The Small Wild Goose Pagoda stands in the Jianfu Temple
in the southern suburb of Xi'an City, Shanxi 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 Xi'an 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
The construction of the pagoda is a wonder. Because Xi'an
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.