Dule Monastery, Guanyin Pavilion  獨樂寺觀音閣



  • Guanyin Pavilion (English)
  • 觀音閣 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 观音阁 (Simplified Chinese)
  • Guānyīngé (Pinyin)
  • Kuan-yin-ko (Wade-Giles)
  • Dulesi Guanyinge (English)
  • 獨樂寺觀音閣 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 独乐寺观音阁 (Simplified Chinese)


  • Coordinates:
    • Lat. 40.045342° Long. 117.402597°
  • Site Information

    Rebuilt in 984 during the second year of the Liao Tonghe reign period (遼統和二年), the Guanyin Pavilion is among the oldest extant ge 閣 in China (Chen 2007, 2). The pavilion exhibits three plaques with inscriptions. “觀音之閣” was traditionally attributed to Li Bai 李白 (701-762), a poet from the Tang dynasty (Liang 1932). “普門香界” and “具足圓成” were traditionally attributed to Emperor Qianlong 乾隆 from the Qing dynasty (Liang 1932).1

    Categorized as a palatial hall (diantang 殿堂), the pavilion reflects the ideal timber proportions as expressed in the Yingzaofashi 營造法式 (Steinhardt 1997, 48). The pavilion is five bays wide by four bays deep, and is crowned with a hip-and-gable roof (xieshanding 歇山頂). It has three floors, and it is about twenty-three meters in height. Interestingly, the pavilion exterior shows only two floors, resulting from a hidden mezzanine creating the second level (Liang 1932).2

    Similar dougong structures such as corner bracket sets 轉角鋪作, pillar-tops 柱頭鋪作, and intercolumnar bracket sets 補間鋪作 are shown in both the pavilion and the Mountain Gate. Located at the center of the pavilion is a Buddhist altar 佛壇 (Chen 2007, 11). The altar is surrounded by two circuits of columns, twenty-eight in total. The columns enclose an empty central space for the enshrinement of the almost sixteen-meter high sculpture of Guanyin clay statue and the three-meter tall clay sculptures of two assistant bodhisattvas (Chen 2007, 11). The Guanyin is an example of the eleven-faced Avalokiteśvara 十一面觀音. Observers only can see the eleven heads when they reach the third floor. Above the statue’s head is an octagonal caisson ceiling, known as zaojing 藻井.3

    Date 984
    Dynasty Liao 916 - 1125 4

    External Links

    Works Cited

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

    • 1 陈. 2007. 蓟县独乐寺, 2.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 梁. 1932. 薊縣獨樂寺觀音閣山門考Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 2 STEINHARDT. 1997. Liao Architecture, 48.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 梁. 1932. 薊縣獨樂寺觀音閣山門考Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 3 陈. 2007. 蓟县独乐寺, 11.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 4 WILKINSON. 2000. Chinese History: A Manual, 12.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

    Contained in Place

    How to Cite This Entry

    HUANG Danni 黄聃婗, “Dule Monastery, Guanyin Pavilion 獨樂寺觀音閣 ” in Architectura Sinica last modified July 5, 2021, https://architecturasinica.org/place/000024c.


    HUANG Danni 黄聃婗, “Dule Monastery, Guanyin Pavilion 獨樂寺觀音閣 .” In Architectura Sinica, edited by . Entry published March 21, 2018. https://architecturasinica.org/place/000024c.

    About this Entry

    Entry Title: Dule Monastery, Guanyin Pavilion 獨樂寺觀音閣

    Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

    • HUANG Danni 黄聃婗, entry contributor, “Dule Monastery, Guanyin Pavilion 獨樂寺觀音閣

    Additional Credit:

    • Data entry, adding notes, links and citations 2021 by HUANG Danni 黄聃婗
    • Editing and proof correction Tracy Miller
    • Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda
    • adding external links 2021 by HUANG Danni 黄聃婗

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