A pagoda is the general term in the
English languagefor a tiered towerwith multiple eavescommon in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoisthouses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist, and were often located in or near temples. This term may refer to other religious structures in some countries. In Myanmarand Thailand, "pagoda" usually means the same as stupaor chaitya, while in Vietnam, "pagoda" is a more generic term referring to a place of worship. The modern pagodais an evolution of the Ancient Indian stupa, a tomb-like structure where sacred relics could be kept safe and venerated. [The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Columbia University Press ] The architectural structure of the stupa has spread across Asia, taking on many diverse forms as details specific to different regions are incorporated into the overall design.
The word is first attested for in English in the period c. 1625–35; introduced from the Portuguese "pagode", temple, from the Persian "butkada" ("but" idol + "kada" temple, dwelling.) [ Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Second Edition. Random House, New York, 1993.] Another etymology, found in many English language dictionaries, is modern English "pagoda" from Portuguese (via Dravidian), from Sanskrit "bhagavati", feminine of "bhagavat" "blessed" < "bhaga" "good fortune."
History of the Pagoda
The origin of the pagoda can be traced to the
Indian stupa(3rd century BCE). [http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/438284/pagoda#tab=active~checked%2Citems~checked&title=pagoda%20--%20Britannica%20Online%20Encyclopedia Pagoda. "Encyclopedia Britannica"] ] The stupa, a dome shaped monument, was used in India as a commemorative monument associated with storing sacred relics. The stupa emerged as a distinctive style of Indian architectureand was adopted in Southeast and East Asia, [The Evolution of Indian Stupa Architecture in East Asia/Eric Stratton. New Delhi, Vedams, 2002, viii, ISBN 81-7936-006-7] where it became prominent as a Buddhist monument used for enshrining sacred relics. The pagoda's original purpose was to house relics and sacred writings. [A World History of Architecture By Michael W. Fazio, Marian Moffett, Lawrence Wodehouse. Published 2003. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 0071417516.] This purpose was popularized due to the efforts of Buddhist missionaries, pilgrims, rulers, and ordinary devotees to seek out, distribute, and extol Buddhist relics. [The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture By John Kieschnick. Published 2003. Princeton University Press . ISBN 0691096767.]
iconographyis noticeable in Chinese pagodaas well as other East Asian pagoda architectures. The image of the Shakyamuni Buddhain the "abhaya mudra" is also noticeable in some Pagodas. Buddhist iconography can be observed throughout the pagoda symbolism. [The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture By John Kieschnick. Published 2003. Princeton University Press . ISBN 0691096767. page 83]
In an article on
Buddhistelements in Han art, Wu Hung suggests that in these tombs, Buddhist iconography was so well incorporated into native Chinese traditions that a unique system of symbolism had been developed. [The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture By John Kieschnick. Published 2003. Princeton University Press . ISBN 0691096767. page 84]
lightningstrikes because of their height. This tendency may have played a role in their perception as spiritually charged places. Many pagodas have a decorated finialat the top of the structure. The finial is designed in such a way as to have symbolic meaning within Buddhism; for example, it may include designs representing a lotus. The finial also functions as a lightning rod, and thus helps to both attract lightning and protect the pagoda from lightning damage. Early pagodas were constructed out of wood, but steadily progressed to sturdier materials, which helped protect against fires and rot.
Pagodas traditionally have an odd number of floors, a famous exception being the eighteenth century pagoda "folly" designed by Sir William Chambers at Kew Gardens in London.
Land of Pagodas
Myanmar, also known as Burma, is famous for its pagoda-studded landscape, and is thus called as the Land of Pagodas. The Shwedagon Pagoda and the Pagodas of Bagan are amongst the most famous and reverred pagodas in the world.
ome famous pagodas
Shwedagon Pagodain Yangon, Myanmar
* Nyatopol- Five storied Pagoda,
Chùa Một Cột- One Pillar Pagoda, Hanoi, Vietnam, is an icon of Vietnamese culture.
Xumi Pagodaat Zhengding, Hebei, China, built in 636.
Miruksa Temple Pagodaat Iksan of Chollabuk-do province in the Republic of Korea, a Baekjepagoda mid 7th century.
Chùa Cầu- Bridge Pagoda, Hoi An, Quang Nam, Vietnam.
Chùa Ấn Quang, a meeting place for Vietnamese Buddhist leaders in Ho Chi Minh City, and site of the Institute for DharmaPropagation.
Daqin Pagodain China, built in 640 by early Christians.
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, built in Xi'an, China in 652.
Small Wild Goose Pagoda, built in Xi'an, China in 709.
Lingxiao Pagodaat Zhengding, Hebei, China, built in 1045.
Beisi Pagodaat Suzhou, Jiangsu, China, built in 1162.
Tō-ji, the tallest wooden structure in Japan.
*The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, a wonder of the medieval world in
Pha That Luang, the holiest wat, pagoda, and stupa in Laos, in Vientiane
Iron Pagodaof Kaifeng, built in 1049 AD, during the Chinese Song Dynasty.
Liuhe Pagodaof Hangzhou, built in 1165 AD, during the Chinese Song Dynasty.
Phra Pathom Chedithe highest pagoda or stupa in the world Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.
Global Pagoda, the largest unsupported domed stone structure in the world.
Pizhi Pagodaof Lingyan Temple, Shandong, China, 11th century.
*Changzhou Tianning Baota, the highest pagoda in the world since its completion in April 2007, stands at 153.7m in height.
Songyue Pagodaon Mount Song, Henan, China, built in 523.
Huqiu Tower, built in 961 outside of Suzhou, China.
Pagoda of Fugong Temple, built in 1056 in Ying County, Shanxi, China.
skyscrapers that evoke pagoda architecture:
*The Bombardier Pagoda, or Pagoda Tower, at the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This 13-story pagoda is the famous structure used as the control tower for races at the famed speedway, such as the Indy 500. The pagoda has gone through several transformations since it was first build in 1913. [ [http://www.indy500.com/content/History/Indianapolis_500_Traditions/16 Indianapolis 500 Traditions :: Official site of the Indianapolis 500 ] ]
Petronas Twin Towersin Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, record setters for height (452m) in 1998.
Taipei 101in Taiwan, record setter for height (508m) in 2004 and currently the world's tallest completed building.
*AutomobileThe term Pagoda has been used as a nickname for the Mercedes Benz, w113 body style. These are the 230SL, the 250SL and the 280SL produced for model years 1964 through 1971. The nickname Pagoda is used because the concave roof line of the hard top resembles a pagoda.
Architecture of the Song Dynasty
*The Impact of Buddhism on Chinese Material Culture By John Kieschnick. Published 2003. Princeton University Press . ISBN 0691096767.
*A World History of Architecture By Michael W. Fazio, Marian Moffett, Lawrence Wodehouse. Published 2003. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 0071417516.
*Psycho-cosmic symbolism of the Buddhist stupa, AB Govinda, 1976, Emeryville, California. Dharma Publications.
* http://www.orientalarchitecture.com/ Tiger Hill Pagoda (Suzhou)
* [http://www.ruleworks.co.uk/Ayrshire/culzean-pagoda.asp Culzean Pagoda (Monkey House) - the only stone built pagoda in Britain]
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