Jianfu Monastery, Small Wild Goose Pagoda 薦福寺小雁塔



  • Small Wild Goose Pagoda (English)
  • Xiaoyanta (Pinyin)
  • Hsiao-yen-t'a (Wade-Giles)
  • 小雁塔 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 小雁塔 (Simplified Chinese)
  • Jianfu Monastery Small Wild Goose Pagoda (English)
  • Jianfusi Xiaoyanta (Pinyin)
  • 薦福寺小雁塔 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 荐福寺小雁塔 (Simplified Chinese)
  • Jianfusi ta (Pinyin)
  • 薦福寺塔 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 荐福寺塔 (Simplified Chinese)


陕西省西安市 Beilin, Xi'an, Shaanxi
  • China
  • Coordinates:
    • Lat. 34.240757° Long. 108.937262°
  • Site Information

    The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is a 15-story compact eaves (miyan 密檐) brick pagoda. Also known as the Jianfu Monastery Pagoda, it is considered to be a representative example of early compact eaves pagodas in China. Together with the Great Wild Goose Pagoda, it is an important monument preserved from when Chang'an (modern Xi'an) was the capital of the Tang dynasty. The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built during the reign of Tang dynasty Emperor Zhongzong (r. 705–710). Earthquakes in 1487 and 1556 damaged the upper floors, and its remaining thirteen stories now rise from an 11.38 meter square first level to a height of 43.94 meters. The pagoda stands on a 3.2 meter high square base, measuring 23.38 meters a side. The tower is hollow with a single outer wall. The ground story is the tallest and the height of every story decreases progressively towards the top. Its overall profile is a gentle curve, and eaves are created to distinguish each story through layers of corbelled brick (diese 疊澀) crowned by two rows of "water chestnut" (lingjiao 菱角) shaped triangular brick dentals. The ground story has two arched doors facing south and north respectively and other stories have arched windows on north and south sides. The limestone lintel and doorframes on the ground level are carved with celestials making offerings and foliate patterns. There are small pagodas placed on either side of the arched windows from the 5th to 11th stories. Inside the pagoda each level has a wooden floor which is linked to the others by stairs of brick. Numerous inscriptions from the Tang to Qing dynasties are set into the walls. According to the line drawing carved into a stone stele from 1449, the original finial rose from a round base, and threaded through two-tiers of chattras and a pearl. From 1964-1965, the pagoda underwent extensive repairs and the foundation was excavated.1

    Date 705-710
    Dynasty Tang 618 - 907 2

    External Links

    Works Cited

    Any information without attribution has been created following the Syriaca.org editorial guidelines.

    • 1 国家文物局. 1998. 中国文物地图集. 陕西分册, II:21; 120-C1-1.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 2 崔. 2020. 世界文化遗产小雁塔的文化内涵解读, 32-34.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

    Contained in Place

    How to Cite This Entry

    Tracy Miller, “Jianfu Monastery, Small Wild Goose Pagoda 薦福寺小雁塔 ” in Architectura Sinica last modified February 26, 2022, https://architecturasinica.org/place/000296a.


    Tracy Miller, “Jianfu Monastery, Small Wild Goose Pagoda 薦福寺小雁塔 .” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published 2021-12-04-15:00. https://architecturasinica.org/place/000296a.

    About this Entry

    Entry Title: Jianfu Monastery, Small Wild Goose Pagoda 薦福寺小雁塔

    Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

    • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
    • Tracy Miller, entry contributor, “Jianfu Monastery, Small Wild Goose Pagoda 薦福寺小雁塔

    Additional Credit:

    • Page creation by Tracy Miller Jason Pan
    • Initial translation in 2021 by Jason Pan
    • Editing and proof correction Tracy Miller
    • Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda

    Copyright and License for Reuse

    Except otherwise noted, this page is © 2021-12-04-15:00.

    Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.