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Diamond-Throne Pagodas

This type of religious architecture has its origin in India and is not often seen in China. Prominent examples are the group of pagodas in Beijing's Zhenjuesi Temple, popularly known as Wutasi (the Five-Pagoda Temple) because of them, and another group of Sarira-Stupas on a diamond-throne in Huhhot, Inner Mongolia. This type of pagodas have the common feature: five smaller pagodas being built on a high and solid square base called the 'diamond-throne'. The arrangement of the five pagodas, as for instance those in Beijing, is one at the centre and one each at the four corners of the base, dedicated to the Buddhas of all quarters. The lower parts of the pagodas and the sides of the diamond-throne are carved with bas-relief images of Buddha, considered to be of high artistic value.

Recorded history tells us that, early in the Yongle reign (1403-1423) of the Ming Dynasty, a venerable monk named Bandida came from India to Beijing and presented to the Emperor five gold statues of Buddha and a plan for a diamond-throne. The emperor bestowed on him the title of 'National Master' and ordered a temple with pagodas to be built according to his plan. The resultant structure was basically after the Indian design, with some Chinese modifications. The base was enlarged to be 1.78 meters high, while the five pagodas were reduced to about 6 meters tall. Furthermore, a Chinese pavilion of glazed tiles with a round roof and double eaves was erected in the midst of the pagodas on the platform base. It became an Indian religious structure with pronounced Chinese features-an early example of the happy integration of Chinese and Indian art.

The Close-Eaved Pagoda 
The Tower Pagoda
Stupas and Pagodas
The Dagoba
Mother-and-Children Pagodas 
Forest of Pagoda

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