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Mother and Children Dagoba

The 'mother-and-children pagodas' are an architectural complex rarely seen in China. The best-known example is the Manfeilong White Pagodas at Damenglong in Jinghong County, a district populated by the Dai nationality in Xishuang Banna, Yunnan Province.

They were built in the year 565 of the Dai calendar (A.D. 1204) as a group ar­rangement of nine pagodas. The one in the middle is the 'mother', erect and elegant with her height of 16.29 meters. Standing around her at what would be the corners of a regular octagon are her 'children' eight smaller pagodas 9.1 meters high. The bottoms of the pagodas consist of niches containing statues of Buddha. Viewed from above, the group resembles a lotus blossom with its petals open. The pago­das have snow-white bodies and golden tips and, seen through the green foliage of trees, also look like new bamboo shoots after a rain, a familiar sight to the local people, so the Dai also call them by the pet name 'bamboo-shoot pagodas'.

Legend has it that Sakyamuni, founder of Buddhism, once came to sermonize at Damenglong and left a huge footprint, 58 cm by 85 cm, on a blue rock. In commemoration of this important event, local followers built the group of nine pagodas on the same rock where he had stood. For this association, they are held in high esteem by Buddhist circles and many pilgrims come here from different quarters to pay homage.

The Manfeilong Pagodas are noted for their peculiar shape and beautiful style, and also for the pronounced Dai flavor shown by the bas-relief carving and sculpture. They are therefore a cultural marvel in the southwestern region of the country.

The Close-Eaved Pagoda                 The Tower Pagoda

The Diamond-Throne Pagodas        Stupas and Pagodas

Mother-and-Children Pagodas         Forest of Pagoda

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