Kaibao Monastery  開寶寺



  • Kaibao Monastery (English)
  • Kaibaosi (Pinyin)
  • 開寶寺 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 开宝寺 (Simplified Chinese)
  • Youguosi (Pinyin)
  • 佑國寺 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 佑国寺 (Simplified Chinese)
  • Shangfangsi (Pinyin)
  • 上方寺 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 上方寺 (Simplified Chinese)
  • Fengshansi (Pinyin)
  • 封禪寺 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 封禅寺 (Simplified Chinese)
  • Dujusi (Pinyin)
  • 獨居寺 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 独居寺 (Simplified Chinese)


  • Coordinates:
    • Lat. 34.81638889° Long. 114.35805556°
  • Site Information

    The Kaibao Monastery is a Buddhist monastery complex located in Kaifeng, Henan. It was initially named Duju Monastery when it was first constructed in 559 during the Northern Qi dynasty (Miller 35). In 729, the Tang emperor Xuanzong stayed at the monastery after returning from performing the Feng and Shan sacrifices at Mount Tai, thus renaming it Fengshan Monastery (Levine 88). In 970, the Song emperor Taizu (r. 960-976) renamed it Kaibao Monastery after his Kaibao reign period (968-976), in addition to rebuilding many corridors and subsidiary buildings. Expanded to contain 24 cloisters (yuan) and 280 areas (qu) to house a large number of Kaifeng monastics, the new Kaibao Monastery became one of the two largest monastery complexes in the Song capital at the time, attracting much fame and sponsorship as a result of imperial patronage (Levine 88). It was subsequently called Shangfang Monastery during the Yuan dynasty and Youguo Monastery during the Ming dynasty, and was eventually destroyed by a flood in 1841 (Zhang 93; “佑国寺塔” 80).

    The important historical artifacts extant at this site are the Iron Pagoda and a bronze Buddha statue in Jieyin Hall. The Iron Pagoda is a 13-story octagonal structure constructed in 1049 by Song Renzong (r. 1022-1063) after a prior timber pagoda was struck down by lightning (Zhang 93). Although nicknamed the Iron Pagoda, the structure actually consists of brick, with its green and brown glazed exterior exhibiting an iron-like shine (Steinhardt 178). It is the earliest and tallest example of extant Chinese architecture to utilize glazed brick, and its superior construction is considered an impressive achievement among Song dynasty pagodas, having withstood earthquakes, floods, and even artillery (Zhang 92; Cheng 226). The Jieyin bronze Buddha statue, about 5.14 meters tall and weighing 12 tons, also originates from the Song dynasty and is now situated within the Jieyin Hall built in 1986 (Zhang 95).

    開寶寺位於河南省開封市,原名獨居寺,是建於北齊559年的一座寺院(Miller 35)。 729年,唐玄宗於泰山封禪儀式歸途中留宿獨居寺,遂更名封禪寺(Levine 88)。 970年(開寶三年),宋太祖(960-976年在位)為紀念開寶年號將封禪寺改名開寶寺,並修繕寺內的多處廊道殿堂。重修後的開寶寺以24所禪院、280個區容納了開封城的大部分僧侶,並因皇家資助而名望大增,成為了當時宋朝京城規模最大的兩所寺廟之一(Levine 88)。元代改名上方寺,明代後又稱佑國寺,最終寺廟的大部分建築於1841年毀於水患(張 93; "佑國寺塔” 80)。

    開寶寺內現存的主要歷史文物有鐵塔及接引殿的一尊銅佛像。鐵塔為十三層八角建築物,因其前身木塔遭雷擊焚毀,宋仁宗(1022-1063年在位)於1049年下令按原式重建後建成(張 93)。雖稱為鐵塔,實為磚結構,因塔壁綠褐色琉璃磚呈鐵鑄狀而得此暱稱(Steinhardt 178)。鐵塔是現存中國古建築中最早、最高的琉璃磚構件建築,其精良的建造工藝也是宋朝塔建築中的翹楚,使得鐵塔能於多次地震、洪水、甚至炮火後依然屹立不倒(張92;程226)。接引銅佛像同為宋代文物,高5.14米,重約12噸,現置於1986年建成的接引殿中(張 95)。 2

    Dynasty Founded in Northern Qi 550 - 577 1

    External Links

    Works Cited

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

    • 1 WILKINSON. 2000. Chinese History: A Manual, 12.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 2 MILLER. 2016. Invoking Higher Authorities: Song Taizong's Quest for Imperial Legitimacy and its Architectural Legacy, 35.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; LEVINE. 2019. 记忆中的建筑:宋代笔记所反映的开封开宝寺塔与天清寺塔, 88.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 张. 2013. 开封佑国寺塔建筑分析, 93.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; HENAN SHENG BOWUGUAN. 1980. 佑国寺塔(“铁塔”), 80.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 程. 2018. 北宋开封铁塔的装饰艺术分析, 226.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; LEVINE. 2014. Walls and Gates, Windows and Mirrors: Urban Defences, Cultural Memory, and Security Theatre in Song Kaifeng, accessed March 11 2021.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

    Contains artifact(s) (2)

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    How to Cite This Entry

    Melanie Lu, “Kaibao Monastery 開寶寺 ” in Architectura Sinica last modified April 10, 2020, https://architecturasinica.org/place/000283.


    Melanie Lu, “Kaibao Monastery 開寶寺 .” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published April 10, 2020. https://architecturasinica.org/place/000283.

    About this Entry

    Entry Title: Kaibao Monastery 開寶寺

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    • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
    • Melanie Lu, entry contributor, “Kaibao Monastery 開寶寺

    Additional Credit:

    • Initial research 2020 by Melanie Lu
    • Editing and proof correction by Tracy Miller

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