china edition


Xian - Small Wild Goose Pagoda

Shaanxi - Xian - Yan'an

Small Wild Goose Pagoda, situated in Jianfu Temple about 1 kilometer south of the downtown area, is a historical legacy left by the Tang dynasty. Its well-known "Morning Bell Chimes" is regarded as one of the 8 famous scenic features in Shaanxi Province.

Small Wild Goose PagodaThe temple, established in 684 AD in honor of Emperor Tang Gaozong (Li Zhi) upon the centenary of his death, was particularly associated with the pilgrim monk, Yijing, who was a great translator of that time. "Xianfu", meaning the "temple of offering good fortune" was its original name. It got its present name "Jianfu Temple" in 698 AD.

According to historical records, the monk Yijing had spent over 20 years traveling around many countries. When he brought 400 sutras back to Chang'an City, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built to house and protect these sutras. Then Yijing began the task of translating them into Chinese, which records cultural exchanges between China and India.

Completed in 707 AD, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda is a brick structure with dense eaves. It had 15 storeys and was 45 meter high. An earthquake in 1555 damaged and reduced it to 13 storeys, 43 meter high. Some restorations were done in 1965. The pagoda was solidified with reinforced concrete and a new internal staircase built so that tourists could climb to the top.

Behind the pagoda you can find a small bell tower standing in the courtyard. It houses a large bell measuring 4.5 meter high and weighing 10 tons. The sound of the bell is crisp and pleasant, and can be heard as far as 5 kilometer away.

It was cast in 1192 with 16 lucky words engraved on it. It is said that if one missed his beloved relations who are living far away from him, he only needs to write down his family's name and address on a label, and the sound of the Bell would pass the message to them.