The Leifeng pagoda is located on the Sunsethill in the southern bank of the west lake. The original pagoda collapsed onSep. 25th, 1924. Because it was located on the leifeng peak whichclosed to the Xiguan city gate, local people named it Leifeng pagoda or Xiguanbrick pagoda. There was another saying that the pagoda was used to honor theKing’ concubine. So it also called Concubine pagoda. The original one was madeof brick and wood. It was octagonal pavilion type and totally 7 floors. Thepurpose to build the pagoda was to store the crystalline Buddha’s hair remains.The construction of the pagoda was from 971AD to 977AD. The main body was madeof bricks and the external parts were decorated with wood corridors and doubleeaves. The main body was consisting of the inner wall and outer wall. The Huayan sutra was craved in the innerwall. And it was said that there were 16 golden-and-bronze arhats whichdisplayed in the first floor.
Due to the war happened in 1119-1125, theLeifeng pagoda was seriously damaged. So in the Southern Song dynasty, it wasrenovated and only remained 5 floors.
In the Yuan dynasty, the Leifeng pagodareached its highest peak.
In the Jiajing period of Ming dynasty(1522-1566), the Leifeng pagoda was burn up in the war, only left the reddishbricks body. However, the burned-out pagoda, tumbledown and ruined, showedanother beauty.
In the Qing dynasty, there was no anyrenovation of the Leifeng pagoda. The emperor of Qing dynasty, Kang’xi, paid avisit to Hangzhou.Then he came to the Leifeng pagoda and inscribed the “Leifeng pagoda in EveningGlow”. But what made it famous and popular was the folk story of White SnakeLady. The heroine, white snake, transform into a beautiful woman. In order toseek her true love on the earth, she was opposed by Fahai, a monk, and then wasimprisoned in the Leifeng pagoda.
In the late Qing dynasty, the pagoda wasstill no renovation and there was a rumor that the bricks of the Leifeng pagodacould get rid of the devil and deliver a son for women. So more and more peoplecame to the original one and stole its bricks, which gradually leaded to thefoundation of the pagoda unsteady. At the late Qing dynasty and the earlyRepublic of China, the local government built a wall to protect the originalpagoda. But it still could not stop people to steal the bricks here. The pagodacollapsed at 13:40, on Sep. 25th, 1924 at last. A lot of peoplerushed to the ruins of the Leifeng pagoda and picked the bricks. The bricks ofLeifeng pagoda were specially made. Each one was about 925px long, 450px wide and 150px thick. Some bricks were craved the names of thedonators in one side. And in other bricks, there was a hole in one side with 250px deep. The Buddhism sutra rolled andrestored in the hole. The sutra was 2.11m long and 182.5px wide. It was regarded as the best work in earlyprinting skill. Besides a few gilded pagoda paintings were also restored in theholes of the bricks. After its collapse, local government officers andmerchants wanted to rebuild the pagoda, but the hope did not come true due tothen unstable society. Until 1999, Zhejiang Provincial Government and HangzhouMunicipal Government decided to rebuild the Leifeng pagoda. After that theissue of reconstruction was put on the agenda, and resuming the Leifeng pagodain Evening Glow, one of ten views of the west lake, was around the corner.