The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built in the year 707 A.D during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It is located in the southern suburb of Xian, about 2 kilometers to the south of the City Wall. Covering an area of 16.3 hectares (40.4 acres), it mainly consists of the Xian Museum, the ancient Jianfu Temple built in the year 684 A.D during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and the famous Small Wild Goose Pagoda. Small Wild Goose Pagoda and its large neighbor, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, are two important Buddhist sites, dating back to the Tang Dynasty, 1300 years ago. It is an important cultural relic and one of the remaining symbols of ancient Chang’an (the name of Xian in the Tang Dynasty).
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.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 which 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 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.
Small Wild Goose Pagoda is part of Xi’an Museum. The museum exhibits about 130,000 pieces of precious relics introducing the splendid history and culture of Xi’an and China as well, including jade articles, seals, Buddhist statues, stone carvings, porcelains, calligraphies and paintings. The ancient Small Wild Goose Pagoda and the newly-built museum echo each other; and the sonorous bell chimes response to the melodious Chang’an ancient music played here. The Small Wild Goose Pagoda Scenic Area, with its brand-new appearance, welcomes tourists from both home and abroad.