Small Wild Goose Pagoda
The Small Wild Goose Pagoda stands in the Jianfu Temple in the southern suburb of Xian City, Shaanxi Province. It was built in the year 707 during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). As it is newer and smaller than the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the name was given to distinguish the two. Unlike the grand Big Wild Goose Pagoda, it is dainty and exquisite in its appearance. It is an important cultural relic and one of the remaining symbols of ancient Chang'an (the name of Xian in the Tang Dynasty).
This multi-eave brick pagoda is thirteen stories tall, reaching 43.38 meters (142 feet). It is square on plane and rises skyward in an elegant spindle shape. Above the ground floor, the height of each storey diminishes, rendering a graceful curve to the contour. Multi-eaves are made by overlapping bricks curve inward, a characteristic of the Tang Dynasty construction. The ground floor has arched doors facing north and south; the other floors have arched windows instead. The fine drawings on the doors reflect the artistic style prevailing in the Tang Dynasty. Inside, a narrow wooden stairway winds its way to the top of the pagoda.
The construction of the pagoda is a wonder. Because Xian is located in an area where earthquakes sometimes occur, the pagoda base is made from packed earth in the shape of a hemisphere. In case of an earthquake, the pressure can be evenly divided, thus the pagoda has remained standing after over seventy earthquakes. After so many earthquakes, only the pinnacle and the two upper floors (the original pagoda had fifteen stories) have been damaged. Remarkably, cracks in the pagoda which have occurred during earthquakes have been closed by quakes that came later.
A giant iron bell 3.5 meters (11.4 feet) in height and about 10 tons in weight resides in the Jianfu Temple. It makes a magnificent clear sound that can be heard more than three miles away. The elegant pagoda along with the bell is known as 'The Morning Bell Chimes of the Pagoda' and is considered one of the eight major cultural sites in the province. It is really worthwhile visiting this ancient Buddhist pagoda.