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Small Wild Goose Pagoda - Xiaoyan Ta

General Introduction
The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is situated just about 1 kilometer south of Xi'an City in the grounds of Jianfu Temple, outside the southern gate of Ming Dynasty Chang'an. Same as the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, it was in the equal position to the importance as a landmark in Xi'an, capital of the Tang Dynasty. As for its name origin, it is clearly to see, due to smaller size and later tim e building than the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Its name was just following the big one.
The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was constructed in 707 of the Tang Dynasty, which shows a lot of the typical ancient architectural features in the period of Tang Dynasty.

Architecture
Small Wild Goose Pagoda is a fifteen-storied temple with a special multi-eave, square and brick structure. Its height is 46 meters when it was first established, but with the broken steeple through years, it lowered to 43.3 meters. Its large base and the first floor measured 11.38 meters long each. There are two doors on the north and south sides on the ground floor made of black stone and two windows instead on other floors. Carved on the lintel are images of arhats and designs of grasses, their excellent workmanship reflecting the artistic style of the early Tang Dynasty. Also another typical feature in Tang Dynasty construction that the pagoda becomes narrow as the increasing of the floor. In other words, the eaves are formed by designs in the shape of chevrons and fifteen tiers of overlapping bricks, each tier wider than the one below, thus making the eaves curve inward, a characteristic of multi-eave pagodas in the Tang Dynasty. In the first five stories it tapers very little, but from the sixth story up, it reduces dramatically, giving the pagoda a smooth curved outline. The tubular interior of the pagoda has wooden flooring and a winding flight of wooden steps leading to other stores, what are not for climbing up.
Still there exists weakness, such as the windows on each floor that would reduce the firmness of the pagoda. It is exactly the reason why the pagoda spit up into two pars in a later earthquake. The fracture was so wide that it looked like windows, and people passing by could see it dearly. In 1521, the last year of the Zhengde period of the same dynasty, another quake occurred and the crack was miraculously closed. People traditionally called it "Magic Healing", Shen He in Chinese.

Magic Bell
In one of the courtyard stands a large bell of 4.5 meters high, 7.6 meters in diameter along the outside rim and weighs about 10 tons. Its set-up could be traced back to the year 1192 of Jin Dynasty. There is a interesting legend contributed the name of "Magic Bell". Once there is somebody missed his beloved living far away from him, could write down their names on a piece of yellow paper and send a message by the very sound of the Bell. Therefore, the "Morning Bell Chimes of the Pagoda" became one of the eight famous scenic features in Shaanxi.

 


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