Tiger Hill Pagoda

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Yunyan Pagoda YunYanSiPagoda.jpg
Yunyan Pagoda
The pagoda as viewed from the Tiger Hill Tiger hill.jpg
The pagoda as viewed from the Tiger Hill
Yunyan Pagoda in October 1921 Tiger Pagoda 1921.jpg
Yunyan Pagoda in October 1921

The Tiger Hill Pagoda, more officially the Yunyan Pagoda [1] (Chinese : ; pinyin : Yún yán ; Suzhou Wu: Yuin nge zy thaeh, Wu Chinese pronunciation:  [ɦʏn ŋe̞ zz̩ tʰɑʔ] or Chinese : ; pinyin : qiū ; Suzhou Wu: Hou chieu thaeh, Wu Chinese pronunciation:  [hou tɕʰʏ tʰɑʔ] ), also sometimes translated as Huqiu Tower, is a Chinese pagoda situated on Tiger Hill in Suzhou city, Jiangsu Province of Eastern China. It is nicknamed the 'Leaning Tower of China'. [1]

Chinese language family of languages

Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the Han majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.

The Suzhou dialect, also known as Suzhounese, is the variety of Chinese traditionally spoken in the city of Suzhou in Jiangsu Province, China. Suzhounese is a variety of Wu Chinese, and was traditionally considered the Wu Chinese prestige dialect. Suzhounese has a large vowel inventory and it is relatively conservative in initials by preserving voiced consonants from Middle Chinese.

Contents

History

The primary pagoda of the former Yunyan Temple, which was founded in 327 and rebuilt for the last time in 1871. The temple suffered damage in successive wars and most of the temple was destroyed during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Some elements of the temple such as the formal entrance, the Yunyan Pagoda, and several other buildings and smaller shrines have survived, and now stand as landmarks throughout Tiger Hill Park.

Yunyan Temple (Suzhou)

The Yunyan Temple or Tiger Hill Temple was a historical temple located on Tiger Hill in Suzhou, in Jiangsu province, China. The temple was founded in 327 and was last rebuilt in 1871. It has suffered damage in successive wars throughout history, and much of the temple was finally destroyed during the Second Sino-Japanese War, which ended in 1945. The grounds of the temple covered most of what is today Tiger Hill park.

Second Sino-Japanese War military conflict between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from 1937 to 1945

The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan from July 7, 1937, to September 2, 1945. It began with the Marco Polo Bridge Incident in 1937 in which a dispute between Japanese and Chinese troops escalated into a battle.

Construction of the pagoda began in 907 CE, during the later period of the Five Dynasties period, at a time when Suzhou was ruled by the Wuyue Kingdom. Construction was completed in 961 CE during the Song Dynasty. [2]

Five Dynasties period of Chinese history (907–960)

The Five Dynasties was an era of political upheaval in 10th-century China. Five states succeeded one another in the Central Plain. More than a dozen states, referred to as the Ten Kingdoms, were established elsewhere, mainly in south China.

The uppermost stories of the pagoda were built as an addition during the reign of the Chongzhen Emperor (16281644), the last emperor of the Ming Dynasty. [3]

Chongzhen Emperor emperor of the Ming Dynasty

The Chongzhen Emperor, personal name Zhu Youjian, was the 17th and last emperor of the Ming dynasty as well as the last ethnic Han to sit on the throne. "Chongzhen," the era name of his reign, means "honorable and auspicious".

Description

The Yunyan Pagoda rises to a height of 47 m (154 ft). The pagoda has seven stories and is octagonal in plan, and was built with a masonry structure designed to imitate wooden-structured pagodas prevalent at the time.

Leaning tower

In more than a thousand years the pagoda has gradually slanted due to forces of nature. Now the top and bottom of the tower vary by 2.32 meters. The entire structure weighs some 7,000,000 kilograms (15,000,000 lb), supported by internal brick columns. [3] However, the pagoda leans roughly 3 degrees due to the cracking of two supporting columns. [3]

The pagoda leans because the foundation is originally half rock and the other half is on soil. In 1957, efforts were made to stabilize the pagoda and prevent further leaning. Concrete was also pumped into the soil forming a stronger foundation.

During the reinforcement process, a stone casket containing Buddhist scriptures was found. The container had an inscription noting the completion date of the pagoda as the seventeenth day of the twelfth month of the second year of the Jianlong era (961 CE).

Present day

The Yunyan Pagoda is a designated Major National Historical and Cultural Site in Jiangsu. As of September 2010 public access to the top of the tower is no longer allowed.[ citation needed ]

Notes

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References

See also

Coordinates: 31°20′17″N120°34′35″E / 31.33806°N 120.57639°E / 31.33806; 120.57639