Xi'an Museum (Small Wild Goose Pagoda)
The museum has an ancient and elegant structure. It has a magnificent scale and an excellent combination of ancient architecture and modern technology. It also takes the architectural style of palace halls at the center and lofty towers at the four corners. It looks ancient, refined, elegant, dignified and impressive. The museum is the masterpiece of famous ancient architect Ms. Zhang Jinqiu, the student of Liang Sicheng, the great architect in China.
The museum takes up an area of 70,000 square meters, of which 56,000 are for the main structure and 11,000 are for the exhibition halls. Along the 1,500-meter exhibition line are permanent exhibitions, special exhibitions and temporary exhibitions.
The Xian Museum in the west displays more than 2,000 precious historical relics. In the central axis, there are the White-Clothing Pavilion, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, the Sutra Depository, the Mahavira Hall (Daxiongbaodian) and the Maitreya Pavilion in the Jianfu Temple. Verdant trees, grass and beautiful flowers can be found throughout the time-honored building complex. Moreover, beside the museum sits a big circular square and an artificial lake with two stone arch bridges featuring delicate designs.
The scenic area incorporates an intelligent guide system which offers a audio guide device to visitors. When visitors come to a scenic spot, the device will automatically give a detailed explanation. Besides the Chinese version, the museum will introduce a version designed for children and versions in other languages. Tourists need to deposit CNY 100 for such a device, which will be refunded to them when returning it at either the west gate or the north gate.
The museum has three major exhibition sections: the Basic Exhibition Hall, the Thematic Exhibition Hall and the Temporary Exhibition Hall.
The basic exhibition is on the theme of the 'Ancient Capital - Xian'. This area mainly displays the development of ancient Xian and people's social life during the 13 dynasties when Xian was China's capital. Occupying an area of 2,485 square meters (2,972 square yards), there are totally more that 660 sets of cultural exhibits. Especially, there are models of Chang'an City in the Han (206 BC - 220 AD), Sui (581 - 618), Tang, Song (960 - 1279), Yuan (1271 - 1368), Ming and Qing Dynasties. Here visitors can learn the civilization of the Zhou (770 BC - 221 BC), Qin (221 BC - 206 BC), Han, Tang and Ming by admiring the cultural relics in these dynasties.
The thematic area covers the themes of Buddhist statue arts, calligraphy and paintings, jade and seals. The Buddhist art zone displays over 120 items of exhibits, such as the Buddhist stone statues and copper statues, showing the important status of the Buddhism in the ancient Chang'an City; there are over 100 works of calligraphy and painting here; in the jade zone, about 120 pieces of refined jade articles, which are classified according to different use; also, there are more than 200 seals on show, present visitors the official and private seals.
Finally, the Temporary Exhibition Hall usually displays cultural and historical relics coming from districts and counties of Xian. Approximately, there are a total of more than 20,000 items in these areas waiting to be presented group by group in Xian Museum.
The architectural design of the museum follows the traditional Chinese concept of the universe - a round heaven and a square earth. It has been recognized as one of the ten landmark buildings in Xian and offers excellent facilities for the display of precious cultural relics thereby ensuring their full appreciation.
||The museum issues 3,000 free ticket from 09:00 to 12:00 and 13:00 to 16:00 to visitors every day.|
||Take bus 18, 21, 29, 32, 40, 46, 203, 204, 224, 407, 410, 508, 521, 610, 700, 707, tourism bus no.7, tourism bus no.8 or Wulong Special Line and get off at Xiao Yan Ta (Small Wild Goose Pagoda) station.|
Take bus 18, 203, 204, 218, 407, 410, Wulong Special Line or tourism bus no.7 (You 7) and get off at Xiajiazhuang Station.
The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is located about 1 kilometers south of Jianfu Temple in Xi'an City of Shaanxi Province. Along with the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, it was an important landmark in Chang'an, capital of the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Since it was smaller and built later than the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, it was named the Small Wild Goose Pagoda.
The Jianfu Temple, originally located at Kaihuafang of the Tang Dynasty Chang'an, was former residence of Princess Xiangcheng, a daughter of Tang Emperor Taizong. It was originally established in 684 in hornor of Li Zhi -- Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty -- and its original name was the Xianfu Temple, which changed into the Jianfu Temple in 690. It was a famous temple in Chang'an City of the Tang Dynasty.
The temple was the place where the great translator Monk Yijing of the Tang Dynasty translated Buddhist scriptures. Yijing set out by sea for India in search of Buddhist principles in 671. After traveling over 30 countries for 25 years, he came back to China with some 400 volumes of holy Sanskirt scriptures, and stayed in the Jianfu Temple. Yijing translated altogether 56 volumes of scriptures in the Jianfu Temple and wrote the book Biography of Eminent Monks of the Tang Dynasty in Search of Buddhist Truth in India, which is of great help to the study of Chinese and Indonesian history and the cultural exchange. Now the only extant ancient architecture in the Jianfu Temple is the Small Wild Goose Pagoda.
The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is a multi-eave and square brick structure. Originally it was 46 meters high with 15 storeys, but now it is 43.3 meters high with 13 storeys, because its steeple was destroyed, as a result of earthquakes. Carved on the lintel are images of arhats and designs of grasses, with excellent workmanship reflecting the artistic style of the early Tang Dynasty. The pagoda has fifteen pent roofs. Each storey is very low with small windows only on the south and north sides to let in light and air. 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. From the first to the fifth storey it tapers very little, but from the sixth storey up, it reduces drastically, giving the pagoda a smooth curved contour. The tubular interior of the pagoda has wooden flooring and a winding flight of wooden steps leading to other storeys.
The shape and structure of the pagoda are typical of early multi-eave pagodas and influenced many brick and stone multi-eave pagodas built later in other parts of the country. The multi-eave pagoda is in a spindle shape. It stands 13 stories tall for a height of 43.38 metres and is 11.56 metres on each side at the base. The corbel brick eaves (each brick is at a slight angle, lower on the outside than on the inside, allowing rainwater to run off) protrude from each storey, so that the interior is kept relatively dry. Despite the lack of mortaring, these corbel eaves allow the building to stay in excellent condition. On the north and south sides, the tower has entrance doors at the bottom, but each storey have arched windows instead. Each entrance door has a stone door frame that is covered with fine line drawings (in the Tang style) of immortal figures and show a very high level of artistic value. The immortal figures and plant line drawings appear on the stone arch of the south entrance door at the base. They are the same drawings as the ones on the horizontal bars of the entrance doors of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, but they have become eroded over time and are now incomplete and hazy.
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.
Standing in one of the courtyards is a huge bell -- 4.5 meters in height, 7.6 meters in diameter along the rim, and 10 tons in weight -- dating back to the Jin Dynasty (1192). It was called the "Magic Bell" for an interesting legend that the one who 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 sound of the Bell. Hence, the "Morning Bell Chimes of the Pagoda" is one of the Eight Famous Scenic Features in Shaanxi
New Year's Temple Fair
Date: usually from lunar December 28 - lunar January 15 (three days before the Chinese New Year - 15 days after)
Activities: various exhibitions, folk performances and lantern displays
||CNY 50 (allow to ascend the pagoda )|
CNY 20 ( not allow to ascend the pagoda)
CNY 10 without ascending the pagoda (lunar December 28-30, three days before the Chinese New Year)
During the Temple Fair, the pagoda is closed at 17:00. The last hours for the scenic sport is 22:00, and last entry at 21:00.
||Take Bus 18, 21, 29, 32, 40, 46, 203, 204, 224, 407, 410, 508, 521, 610, 700, 707, tourism bus no.7, tourism bus no.8 or Wulong Special Line and get off at Xiao Yan Ta (Small Wild Goose Pagoda) station.|