Pagoda Forest

Pagoda Forest-2775

The Pagoda Forest at Shaolin Temple refers to the 228 stone or brick pagodas built from 791 AD through to the Qing, and last, dynasty. It stands at the foot of Shaoshi Mountain and is one of the largest pagoda forests in China. It was named a National Scenic Spot in 1996.

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Most of the Pagoda Forest consists of stone and brick structures, ranging from one to seven stories, the tallest less than 15 meters (42 feet) high. These pagodas all carry the exact year of their construction and many carvings and inscriptions.

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They are in a variety of styles, but are mainly multi-eaved. Their shapes are varied, including polygonal, cylindrical, vase, conical and monolithic. The number of levels, or storeys, on the pagodas must be odd (from one to seven) and are based on the achievements of the Buddhist masters they were built for. The era the pagodas were built in affects the shape and the number of sides.

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Nature takes its course.

Nature takes its course.

A somewhat broader view of the site.

A somewhat broader view of the site.

One of the larger, squatter, more recent pagodas included carvings of the master’s favourite things, including a large, long, American style car (sorry, no photo!)

Chinese calligraphy is beautiful, whether on a scroll on a wall or on a memorial stone.

Chinese calligraphy is beautiful, whether on a scroll on a wall or on a memorial stone.

I wish I could read Chinese characters.

I wish I could read Chinese characters.

I got bored (happens easily…) and wandered off to take other photos, finding a colourful spider (I’ve seen the same ones in Japan) and another lovely translation.

Shaolin Temple-2788

Shaolin Temple-2792

Next Post: The Longmen Grottoes

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