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Cishou Pagoda


Beautiful View of Cishou Pagoda

Cishou Pagoda ,located in Beijing’s western suburbs, was originally named Yong’anwanshou Pagoda (永安万寿塔 Pagoda of Lasting Peace and Longevity).Later it was called Cishou Pagoda (慈寿塔 Pagoda of Benevolence and Longevity) .

Cishou Temple was built in 1576 during the Ming Dynasty by decree of Empress Dowager Li, mother of Emperor Zhuyi. It was allegedly an imitation of the pagoda at Tianning Temple outside Guang’anmen, but it was built on a larger scale. The temple buildings were destroyed during the Qing Dynasty, but the pagoda remains.

ancient carve


  The brick base of the pagoda is shaped as a sumeru pedestal and is decorated with relief carvings of the Buddha, lotus petals, and other designs. The upper portion of the pagoda features carved designs of Chinese musical instruments such as the guqin. Stylistic dougong supports—commonly found in wooden Chinese architecture—are carved in between the eaves of the pagoda.


The first storey of the pagoda is majestic, typical of the multi-eaved style of the Liao and Kin dynasties. A false arch decorates the four sides facing the four directions; the other four sides have false windows. Carved on the headpiece of the arches are cloud and dragon patterns. Sculptures of vajra guardians, made of clay over wooden frames, flank the arches. The windows are decorated with little statues of seated Buddha and cloud patterns. Relief sculptures of bodhisattvas flank the windows. Eight brick columns decorated with dragon patterns stand at the corners of the pagoda. The name of the pagoda — Yong’anwanshoo Pagoda — is inscribed on the stone headpiece of the southern arch. Thirteen levels of eaves rise above the first storey. The steeple is supported by a pedestal with ornamental lotus petals and surmounted by a precious bead, resembling Tianning Temple Pagoda.

Cishou Pagoda