Situated in Da Ci’En Temple, the Big Wild Goose Pagoda is one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in China. The Ci’en temple is the main entrance to the spectacular Giant Wild Goose Pagoda.
In 652 AD, Master Xuanzang proposed to the court that a pagoda should be built inside the temple to store the scriptures and statues he had brought back from India. The Emperor agreed with him, and Master Xuanzang created the designs himself and supervised the building of this prodigious structure. He stayed in the Ci’en Temple for 12 years, and translated 75 sets of Buddhist scripture, a total of 1,335 volumes, from Sanskrit to Chinese.
The storeyed pagoda is an architectural marvel. It was built with layers of bricks without any cement. The bracket style used in traditional Chinese architecture was used in the construction. The seams between each layer of bricks and the ‘prisms’ on each side of the pagoda are clearly visible. The grand body of the pagoda with its solemn appearance, simple style and high structure, is indeed a good Chinese traditional architecture. This five storeyed temple once had 13 separate courtyards and contained 1,879 magnificent rooms. It was a place of grand dimensions in the Tang Dynasty.
Tradition during that era held that a candidate who passed the imperial examinations would have to climb up the Big Wild Goose Pagoda and write poems and inscriptions on the top. This symbolised their soaring career in the future, and the fashion extended well into Ming Dynasty.
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