account of Baekje’s founding. Jumong had left his son Yuri in Buyeo when he left that kingdom to establish the new kingdom of Goguryeo. Jumong became King Dongmyeongseong, and had two more sons with So Seo-no, Onjo and Biryu. When Yuri later arrived in Goguryeo, Jumong promptly made him the crown prince. Realizing Yuri would become the next king, So Seo-no left Goguryeo, taking her two sons Biryu and Onjo south to found their own kingdoms with their people, along with ten vassals. She is remembered as a key figure in the founding of both Goguryeo and Baekje.


Onjo settled in Wiryeseong (present-day Hanam), and called his country Sipje (meaning “Ten Vassals”), while Biryu settled in Michuhol (present-day Incheon), against the vassals’ advice. The salty water and marshes in Michuhol made settlement difficult, while the people of Wiryeseong lived prosperously.

Biryu then went to his brother Onjo, asking for the throne of Sipje. When Onjo refused, Biryu declared war, but lost. In shame, Biryu committed suicide, and his people moved to Wiryeseong, where King Onjo welcomed them and renamed his country Baekje (“Hundred Vassals”).

King Onjo moved the capital from the south to the north of the Han river, and then south again, probably all within present Seoul, under pressure from other Mahan states. King Gaeru is believed to have moved the capital to the Bukhan Mountain Fortress in 132, probably in present-day Gwangju, to the southeast of Seoul.

Through the early centuries of the Common Era, sometimes called the Proto-Three Kingdoms Period, Baekje gradually gained control over the other Mahan tribes.


Korea in 375, The greatest territory expansion of Baekje.

During the reign of King Goi (234–286), Baekje became a full-fledged kingdom, as it continued consolidating the Mahan confederacy. In 249, according to the ancient Japanese text Nihonshoki, Baekje’s expansion reached the Gaya confederacy to its east, around the Nakdong River valley. Baekje is first described in Chinese records as a kingdom in 345. The first diplomatic missions from Baekje reached Japan around 367 (According to the Nihon Shoki : 247).

King Geunchogo (346–375) expanded Baekje’s territory to the north through war against Goguryeo, while annexing the remaining Mahan societies in the south. During Geunchogo’s reign, the territories of Baekje included most of the western Korean Peninsula (except the two Pyeongan provinces), and in 371, Baekje defeated Goguryeo at Pyongyang. Baekje continued substantial trade with Goguryeo, and actively adopted Chinese culture and technology. Buddhism became the official state religion in 384.

Baekje also became a sea power and continued mutual goodwill relationships with the Japanese rulers of the Kofun period, transmitting continental cultural influences to Japan. Chinese writing system, Buddhism, advanced pottery, ceremonial burial, and other aspects of culture were introduced by aristocrats, artisans, scholars, and monks throughout their relationship.[1]

During this period, the Han River basin remained the heartland of the country.

Ungjin period

In the 5th century, Baekje retreated under the southward military threat of Goguryeo, and in 475, the Seoul region fell to Goguryeo. Baekje’s capital was located at Ungjin (present-day Gongju) from 475 to 538.

Isolated in mountainous terrain, the new capital was secure against the north but also disconnected from the outside world. It was closer to Silla than Wiryeseong had been, however, and a military alliance was forged between Silla and Baekje against Goguryeo.

Most maps of the Three Kingdoms period show Baekje occupying the Chungcheong and Jeolla provinces, the core of the country in the Ungjin and Sabi periods, although at some points in time, Baekje controlled territory in China that ringed the Bohai Sea.

Sabi period

In 538, King Seong moved the capital to Sabi (present-day Buyeo County), and rebuilt his kingdom into a strong state. From this time, the official name of the country was Nambuyeo (“South Buyeo”), a reference to Buyeo to which Baekje traced its origins. The Sabi Period witnessed the flowering of Baekje culture, alongside the growth of Buddhism.

Under pressure from Goguryeo to the north and Silla to the east, Seong sought to strengthen Baekje’s relationship with China. The location of Sabi, on the navigable Geum River, made contact with China much easier, and both trade and diplomacy flourished during the 6th and 7th centuries.

In the 7th century, with the growing influence of Silla in the southern and central Korean peninsula, Baekje began its decline.

Fall and restoration movement

In 660, the coalition troops of Silla and Tang of China attacked Baekje, which was then allied with Goguryeo. A heavily outmanned army led by General Gyebaek was defeated in the Battle of Hwangsanbeol near Nonsan. The capital Sabi fell almost immediately thereafter, resulting in the annexation of Baekje by Silla. King Uija and his son were sent into exile in China while at least some of the ruling class fled to Japan.

Baekje forces attempted a brief restoration movement but faced Silla-Tang joint forces of 130,000 men. General Boksin proclaimed Prince Buyeo Pung as the new king of Baekje, called King Pung (풍왕). Baekje requested Japanese aid, and King Pung returned to Baekje with a contingent of 5,000 soldiers. Before the ships from Japan arrived, his forces battled a contingent of Tang forces in Ungjin County.

In 663, Baekje revival forces and a Japanese naval fleet convened in southern Baekje to confront the Silla forces in the Battle of Baekgang. The Tang dynasty also sent 7000 soldiers and 170 ships. After five naval confrontations that took place in August 663 at Baekgang, considered the lower reaches of Geum River or Dongjin river, the Silla-Tang forces emerged victorious, and Buyeo Pung escaped to Goguryeo.

Social and political structure

The establishment of a centralized state in Baekje is usually traced to the reign of King Goi, who may have first established patrilineal succession. Like most monarchies, a great deal of power was held by the aristocracy. King Seong, for example, strengthened royal power, but after he was slain in a disastrous campaign against Silla, the nobles took much of that power away from his son.

The Hae clan and the Jin clan were the representative royal houses who had considerable power from the early period of Baekje, and they produced many queens over several generations. The Hae clan was probably the royal house before the Buyeo clan replaced them, and both clans appear descended from the lineage of Buyeo and Goguryeo. Eight clans (Sa, Yeon, Hyeop, Hae, Jin, Guk, Mok, and Baek) were powerful nobles in the Sabi era, recorded in Chinese records such as Tongdian.

Central government officials were divided into sixteen ranks, the six members of the top rank forming a type of cabinet, with the top official being elected every three years. In the Sol rank, the first (Jwapyeong) through the sixth (Naesol) officials were political, administrative, and military commanders. In the Deok rank, the seventh (Jangdeok) through the eleventh (Daedeok) officials may have headed each field. Mundok, Mudok, Jwagun, Jinmu and Geuku from the twelfth to the sixteenth, may have been military administrators.

According to the Samguk Yusa[2], during the Sabi period, the chief minister (Jaesang) of Baekje was chosen by a unique system. The names of several candidates were placed under a rock (Cheonjeongdae) near Hoamsa temple. After a few days, the rock was moved and the candidate whose name had a certain mark was chosen as the new chief minister. Whether this was a form of selection-by-lot or a covert selection by the elite is not clear.

Language and culture


Baekje was established by immigrants from Goguryeo who spoke what could be a Buyeo language, a hypothetical group linking the languages of Gojoseon, Buyeo, Goguryeo, and Baekje. In a case of diglossia, the indigenous Samhan people, having migrated in an earlier wave from the same region, probably spoke a variation or dialect of the same language.

Baekje artists adopted many Chinese influences and synthesized them into a unique artistic tradition. Buddhist themes are extremely strong in Baekje artwork. The beatific Baekje smile found on many Buddhist sculptures expresses the warmth typical of Baekje art. Taoist influences are also widespread. Chinese artisans were sent to the kingdom by the Liang Dynasty in 541, and this may have given rise to an increased Chinese influence in the Sabi period.

The tomb of King Muryeong (501–523), although modeled on Chinese brick tombs and yielding some imported Chinese objects, also contained many funerary objects of the Baekje tradition, such as the gold crown ornaments, gold belts, and gold earrings. Mortuary practices also followed the unique tradition of Baekje. This tomb is seen as a representative tomb of the Ungjin period.

Delicate lotus designs of the roof-tiles, intricate brick patterns, curves of the pottery style, and flowing and elegant epitaph writing characterize Baekje culture. The Buddhist sculptures and refined pagodas reflect religion-inspired creativity. A splendid gilt-bronze incense burner (백제금동대향로 Baekjegeumdongdaehyeongno) excavated from an ancient Buddhist temple site at Neungsan-ri, Buyeo County, exemplifies Baekje art.

Little is known of Baekje music, but local musicians were sent with tribute missions to China in the 7th century, indicating that a distinctive musical tradition had developed by that time.

Foreign relations

Relations with China

Embassador of Baekje in China

In 372, King Geunchogo paid tribute to the Jin Dynasty of China, located in the basin of the Yangtze River. After the fall of Jin and the establishment of Song Dynasty in 420, Baekje sent envoys seeking cultural goods and technologies.

Baekje sent an envoy to Northern Wei of Northern Dynasties for the first time in 472, and King Gaero asked for military aid to attack Goguryeo. Kings Muryeong and Seong sent envoys to Liang several times and received titles of nobility.

Tomb of King Muryeong is built with bricks according with Liang’s tomb style.

Baekje’s presence on the continent

Although controversial, some Chinese and Korean records indicate that Baekje territory included parts of present-day China, across the Yellow Sea.[3][4][5][6]

According to the Book of Song, “Goguryeo came to conquer and occupy Liaodong, and Baekje came to occupy Liaoxi (遼西) (in modern Tangshan, Hebei); the place that came to be governed by Baekje was called the Jinping District, Jinping Province.”[7] The records of Book of Jin on Murong Huang states that the alliance of Goguryeo, Baekje, and a Xianbei tribe took military action.[8] The Samguk Sagi records that these battles occurred during the reign of King Micheon of Goguryeo (309-331).

According to the Book of Liang, “during the time of Jin Dynasty (265-420), Goguryeo conquered Liaodong, and Baekje also occupied Liaoxi and Jinping, and established the Baekje provinces.”[9]

The Zizhi Tongjian, compiled by Sima Guang (1019–1086) of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), states that in 346, Baekje invaded Buyeo, located at Lushan, and as a result the people of the country were scattered westward toward Yan.[10] That year was the first year of the King Geunchogo’s reign (346-375) in Baekje.

The nearly contemporary record of the Book of Qi, as well as the later Zizhi Tongjian, state that a Northern Wei (386-534) army, composed of 100,000 cavalry, attacked Baekje but were defeated in 488. This account is confirmed by the Samguk-sagi records on the tenth year of King Dongseong’s reign (488).[11] Since such an army could not have travelled from northern China to the southwestern corner of the Korean peninsula without passing through the hostile and powerful Goguryeo (in the reign of King Jangsu of Goguryeo (413-491)), without being recorded in contemporary chronicles, the “Baekje” in those records must refer to Baekje presence on the other side of Goguryeo, in Liaoxi.

The Book of Qi also records that in 495 Baekje’s King Dongseong requested honorary titles for the generals who repulsed the Wei attack. The titles given by the Southern Qi court carried the names of their domains that sounded like some Liaoxi areas, such as Guangling, Qinghe, Chengyang, etc.[12]

The Territory Section of Mǎnzhōu Yuánliú Kǎo (满洲源流考, “Considerations on the Origin of Manchu“) also summarizes Baekje’s territories, obviously including a portion of Liaoxi:[13]

The boundary of Baekje begins from the present-day Guangning and Jinyi provinces in the northwest and then crosses the sea in an easterly direction to arrive at the Joseon’s Hwanghae, Chungcheong, Jeolla, etc. provinces. Running east to west, Baekje’s territory is narrow; running north to south, it is long. Thus it occurs that if one looks at Baekje’s territory from the Liucheng and Beiping area, Silla is located in the southeast of Baekje, but if one looks from the Gyeongsang and Ungjin area of Baekje, Silla is located in the northeast. Baekje also borders Mohe in the north. Its royal capital has two castles at two different places in the east and west. Both castles are called “Goma.” The Book of Song says that the place governed by Baekje was called the Jinping district of the Jinping province. Tong-gao says that the Jinping province was located between Liucheng and Beiping of the Tang period.[14]

Hence one of Baekje’s capitals was located in “Liaoxi,” and the other inside the “Joseon” provinces. It was during the reign of Emperor Wu of Liang that Baekje relocated its capital to southern Korea.

Both the Old and the New History of Tang say that the old Baekje territories were divided up and taken by Silla and Balhae.[15] If Baekje was limited to the southwestern corner of the Korean peninsula, then it would have been impossible for the Balhae to occupy any of the old Baekje territories.

The Silla scholar and alleged Sinocentrist Choi Chi-won (857-?) wrote that “Goguryeo and Baekje at the height of their strength maintained strong armies numbering one million persons, and invaded Wu and Yue in the south and You, Yan, Qi, and Lu in the north of the mainland China, making grave nuisances to the Middle Kingdom”.[16]

According to these records, Baekje must have held the Liao-xi province for more than a hundred years.

Relations with Japan

Baekje gave Seven-pronged Sword to Yamato.

Familial ties and Military assistance

To confront the military pressure of Goguryeo and Silla, Baekje (Kudara in Japanese) established close relations with Japan. According to the Korean chronicle Samguk Sagi, Baekje and Silla sent some princes to the Japanese court as hostages.[17] Whether the princes sent to Japan should be interpreted as diplomats or hostages is debated.[18] but that interpretation is questionable. Due to the confusion on the exact nature of this relationship of whether the Koreans were family to the Imperial line or hostages and the fact that the Nihon Shoki is a compilation of myth make it difficult the evaluate. The Samguk sagi can also be interpreted in various ways and it was rewritten in the 13th century. Adding to the confusion is the “Inariyama sword, as well as some other swords discovered in Japan, utilized the Korean ‘Idu‘ system of writing.” The swords “originated in Paekche and that the kings named in their inscriptions represent Paekche kings rather than Japanese kings.” The techniques for making these swords were the same styles from Korea.[19][20] In Japan the hostage interpretation is dominant. Other historians like the ones who collaborated in the works for “Paekche of Korea and the origin of Yamato Japan” and Jonathan W Best who helped translate what was left of the Paekchae annals[21] have noted that these princes setup school and took control of the Japanese Navy during the war with Koguryeo as evidence of them being diplomats with some kind of familial tie to the Japanese imperial family and not hostages. In addition, the translation of these documents are difficult because in the past the term “Wa” was derogatory meaning “midget pirate” or “dwarf pirate”. It is difficult to assess what is truly being stated it could have been a derogatory statement between 2 warring nations. Nothing definitative can be concluded. Further research have not been investigated, because in 1976 Japan stopped all foreign archaeologists from studying the Royal tombs such as Gosashi tomb which is suppose to be the resting place of Emperor Jingu. Prior to 1976 foreigners did have access where Korean artifacts were found. Recently in 2008, Japan has allowed controlled limited access to foreign archaeologists, but the international community still has many unanswered questions. National Geographic wrote Japan “has kept access to the tombs restricted, prompting rumors that officials fear excavation would reveal bloodline links between the “pure” imperial family and Korea[22] In the end nothing can really be concluded without further research.

In any case, these Koreans brought to Japan knowledge of the Chinese writing system, Buddhism, iron processing for weapons, and various other technologies.[23][24] In exchange, Japan provided military support.[25]

The Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms and Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms cite some of the Baekje royal family’s descendants and some nobles as dignitaries in the Japanese court, maintaining Korean influence and ensuring the continuation of the Yamato alliance, as in the time of Emperor Yomei, when the Buddhist temple of Horyuji was constructed. It is also known that Muryeong of Baekje, the twenty-fifth king, was born in Japan.

According to mythical accounts in the controversial Nihon Shoki, Empress Jingū extracted tribute and pledges of allegiance from the kings of Baekje, Silla, and Goguryeo. At the height of Japanese nationalism in the early 20th century, Japanese historians used these mythical accounts along with a passage in the Gwanggaeto Stele to establish ideological rationale to the imperialist outcry for invasion of Korea.[26][27] Other historians have pointed out that there is no evidence of this Japanese account in any part of Korea, in addition to not being in any viable text in China or Korea.[28][29] Regarding the Gwanggaeto Stele, because of the lack of syntax and punctuation the text can be interpreted 4 different ways,[18][30] one which states that Korea crossed the water and subjugated Yamato. Due to this problem in interpretation nothing can be concluded. Also complicating the matter is that in the Nihongi a Korean named Amenohiboko is supposed to be the maternal predecessor of Empress Jingū. This is highly inconsistent and difficult to interpret correctly.

Scholars believe that the “Nihon Shoki” gives the invasion date of Silla and Baekje as the late 4th century. However, by this time, Japan was a confederation of local tribes without sophisticated iron weapons, while the Three Kingdoms of Korea were fully developed centralized powers with modern iron weapons and were already utilizing horses for warfare. It is very unlikely that a developing state such as Yamato had the capacity to cross the sea and engage in battles with Baekje and Silla.[26][31][32]. The Nihon Shoki is widely regarded to be a unreliable and biased source of information on early relations with Korea, as it mixes heavy amounts of supposition and legend with facts.[33][34][35]

Some Japanese scholars interpret the Gwanggaeto Stele, erected in 414 by King Jangsu of Goguryeo, as describing a Japanese invasion in the southern portion of the Korean peninsula. However, Mohan claims that Goguryeo fabricated the Japanese invasion in order to justify its conquest of Baekje.[26] If this stele was a dedication to a Korean king, it can be argued that it would logically highlight Korea’s conquests and not dedicate it to a strange incident regarding Japan. In any case, because of these various possible interpretations, nothing can be concluded.

Chinese scholars participated in the study of the Stele during the 1980s. Wang Jianqun interviewed local farmers and decided that no intentional fabrication not occurred, adding that the lime on the Stele was pasted by local copy-making workers to enhance readability.[36] Xu Jianxin of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences discovered the earliest rubbed copy which was made before 1881. He also concluded that there was no evidence the Japanese had intentionally damaged any of the characters on the Stele.[37]

Today, most Chinese and Japanese scholars contradict the conspiracy theories, based on the study of the Stele itself and advocate Japanese intervention in the era,[37][38][39] although its size and effect are disputed.

In the project of writing a common history textbook, Kim Tae-sik of Hongik University (Korea) denied Japan’s theory.[40] But, Kosaku Hamada of Kyushu University (Japan) reported their interpretations of the Gwanggaeto Stele text, neither of them adopting the intentionally damaged stele theory in their interpretations.[41]

The fall of Baekje and the retreat to Japan

Suda Hachiman Shrine Mirror looks like mirrors of Baekje

Some members of the Baekje nobility and royalty emigrated to Japan even before the kingdom was overthrown. In response to Baekje’s request, Japan in 663 sent the general Abe no Hirafu with 20,000 troops and 1,000 ships to revive Baekje with Buyeo Pung (known in Japanese as Hōshō), a son of Uija of Baekje who had been an emissary to Japan. Around August of 661, 10,000 soldiers and 170 ships, led by Abe no Hirafu, arrived. Additional Japanese reinforcement, including 27,000 soldiers led by Kamitsukeno no Kimi Wakako and 10,000 soldiers led by Iohara no Kimi also arrived at Baekje in 662.

This attempt, however, failed at the battle of Baekgang, and the prince escaped to Goguryeo. According to the Nihon Shoki, 400 Japanese ships were lost in the battles. Only half of the troops were able to return to Japan.

The Japanese army retreated to Japan with many Baekje refugees. The former royal family members were initially treated as “foreign guests” (蕃客) and were not incorporated into the political system of Japan for some time. Buyeo Pung’s younger brother Sun-gwang (Zenkō in Japanese) (善光 or 禅広) used the family name Kudara no Konikishi (“King of Baekje”) (百濟王) (they are also called the Kudara clan, as Baekje was called Kudara in Japanese). The mother of Emperor Kammu (737-806) was Takano no Niigasa, a descendant of King Muryeong of Baekje. Emperor Kammu treated the Kudara no Konikishi clan as his “relatives by marriage”. Baekje royalty are also the ancestors of the Ouchi clan, the Sue clan, Soga clan[42] and others.


Baekje was briefly revived in the Later Three Kingdoms of Korea period, as Unified Silla collapsed. In 892, General Gyeon Hwon established Hubaekje (“Later Baekje”), based in Wansan (present-day Jeonju). Hubaekje was overthrown in 936 by King Taejo of Goryeo.

In contemporary South Korea, Baekje relics are often symbolic of the local cultures of the southwest, especially in Chungnam and Jeolla. The gilt-bronze incense burner, for example, is a key symbol of Buyeo County, and the Baekje-era Buddhist rock sculpture of Seosan Maaesamjonbulsang is an important symbol of Seosan City.

On 17 April 2009, Ōuchi Kimio (大內公夫) of Ōuchi clan visited Iksan, Korea to pay tribute to his Baekje ancestors.[42]

The Story Of Pagoda


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For other uses, see Pagoda (disambiguation).

The Iron Pagoda of Kaifeng, China, built in 1049 AD
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.[1] 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.

[edit] Terms

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.) [2] 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.”

[edit] History

The origin of the pagoda can be traced to the Indian stupa (3rd century BC).[3] The stupa, a dome shaped monument, was used in India as a commemorative monument associated with storing sacred relics.[3] The stupa emerged as a distinctive style of Indian architecture and was adopted in Southeast and East Asia,[4] where it became prominent as a Buddhist monument used for enshrining sacred relics.[3] 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.[5] This purpose was popularized due to the efforts of Buddhist missionaries, pilgrims, rulers, and ordinary devotees to seek out, distribute, and extol Buddhist relics.[6]

[edit] Symbolism

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.[7]

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.[8]

[edit] Architecture

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.[9]
  • Taipei 101 in Taiwan, record setter for height (508m) in 2004 and currently the world’s second tallest completed building.

Other Uses:

  • Mercedes-Benz W113, nicknamed Pagoda for its concave hard top roof line. Included are the 1964-1971 230SL, 250SL, and 280SL sport coupes.

Beisi Pagoda

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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.


[edit] History

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

Daqin Pagoda

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Remnants of the pagoda

Christianity in China portal

Daqin Pagoda (大秦塔) in Chang’an, Shaanxi Province, located about two kilometres to the west of Lou Guan Tai temple[1], 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,[2] by the mid-ninth century it was also used to refer to the mission churches of the Syriac Christians.[3]


Persecution of Christians in China led to the abandonment of Daqin in about 845.[3] 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[1] and its roots in early Chinese Christiagrnity were recognized.[clarification needed][citation needed]

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 University

[edit] The pagoda today

Inside the pagoda, artistic works in both Western and Asiatic style can still be found[citation needed], 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.[4]

Outside of the pagoda, a replica of the Nestorian Stele and its stone tortoise have been installed.[5]

The exterior of the pagoda and its surroundings were featured in the first episode of the 2009 BBC program “A History of Christianity”.[6] The program also features an interview with Martin Palmer by the presenter Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

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Coordinates: 34°13′12.46″N 108°57′33.58″E / 34.2201278°N 108.9593278°E / 34.2201278; 108.9593278

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.


[edit] 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).[1] 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.[2] 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).[2] 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.[3][4] The monastic grounds around the pagoda during the Tang Dynasty had ten courtyards and a total of 1,897 bays.[3][5] In those days graduate students of the Advanced Scholars examination in Chang’an inscribed their names at this monastery.[3]

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

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Global Vipassana Pagoda
Type Meditation Hall
Architectural style Burmese
Structural system Stone dome, with self-supporting interlocking stones
Location Mumbai, India
Started 2000
Completed 2008
Architect Ar.Prvez Dumasia Mumbai, Sompura Consultant=Chandubhai Sompura
Structural engineer 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.[1] 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[2]

[edit] Description

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.[3] 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.[4]

[edit] Construction history

[edit] Timeline

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.[5] [6] 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.

[edit] Construction materials

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).

Huqiu Tower

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Huqiu Pagoda

The pagoda as viewed from the Tiger Hill

The Huqiu Tower, or Yunyan Pagoda and Tiger Hill Pagoda,[1] (Chinese: ; pinyin: Yún yán or Chinese: ; pinyin: qiū ) 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)[1] 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.[2] However, the tower leans roughly 3 degrees due to the cracking of two supporting columns.[2]

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.[2] 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.”[2] 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.[2]

Although it is seven stories, there are no built-in staircases. People climbed to upper stories using movable ladders[citation needed].

As of January 2007 public access to the top of the tower is allowed[citation

Liaodi Pagoda

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Liaodi Pagoda

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.[1]


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.’[2]

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.[3]

[edit] Features

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.

Liuhe Pagoda

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Coordinates: 30°11′53.70″N 120°07′35.70″E / 30.19825°N 120.126583°E / 30.19825; 120.126583

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).[1]


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.[2]

Lingxiao Pagoda

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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: ; pinyin: Língxiāo ; 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.

[edit] Features

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.[1] 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.

Unguarded Border Bridges Could Be Route Into US

Unguarded border bridges could be route into US

AP – In this Aug. 4, 2010, photo is the walkway of a footbridge across the Rio Grande near Acala, Texas, connecting …

By ALICIA A. CALDWELL, Associated Press Writer Alicia A. Caldwell, Associated Press Writer – Thu Aug 19, 2:51 pm ET

ACALA, Texas – On each side of a towering West Texas stretch of the $2.4 billion border fence designed to block people from illegally entering the country, there are two metal footbridges, clear paths into the United States from Mexico.

The footpaths that could easily guide illegal immigrants and smugglers across the Rio Grande without getting wet seem to be there because of what amounts to federal linguistics. While just about anyone would call them bridges, the U.S.-Mexico group that owns them calls them something else.

“Technically speaking it’s not a bridge, it’s a grade control structure,” said Sally Spener, spokeswoman for the International Boundary and Water Commission, which maintains the integrity of the 1,200-mile river border between the U.S. and Mexico. The structures under the spans help prevent the river — and therefore the international border — from shifting.

Spener said the river was straightened years ago to stabilize and prevent a shift during high river flow. Without the structures, which also help slow the flow of water in the river, she said it could erode its banks, wash out the river bed and degrade natural habitats.

Whatever they’re called, there are fresh sneaker tracks on the structures — indicating they’re being used as passages into the country.

After a private meeting with Rio Grande Valley police chiefs Thursday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry said news of the unsecured footbridges did not surprise him.

“This is a long border,” Perry said. “It’s been discouraging that there’s something as obvious (as the bridges) and the federal government hasn’t addressed it.”

The realization that a section of the border fence is sandwiched between two footbridges comes at a time of heightened alarm along the U.S.-Mexico border as the drug war in northern Mexico continues unabated. President Barack Obama ordered thousands of National Guard troops to the border but Perry has railed that the federal government isn’t doing enough to keep Americans safe and illegal immigrants out.

The steel fencing that dots about 600 miles of border in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California was built under former President George W. Bush’s administration amid a national outcry for border security. The steel fencing appears in urban areas, while more rural areas have shorter, concrete vehicle barriers.

“If we are spending so much money on a fence, why not put some into cutting (the bridges) out, eliminating an easy access at a place that is not a port?” said Don Reay, executive director of the Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition.

The footbridges were built in the 1930s as part of a treaty with Mexico, Spener said.

On a recent visit to a bridge west of the fence line near Acala, Border Patrol Special Operations Supervisor Ramiro Cordero spotted an hours-old adult-sized sneaker print in the soft sand at the foot of the bridge facing into the United States.

In a border tour with the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office in March, Associated Press journalists happened upon the bridge moments after a man with a bicycle used the bridge to cross the river from Mexico. The border crosser, who told authorities he was only trying to fish from the north side of the river, was promptly arrested.

“If he can do it, so can drug cartels with loads of narcotics of any kind,” Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Lt. Robert Wilson said. “Even a terrorist could pass here with weapons of mass destruction and be in the United States and up on the interstate and gone in a short time.”

It’s unclear how often the bridge is used, but it’s common to see people on the Mexican side lingering around the crossing or others playing in the river in the area.

The bridges may have made sense decades ago when they were built, Wilson said, but times have changed and the once quiet area across the border from rural Hudspeth County has been enveloped in Mexico’s drug war.

Cartel fighters have overrun a series of small towns in the Valle de Juarez, about 50 miles east of Ciudad Juarez, ground zero in the bloody drug war. Residents have been forced to flee north to Fort Hancock after cartel fighters burned down houses, tried to torch a local Catholic church and threatened to kill anyone who stayed.

“It made a lot of sense for flood control when the boundary commission built them,” Wilson said. “Now with the way things have progressed, it’s pretty silly there are no controls here.”

Cordero insists agents in the area pay close attention to the bridges and other areas easily crossed on foot or by car. He said there also are numerous underground sensors around the bridges that alert agents to area traffic.

But patrols in such an open area can appear to be sporadic to the average observer as marked Border Patrol trucks cruise up and down a river levee road along the border.

The crossings are owned by both the United States and Mexico and are needed for workers to maintain and occasionally fix cement structures that support the bridge, Spener said. Any changes to the structures, she said, would have to be approved by officials in both countries. And no one has ever asked to secure the bridges or remove them, she said.

“We would be happy to work with Border Patrol if they have security concerns they’ve identified,” Spener said. “It would be a challenge, but we’d be happy to discuss it.”

Cordero said he’s not aware of any requests by Border Patrol or the Department of Homeland Security to secure the crossings. But still, he concedes, it would be nice if there was more security around the remote crossing.

“Obviously this is where technology and the experience of our agents comes into play,” Cordero said. “Do we have to pay more attention here? Yes, because we’re talking seconds that they can get in.”

Cave Buddhist Temple in China

Cave Buddhist Temple

The idea of constructing Buddhist temples by hollowing out rock faces was brought to China from Central Asia, where monuments of this sort had been constructed for centuries. Over the years, more and more caves would be excavated and decorated as pious acts on the part of monks and artists.  Most of the cave temples were begun in the north during the Northern Dynasties. Cave temples at Dunhuang were begun in 366; at Bingling and Maijishan  in the early fifth century;  at Yungang in 460; at Longmen and Gongxian in the early sixth century.  During the Tang period additions were made to many of these cave temple complexes, especially Dunhuang and Longmen.


Positioned in the furthest reaches of northwestern China, Dunhuang served as a gateway into China from Central Asia. Beginning in the fifth century, and continuing through the tenth, approximately five hundred rooms were carved into the area’s soft rock.  These rooms were decorated with sculptures and frescoes in styles which changed over the centuries. What you see here is only a tiny fraction of the art that can still be seen in the 492 surviving caves at Dunhuang. Below is a painted room in Dunhuang, which was first completed in the Western Wei period (6th  century).

What visual effect is achieved by a room completely decorated with painted images? Does the style of the painted images evoke any particular emotional response from the viewer?
Cave 282 at Dunhuang Height: 316 cm (10 ft 4 in), width: 638 cm (20 ft 11 in) source
Below is a painted stone relief altar.

Painted stone relief altar from Dunhuang  



In 386 the Northern Wei dynasty was declared by the Tuoba, a

nomadic people from the north. As it consolidated power in

north China during the fifth century, this non-Han dynasty

found it beneficial to associate themselves with the

burgeoning popularity of Buddhism. Despite this,

the Northern Wei emperor Taiwu (r. 424-452) was

persuaded by Daoist and Confucian officials at court

to curb the Buddhist church. This persecution of

Buddhism, begun in 446, lasted until his death in 452.

Taiwu’s grandson, Wencheng (r. 452-465) succeeded him

and reinstated Buddhism to its previous, eminent

position. One of the ways in which he made up for

his grandfather’s actions was by commissioning

the excavation of some of the enormous caves at Yungang.

Today, over 50,000 statues from the 52 caves survive.

Below is an outdoor shot of Yungang.  Most of the

caves here (Caves 21-45) date back to the 5th century.

The front walls of many of the caves have eroded away,

so that some of the larger statues can now be viewed

from a distance, as seen below.

Below is an immense gilded Buddha from Yungang from the fifth century. It is approximately the height  

of a four-story house.



How do you think monuments like this one fit

within the history of Buddhism during the Northern Wei?

Northern Wei Gilded Buddha from Yungang Height: 17 m (55 ft 8 in) source
To the left is a close-up of figures carved into the cave wall at Yungang during the Northern Wei period (5th century).  The bright colors are a modern attempt to restore the original painting.  

Why do you think each Buddha

figure is situated in its own niche?

Wall at Yungang, Cave 11 source
Here is another recently re-painted stone relief from Yungang, also fifth  century.Look at the  

composition of the art displayed on these walls.

Why do you think these images were arranged

the way they are?

Painted stone relief from Yungang, Cave 10 source
To review images from Yungang shown in previous sections of this unit click here.
LONGMEN Although construction of the cave temples at 

Longmen were begun in the early sixth century,

the bulk of the sculptures there date from the

Tang period. One of the more illustrious patrons

of the caves was Empress Wu, the controversial

Tang ruler who commissioned approximately

380 images for the Longmen caves between the

years 655 and 705.

Over 100,000 images can be found in the

approximately 1,300 caves of Longmen.

These images range in size from 2 cm (0.8 in)

to 17 m (56 ft).

Here is a close-up of one of the central figure

from Fengxian Monastery at Longmen, completed

during the first half of the eighth century.


Can you tell which deity this

is by just looking at the face?

Head height: 400 cm (13 ft 1 in) source

Below we see a full view of the massive stone statue of which you just saw a detail.  


With a full view can you now

identify which figure was just shown to you?

Can you identify the figure second to the right of him?

Height of the Buddha: 17.14 m (56 ft) source
A common theme at Longmen and other cave temples is the “thousand Buddhas,” usually  

portrayed by small, repeated images.

Why do you think is the effect of a repetitive

image like this one? Why do you think someone

would repeat an image of a sacred figure?.

Wall of Thousand Buddhas, Longmen Height: 131 cm (4 ft 4 in)

Temple Of Heaven, Beijing

Temple of Heaven, Beijing

Overview of the Temple of Heaven, Beijing. Photo docsdl.

Detail of the beautiful Hall of Heavenly Prayer. Photo Sergio Nasi.

The House of Heavenly Lord at Tian Tan. Photo Rob Rogoyski.

View over the Tian Tan temple complex. Photo Stephan Wolschon.

Colorfully painted ceiling in the Hall of Prayer. Photo Lauren.

Testing the acoustics of the Echo Wall. Photo Paco Alcantara.

Entrance to the Abstinence Palace. Photo Brian Jeffery Beggerly.


“The Temple of Heaven is a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design which simply and graphically illustrates a cosmogony of great importance for the evolution of one of the world’s great civilizations.”
–UNESCO World Heritage

The Temple of Heaven, or more literally the Altar of Heaven (; Tiān Tán) is a temple of Chinese religion used for imperial ceremonies for five centuries. Its buildings are situated in their own large and tranquil park in southeast Beijing.


Construction of the Temple of Heaven began during the reign of Emperor Yongle was completed in 1420. It was used by all subsequent Emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

In imperial China, the emperor was regarded as the Son of Heaven, the intermediary between Earth and Heaven. To be seen to be showing respect to the source of his authority, in the form of sacrifices to heaven, was extremely important. The Temple of Heaven was built for these ceremonies.

The most important ceremony of the year took place on the winter solstice, when the emperor prayed for good harvests. After three days of fasting, the emperor and his entourage, wearing splendid robes, would make their way to the park on the day before the solstice. It was forbidden for the commoners to catch a glimpse of the great annual procession; they had to bolt their windows and remain in silence indoors throughout the event.

Upon arrival at Tian Tan, the emperor meditated in the Imperial Vault, ritually conversing with the gods on the details of government. He then spent the night in the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests.

The next day, the winter solstice, he performed animal sacrifices before the Throne of Heaven at the Round Altar. The rituals were planned to the smallest detail according to numerological theories. The ceremony had to be perfectly completed, for the smallest of mistakes would constitute a bad omen for the whole nation in the coming year.

Speaking of bad omens, the Hall of Prayer was destroyed by a lightning strike in 1889. The official explanation for this appalling event was that is was divine punishment meted out on a caterpillar that was about to crawl onto the golden ball of the hall’s roof. For allowing this to happen, 32 court dignitaries were executed. The hall was then faithfully rebuilt according to the original Ming design.

The temple complex remained forbidden to all but the emperor and his retinue until the gates were thrown open to the people on the first Chinese National Day of the Republic in October 1912. On December 23, 1914, General Yuan Shikai performed the ancient ceremonies himself, as part of his attempt to be proclaimed emperor. He died before the end of the year.

That was the last time Tian Tan was used for ritual ceremonies. It has since been a museum open to the public. The site was registered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1998.

What to See

Temple of Heaven Park covers an expansive 2.73 km² (270 acres). The entire site is filled with symbolism, centered on the main idea that Earth is square and Heaven is round. The temples and altars are round (with blue tiles further representing Heaven) and stand on square bases. The whole park has the shape of a square surmounted by a semicircle in the north.

The park contains three main groups of buildings, all constructed according to strict feng shui requirements: the Earthly Mount, the House of Heavenly Lord, and the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. Although most visitors approach the park from the north or west, the ceremonial route begins in the south.

The central pathway leads straight to the Round Altar (or Earthly Mount; 圜丘), a platform of three marble tiers representing Man, Earth and Heaven. Each tier is made of blocks in various multiples of nine, which was seen as the most powerful odd number, symbolizing both Heaven and Emperor.

The platform is now bare, but in imperial times the Throne of Heaven was placed at the very center. This was considered to be the middle of the Middle Kingdom and the very center of the earth. To the east are ruins of a group of buildings used for the preparation of sacrifices.

The path continues to the House of Heavenly Lord (or Imperial Vault of Heaven, 皇穹宇), a round building made entirely of wood and topped with a splendid roof of dark blue glazed tiles. It is built on a single level of marble stone base, where the altars were housed when not in use.

The House of Heavenly Lord is preceded by a curved wall, 6m tall. It is known as the Echo Wall for its unique acoustics that allow a person at one end of the wall to hear the voice of a person at the other end of the wall. However, the unceasing noise of everyone trying it out make it impossible to tell.

At the north end of the park is the main temple building, the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿). This magnificent round building is made entirely of wood without the use of a single nail. It stands on a three-tiered square marble base and has three blue-tiled roofs of harmonious proportions. The interior is painting in dazzling colors.

The Hall of Prayer is filled with numerological symbolism. It is 32 meters in diameter and 38 meters tall. It has four inner pillars, representing the four seasons, 12 middle pilllars, symbolizing the 12 months, and 12 outer pillars, representing the 12 Chinese watches of the day.

The Temple of Heaven is the grandest of four great temples in Beijing, the others being the Temple of Sun in the east (), the Temple of Earth in the north (), and the Temple of Moon in the west ().

Quick Facts

Site Information
Names: Temple of Heaven; Altar of Heaven; 天坛; Tiān Tán
Location: Beijing, China
Faith: Chinese
Category: Temples; World Heritage Sites
Architecture: Ming
Date: 1420; Hall of Prayer rebuilt in 1889
Status: museum
Visitor Information
Address: Qian Men Dajie, Beijing, China
Coordinates: 39.882376° N, 116.406798° E   (view on Google Maps)
Lodging: View hotels near this location
Phone: 010/6702-8866
Public transport: For the east gate (dong men), take the 807 or 812 bus from just north of the Chongwen Men metro stop (209, exit B) to Fahua Si. Bus 106 runs from Dongzhimen to the north entrance; bus 54 passes the west gate on its way from Qianmen and bus 41 fro
Opening hours: 5am to 9:30pm (6am-8pm in winter), but the ticket offices and major sights are only open from 8:30am to 4:30pm.
Cost: All-inclusive tickets (lian piao) cost ¥35 (¥30 in winter); simple park admission costs ¥15.

Note: This information was accurate when published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip. Last update: 01/19/2010.

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Location Map

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