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The Significance of Xi’an Big Wild Goose Pagoda

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a preserved building in Chang’an City of Tang Dynasty and a famous monument and landmark in Xi’an, which has been listed as a World Heritage Site. It is the earliest and largest surviving brick pagoda of the four-sided pavilion style of the Tang Dynasty in China.

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is modeled after the Western rustling pagoda, with a brick surface and an earthen core that cannot be climbed, and each layer holds relics. It was constructed by Venerable Xuanzang himself and took two years to complete. Later, through generations of reconstruction and repair, it gradually evolved from the original western rustling form into a brick imitation wood structure with the characteristics of the Chinese architecture and became a pagoda that can be climbed.

The existing Big Wild Goose Pagoda is conical in shape and square in plan. All layers of the tower body are built with brick imitating Tang Dynasty architecture eaves pillars, arch, column forehead, sandalwood square, eaves rafters, rafters, and other imitation wood structure, grinding brick to seam masonry, the structure is strict and neat, grinding brick to seam solid exception. The walls of each layer of the tower are built with brick flat pillars and appendages, the upper part of the pillar has a large bucket, and a brick arch coupon doorway is opened in the middle of each of the four sides of each layer. The construction process of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda vividly illustrates the process of the introduction of Buddhist architectural art into China and its gradual Chineseization.

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda collects the precious Buddhist relics of the Bayesian Sutra, and the tower displays Buddha’s relics, stone carvings of Buddha’s feet, and stone carvings of the footprints of the Tang monk taking the scriptures. There are stone doors on all four sides of the ground floor of the pagoda, and all the door masts have exquisite line carvings of Buddha. The lintel of the west door is a picture of Amitabha Buddha saying, and the picture is carved with a rich and magnificent hall. The layout of the picture is strict and the lines are strong and smooth, which is said to be the handwriting of Yan Liben, a painter of the Tang Dynasty. The bottom south door hole on both sides of the inlaid with the Tang Dynasty calligrapher Chu Suiliang book, the Tang Emperor Li Shimin written by the “Great Tang Sanzang Shengjiao Preface” and the Tang Emperor Gaozong Li Zhi written by the “Great Tang Sanzang Shengjiao Preface” two stone tablets, with high artistic value. They further corroborate the history of the Great Wild Goose Pagoda and the spread of Buddhism along the Silk Road.