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Cultural displays

The new pagoda body is composed of fivestories. Each story has its unique style with different display. The hiddenstory of the body is the story of White Snake with Dongyang woodcarving. The2nd story of the body is the construction of pagoda under the control of KingQian of Wuyue Kingdom with propylene fresco. The 3rdstory of the body is poems about Leifeng Pagoda with woodcarving. The 4th storyof the body is the panoramic view of West Lake in 21st century byOu sculpture. The 5th story of the body is the life-story of Buddha and gildedceiling.


The first floor of ruins

The foundation of the original pagoda is anoctagonal earth stand wrapped with bricks and stones with a diameter of 43meters and an area of 1000 square meter and is 2 meters above ground 17 meterson each circular side, bigger than Six Harmony Pagoda, another pagoda built inthe Five Dynasties. The outer circular foundation is 2.5 meters above ground withpedestals of Buddha’s statue. The stone was engraved with mountains and seawaves, symbolizing the “Night Mountains and Eight Seas”of Buddhism. Similar patterns can be found in the pedestals of Buddha’s ofstatue in Bai Pagoda, located in Zhakou.

The flat ground of the foundation is asthick as 1.5 meters and the stone steps on the ground are 4.5 meters wide. Thesteps lead to the body of the pagoda, which is octagonal and has a diameter of25 meters. Each side measures 10 meters with an entrance to the body. Theentrance is 2.2 meters wide and 4.2 meters deep. What is left on the groundfloor of 3-5 meter high indicates that the pagoda is made up of two concentriccircular walls. The outer circular wall is 4.8 meters thick and the inner oneis 3.7 meter thick. Between them, there is a corridor 2.2 meters wide. Bothwalls are made of bricks stuck to each other with sand as thick as 3-cm. Theouter circular wall is connected to the outside wooden eaves. The inner wall issquare-shaped and has an access to the outside corridor and the centralchamber. The chamber is octagonal with a diameter of 4.7 meters.

The underground chamber is 2.6m below the ground of the pagoda. Theentrance of the chamber is sealed with a square stone slab. The chamber is aroom walled with bricks, 0.5mlong and wide, and 1m deep,as big as that of Tianfeng Pagoda in Ningbo.

The space between the entrance ofunderground chamber and 2.6mdepths below the ground is divided into two parts. The upper part is poundedwith solid earth and the lower part is full of bricks laid towards the centerof chamber. In spite of the weathering, warring and years of damages, the bodyof the pagoda stands in testimony to the high level of architecture at thattime.


The 2nd floor of ruins

The body of the original Pagoda was made ofbricks, and the inside is hollow. The brick interior was covered with a woodenstructure outside. However, the wooden structure was burnt down by the invaders500 years ago in the Ming Dynasty. After the fire, the pagoda remained standinghere, with only the brick interior left. The bricks of the pagoda total overone million pieces. Some of them were specially made with a hole inside tostore Buddhism scriptures copied on yellow silk sheets. Some ordinary peoplebelieve its bricks can keep away evils and misfortunes and bring sons andfortune. So they always took one stealthily from the pagoda when they came tovisit it. This is the direct reason why the pagoda collapsed. It was recorded ,Qian Chu, the King of Wuyue Kingdom, made 84,000 rolls of scripture and storedthem in bricks of Leifeng Pagoda .

Inthe foundation of the brick pagoda, we can see the center, corridor, column,wall, engraved brick and the plan of the pagoda. The pedestal of the pagoda wasmade of pounded carmine earth, with limestone laid as the cornerstone outsidethe earth terrace base. The space between the center of the pagoda and theoutside wooden corridor is available for tourists.

What’s more, one can enjoy the pictures of the 16 arhats around this floor.They were originally painted by Guanxiu, a famous monk in Wuyue kingdom period.The 16 arhats with different expressions and heroic bearings have been welcomedby Chinese people since Tang Dynasty and the duplicates were even spread toJapan.

The first floor 

Qi Gong, ex-chairman of calligraphyassociation, writes the Chinese characters of “Leifeng pagoda”. Thearchitectural design of the interior space has included modern elements in thatboth elevators and staircases are built inside to satisfy the needs forclimbing up the pagoda to overlook the West Lake.

Looking down from the protective glass, onecan see the ruins of the original one. Built on the original site of theLeifeng Pagoda, it is the first inChinato preserve the culturalrelics while developing it into a scenic spot. The glass protective cover isadopted to be opened regularly to circulate the air, providing both protectionfor cultural relics against from the moisture or heatstroke and convenience forviewing and admiration.

The new one, which inherited the shape andstructure of the original tower, is a modern building in the sense of itssteel-copper structure, which is adopted for the protection of the originalsite. When you looking around, you will find that the pillar, railing, cornicehanging, even the eaves tiles are made of copper. The volume of copperconsumption is 280 tons, which make it become the biggest copper pagoda at homeand abroad.


The hidden floor

The Legend of Lady White Snake in thehidden floor of Leifeng Pagoda is reproduced in a traditional artisticform—woodcarving by woodcarving masters in Dongyang, ZhejiangProvince.

The city of Dongyang is renowned for its woodcarving. Itdates back to the Tang Dynasty, the same age with the building of originalLeifeng Pagoda. The woodcarvings in Dongyang stand out in the folk arts ofChinawith its rich local favor and supreme artistic taste.

Theworks adopt the method combined multi-layer focus perspective and scatteredpoints perspective, emphasizing on the main characters and endowing them withshapes and divinities. At the same time, the design strengthened the feeling ofdeepness, endowing the viewer with the time and space feeling like beingpersonally on the scene. The entire carving was completed by “terrace carvingmethod”, integrating round carving, semi-round carving, high-relief carving,deep-relief carving, and shallow-relief carving, etc. giving a new and freshsense to visitors.

The 2nd floor

Thisfloor is showing the history of construction for Leifeng pagoda. The pagodasbuilt in Wuyue Kingdomwere in an octagonal brick-and-wood structure, a new type in the gallery ofancient pagodas and a landmark of the pagoda building in ancientChina.The pagodas of this style have had a great effect on the architecture ofancientChina,technologically or functionally.

The Buddhist pagodas of Wuyue Kingdomwere built in good geographical positions, for example, the connection of waterand mountains. So they are perfect combination of natural scenery and culturalheritage. The southern Leifeng Pagoda faces the northern Baochu Pagoda, makinga famous scenic spot of “Two Pagodas Mirroring in the Water”. This shows thelocal people in ancient times had a good sense of geography.

The ancient pagodas are in harmony with thesurrounding waters and mountains. Standing stately and gracefully, they addmore flavors to the feminine beauty of the West Lake.They render you a good view. You can watch the pagoda or ascend atop to enjoyscenery. As a place of historical interests, the pagoda of Wuyue Kingdomwith its Buddhism ritual implements as well as cultural atmosphere has longbeen a must for tourists at home and abroad.

Picture 1: Building Pagoda for blessing

It is the palace of Wuyuekingdom, where Qian Hongchu, the king and Yuhao, the chief artisan as well asofficials are discussing the building of the pagoda.

Picture 2: The building of the Pagoda

It is a forging workshop where artisans areforging, hammering, assembling,

pumping bellows and carrying materials.

Picture 3: Burying Holy Relics in theUnderground Chamber of the pagoda

It is nine in the morning. On the SunsetHill slope, a ceremony of burying holy relics in the underground chamber of thepagoda is being held by abbots. Qian Hongchu, the King of Wuyue kingdom and hisofficials are praying for the peace and prosperity of the state.

Picture 4: Storing scriptures in the bricks

It is the workshop where the artisans areprinting engraving scriptures and brick-makers are making bricks. Someofficials and the chief artisan are bending over a table and checking one rollof scripture whose headline reads: Qian Chu, the king of Wuyue kingdom, made84,000 rolls of scripture and stored them in bricks Pagoda. Other artisans areputting the scriptures into the hole of the bricks.

Picture 5: The construction site of thepagoda

It is on the construction site of thepagoda, where some officials and artisans are busy working. Some are processingmaterials, laying bricks to the body of the pagoda, and the others are carryingwood and bricks.

Picture 6: The pagoda standing in the southof the West Lake

The seven-story tower Pagoda (also calledConcubine pagoda) standing on the Sunset Hill looks to the north of the West Lake.The Leifeng Pagoda, a highlight of the West Lakescenery has a bird’s eye view of the lake.

Picture 7: The naming of the pagoda

It is the scene of naming the pagoda. Anartisan is carving Avatamsaka and one line of the scripture is: respecting theGod and cultivating one’s moral character…written by Qianchu, the king of Wuyue Kingdomto build the pagoda in celebration of the son his favorite concubine gave birthto. Some officials, monks and local women are watching the carving of stele.

Picture 8: Submitting to the rule of Songdynasty

The King and his officials go to Bianliang(today’s Kaifeng in Henan Province),the capital of the Northern Song Dynasty and present the territory map, namelists and imperial seal of Wuyue kingdom to the Song Emperor. Since then on,the Wuyue kingdom with its thirteen states and army had submitted to the ruleof Song power.

The 3rd floor  

The 3rd floor is showing the wonderfulpoetry inherited form one generation to another. Leifeng Pagoda wasreconstructed in 2002. In the new pagoda, a series of wooden pictures carved withpoetry are displayed in the third story. These poems and prose describing thepagoda, expressing emotions, recording the historical events and guiding thetourists are well chosen. Some of them are of significance because of theirauthors’ special status.   

There are eight wooden carvings, with alength of 5m and aheight of 1.55meach. Each has its unique style of calligraphy, designing, layout and color.Matching together, the eight wooden carvings form a whole picture with graceand magnificence.

Let’s enjoy some of the poetries.

1.Mid Peak  (Southern Song Dynasty)   Lin Bu

Brief Analysis:

This poem is the earliest one existingconcerning Leifeng Pagoda on the Sunset Hill on the West Lake.The Evening Glow in the view of The Evening Pagoda in Evening Glow originatedin the poem. The poem depicts the beautiful scenery and expresses the poet'semotions. The poem was written by Lin Bu, with his another name as Junfu, a Hangzhou native in theearly Northern Song Dynasty. He lived in seclusion for years on the SolitaryHill facing Sunset Hill across the West Lake. He grew mumeflowers and kept a crane, known as Peaceful Recluse. A collection of Poems byhim proved immortality. He had been one of the most influential hermit poetssince Tao Qian in Chinese literature.

2.The Evening Pagoda in EveningGlow (Yuan Dynasty)

Yin Tinggao

Brief Analysis:

The poem gives vivid description to theimage of the view. With ornate diction, it expresses poet's strong emotions. Itis one of the most popular poems with the theme of the Evening Pagoda inEvening Glow. The poet describes the scenery of the pagoda bathing in thesunset glow. Yin Tinggao born in Suichang, Zhejiang Province, with his another name of Zhongming andalternative name of Six Peaks was a poet in thelate Song Dynasty and the early Yuan Dynasty with a collection ofYujingqiaochang.

3.Maipeitang the Evening Pagodain Evening Glow     (Ming)  Qu You

Brief Analysis:

The poem depicts the view of the EveningPagoda in Evening Glow from the distant perspective to the close one, from duskto evening. It also describes the prosperity of the south route along the West Lakeand the scenery of Evening Bell Ringing on the Nanping Hill. The poem is vividwith ornate diction. The poet was a famous scholar as a Hanghzou native in theMing Dynasty.

4.Leifeng Pagoda in the EveningGlow (Ming Dynasty)  Wang Ying

Brief Analysis:

The poem describes the scenery of theevening pagoda in the evening glow and tourists in the style of simple andstraightforward. The poem is original as it uses the technique ofpersonalization. The pagoda is so grateful to the tourists that it held thelast glow of sunset for the tourists to enjoy the view. The poem fancies thatthe pagoda has the major to hold the transient ness. Wang Ying, with his nameof Yuan Ming, is a poet of Hangzhouin the late Ming Dynasty.

5.To watch the Lotus Flowers(Ming Dynasty) Li Liufang

Brief Analysis:

The poem depicts the remaining body ofLeifeng Pagoda suffering from fire. The pagoda is compared to an old Tipplerwith red face. The comparison is novel and therefore popular. The poet LiLiufang was a famous painter in the late Ming Dynasty. Wen Qixiang, one of hisfriends compared Baochu Pagoda to a beauty while Leifeng Pagoda to an old monkin his poem.

6.Memory of Leifeng Pagoda(modern) Huang Yanpei

Brief Analysis:

Huang Yanpei was former vice chairman ofthe Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and a modern patriotinChina.He showed his enthusiasm for Leifeng Pagoda in his poems and shared the desireof its reconstruction with other well-known personages at home and abroad. Thepoem ended with the interrogative sentence: Who would rebuild the Pagodaexpressed the poet’s nostalgia for the pagoda and his desire for itsrebuilding. Now when the tourists ascending the pagoda and reading the poem,they will be rejoiced to find the dream in the poem has come true.  

7.To the Top Ten Views of West Lake   Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow  (Qing Dynasty) Hongli

Brief Analysis:

Emperor Qianlong, with the royal familyname of Aisin Gioro Hongli in Qing Dynasty had been to the West Lake for sixtimes and written poems with the topic of the Top Ten Views of West Lake eachtime. In spite of its ordinary artistic value, this poem written in the styleof classical poetry with four lines and seven characters to a line is ofhistorical value for its author, the highest ruler inChinathen evaluated the view inthe poem and made it well known. He felt sorry that the collapsed pagoda wasunable to ascend and expressed his sorrow in the poem. Luckier than the EmperorQianlong, the modern tourists can enjoy the pleasure of ascending the rebuiltpagoda and feel sorry for the Emperor when they read the poems.

8.Saohuayou   Leifeng Pagoda in the Evening Glow    

(Southern Song Dynasty) Chen Yunping

Brief Analysis:

This is one of the ten poems of the top tenviews of the West Lake. Together withYingtianchang written by Zhang Ju and Mulanhuaman written by Zhou Mi, the proseis one of the earliest proses to describe Leifeng Pagoda. The three ones differas they depict the different views of Leifeng Pagoda in autumn, spring andsummer from different perspective and point of view and shows different taste.They provide the readers a whole picture of the pagoda. Chen Yunping, withanother name of Junheng and an alternative name of Xilu, born in Siming (now Ningbo, ZhejiangProvince) in the Southern Song Dynasty had written collections of poetry, suchas the Script of Xilu and Rihuyuchang

9.Sightseeing of Jiangnan  West Lake  (Qing Dynasty) Guo Hui

Brief Analysis:

The poem is short and rhythmic, sound toread. Although the subtitle of the poem is WestLake, it depicts two views, namelyLeifeng Pagoda and Jingci Temple on Nanping Hill.In the poem, he gave a vivid description of the bright frost and moonlight, theblue sunset and the red leaves in disorder and created a delightful atmosphere.Guo Hui was a poet in the Qing Dynasty.

10.Zhuzhici of the West Lake  (QingDynasty) Xu     Shijun

Brief Analysis:

Zhuzhici is a poem in the classical styleportraying local conditions and custom. Zhuzhici of the West Lakeis famous for its unique content and artistic style. It always depicts thescenery with plain and fresh words and blends the poet’s emotions with thenatural setting. The prose is easy and meaningful. This one narrates from thepoint of view of a boat maid who seems to introduce the beautiful pagoda to thetourists. Xu Shijun was a scholar in the Qing Dynasty.

11.Ascending the Pagoda with YuanPengju and Qian    Lianggui  (Yuan Dynasty)  Qian Weishan

Brief Analysis:

This poem depicts the occasion of thepoet’s ascending the pagoda with friends. With records of the brilliant view ofthe Pagoda in the evening, the poem is of historic value. On the other hand, itkeeps the event of ascending the pagoda with friends and becomes a symbol ofthe friendship between the poet and his friends. Qian Weishan, a poet of Hangzhou in the YuanDynasty, had written the Collection of River, Moon, Pine and Wind. Among themthere are a series of poems of the West Lake, which have beenfrequently cited by people.

12.Leifeng Pagoda in the EveningGlow    (Southern Song Dynasty)  Wang Wei

Brief Analysis:

This one is one of the complete series ofpoems of the top ten views of the WestLake, describing the prosperity of theWest Lake on its south shores. Wang Wei,another name of Xianlu, was born in Fujian Province in the SouthernSong Dynasty. He once was officer in Daoxian County under the rule ofLizong and Duzong. Later he became an aide to a general and lived in the thencapital Lin’an (Hangzhou).

The 4th floor

This floor is displaying the OU Sculpturefor the whole west lake.

OU Sculpture is the treasure of folkhandicrafts in Wuyue Kingdom. It is alsocalled wenzhou clay modeling from zhejiang province. OUSculpture originated during the period of WuyueKingdom where the area of today’s Wenzhou lies in Zhejiang Province. There is ariver called Oujiang River running through thecity, hence the name Eastern OU Sculpture. As an ancient art, OU Sculpture hasbeen known as Oil Clay Sculpture among the general public for a thousand yearsor more.Made of blended lacquer, clay and minerals, Ou Sculpture, a combinationof low relief and painting, is bright, colorfast and easy for cleaning andrepairing. It distinguishes itself with long history, sophisticatedcraftsmanship and distinct local favor among the traditional color lacquer claysculptures ofChina.It together with Dongyang Woodcarving, Qingtian Stone Carving and Boxwoodcarving has been known as the Three Carvings and One Sculpture of ZhejiangProvince.Thewall above the eight doorframes on the fourth floor of Leifeng Pagoda ispainted with a great piece of work of Ou Sculpture named the Westlake PanoramicView of the New Century. The Westlake Panoramic View of the New Century describesthe new views of West Lake when Leifeng Pagodawas rebuilt in 2002 from the pagoda in eight directions. It adopts thetechnique of scattering perspective with the style of traditional Chinesepainting.

The WestlakePanoramic View of the New Century consists of eight pictures depicting theviews of West Lake in spring. There are blue water,green mountain, clear sky, winding banks, verdurous trees, beautiful flowers,islets, bridges, towers, gardens, pavilions, boats as well as Top Ten Views ofthe West Lake and places of historic interests in the pictures.

The top floor

The steel beams inside the top floor from aChinese character “井”(jing) andthe arch ceiling of the floor is in shape of octagon.

In the arch ceiling, there are niches ofthe miniature Pure Silver Pagoda of King Asoka with bas-relief totaling 2002which symbolizes the reconstruction of Leifeng Pagoda.

The arch and beams are stuck with goldfoils, which emphasize the magnificence of the Pagoda. In the center of thearch there is a big lotus flower, symbolizing peace and pure. There is a hiddenheavenly palace above the top floor storing the model of the new pagoda and thechronicle of re-construction of Leifeng Pagoda. Just as the Wuyue Kingdomhas left us Leifeng pagoda as a cultural legacy, we leave a new Leifeng Pagodato the posterity as a representation of the 21st century.

Above the eight doorframes of this floor,there are eight groups of woodcarvings showing the life-story of BuddhaSakyamuni.

Picture 1:

The Buddha was actually a prince of anancient Indian kingdom. While his mother was pregnant, she went to her maternalfamily for a visit. On her way, she stopped at a garden for a walk and saw abig bodhi tree. She raised her hands to reach the branches and found a baby slippingdown from her right axilla. The newborn baby was bright all over.

Picture 2:

The newborn baby could walk on foot withoutsupport, each step witnessed a big lotus flower emerged on the ground. The babylooked around and raised his hand shouting like a lion:“I am king of the world.All the people extolled and admired him. Then, in the sky were ninedragons, pouring water to bathe the baby. At that time, all the livingcreatures experienced unprecedented happiness.

Picture 3:

When the prince grew up, he was fed up withthe comfortable life in the imperial palace and eager to go out. Permitted bythe king, he went out with the company of courtiers. He saw the old, the sickand the dead. He felt very sorry about that, and thought: “how can man transcendbirth and death.” One day the prince felt like going out again. This time hemet a Buddha monk. The prince talked to the monk. He asked him why to believein Buddha. The monk said:Buddhismreleases me from worldly cares and enables me to enter Buddhist Paradise. After that, the prince decided to be a Buddhist monk.

Picture 4:

The prince had left the imperial palace,settled down in the forest, and sat under the tree in meditation. He took out aknife and shaved his hair wishing all the worries to go away with the hair.When the king got this news, he sent rector and courtiers there to find theprince. They persuaded him going back to the palace, but the prince was stickto being a Buddha monk. So finally, five of them stayed with the prince to takecare of him and the rest went to the palace.

Picture 5:

The prince had practice Buddhism for sixyears. Every day he ate little food. But he did’t attain the highest state ofspiritual enlightenment. So he thought he must eat food first and practiceBuddhism. He sat down near the river and then appeared two herd girls to offerfood to him. The prince received the food and felt energetic after eating it.He returned to practice, and 49 days later, he went through all kinds oftemptations and attacks from devils and finally got perfect enlightenment. Thenhe was acclaimed the Buddha and called Sakyamuni.

Picture 6:

The Buddha wants to help others to get enlightenment,he came to the wild deer parkand found five officials who stayed there and wanted for him. He told themthere were four miseries in one’s life: birth, age, sickness and death. Theonly way to release from the miseries is to practice Buddhism. The fiveofficials then became Buddhist monks, and also got enlightenment.

Picture 7:

In the following 45 years, Buddha travelledacross centralIndiapreaching. He won a big following s and got more than 1000 disciples. Buddhatold his disciples there were 4 levels in the way to reach enlightenment. Thefirst level was to release from the worldly bounds and feel happy. The secondlevel was to hold a belief in one’s mind. The third level was to besingle-minded and gain wisdom. And the forth level was to be omniscient.

Picture 8:

In 543BC, when Sakyamuni was at 80, he gotNirvana. He lay on the bed with his head towards the north and feet towards thesouth, face to the west, his disciples around him. After Sakyamuni died, hisrelics were sent to the countries all over the world, and the hair remains fromSakyamuni found in Leifeng pagoda is one of them.