Paper Example on Leifeng Pagoda

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  2039 Words
Date:  2022-05-21


The Leifeng Pagoda is the oldest colorful bronze pagoda in China. It is a five storey tower with eight sides, standing on Leifeng Peak of Sunset Hill to the south of West Lake, facing the Baochu Pagoda to the north. The pagoda was first built in 975 AD at the order of King Qian Chu. However, the pagoda collapsed in 1924 after several attacks on it during wars that saw it get burned down and the remaining bricks getting stolen by locals. Disrepair after these happenings led to the collapse. The site offers incredible sceneries to tourists such as the Jingci Temple, the landscapes of West Lake, and the city of Hangzhou at a distance (Qian, 2011, p.7). In the evening, the pagoda offers a picturesque scene from the green mountains being mirrored in the rippling lake. This scene is popularly referred to as 'Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow' and is one of the top ten scenes of West Lake that are counted as the major tourist attraction sceneries.

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The current Pagoda has three main parts namely the pedestal, the body part, and the top. The octagonal pagoda is 72 meters high. The two-storey pedestal measures 10 meters, the five-storey body part 46 meters, and the top is 18 meters. The body part is made up of a side length measuring 11 meters, a diameter of 28 meters, and a girth of 88 meters. The site covers a total area of 3,133 square meters. The tower has two elevators on the inside which are used to carry tourists to the top of the tower. There also are escalators which take people up from the bottom of the hill to the foot of the pagoda. These were installed during the modern renovation which has contributed greatly to the increase in the number of tourists that visit the archaeological site. There are preserves of bricks of the ancient pagoda on two of the stories, and other items that show the history of the site, and which can be seen through the glass. The bricks are stored since there was a superstition that they contained powers to protect people from illnesses and give them good luck which explains why they were stolen by locals leading to the collapse of the old pagoda. The history of the pagoda is displayed in each level of the tower. For instance, the legend of the white snake spirit is preserved in the first storey above the ground in six parts. The second storey holds the murals showing how the tower was constructed. The third storey holds poems and essays which have been written by past writers concerning the pagoda. On the fourth storey are murals on the "Top Ten Scenes of the West Lake" displayed for the people who visit the place to see. These are a major tourist attraction sceneries in the Hangzhou area. The dome holds 2002 shrines, each containing a small gilded stupa. There is also a Heavenly Palace which contains records of the renovation of the tower and the models of the new one. The roof of the tower is covered with bronze tiles resembling terracotta tiles. Under the roof hangs chimes of bronze which, when blown by the wind make melodious sounds. These items or pieces provides the fantastic feeling that tourists seek.

The Leifeng Pagoda is owned and managed by the government of China. The management and maintenance of the pagoda are conducted by the Hangzhou Administration of Gardens and Cultural Heritage which is a branch of the Hangzhou Municipal Government (Qiyu, and Shaojie, 2016, p.12). As such, the stakeholders involved in the management of the pagoda are mostly government officials and a few private individuals. These are the stakeholders of the archaeological site. They ensure that the site is always in the best condition to offer the services being sought by the tourists visiting the site. This is to say that the money collected from the tourists are handed to the municipal government and put into public use.

History of the Site

Leifeng Pagoda is associated with a touching love story between a white snake spirit and a mortal man. As the legend has it, two snakes, a blue and a white one, had acquired supernatural powers over thousands of years that allowed them to transform into beautiful ladies. The white snake was named Bai Suzhen and the blue one Xiao Qing. Bai Suzhen fell in love with a mortal man, a scholar by the name Xu Xian and they got married. However, an evil monk by the name Fa Hai did not approve of the marriage and imprisoned Xu Xian in a bid to separate them. Suzhen's efforts to rescue her husband were futile and she too was imprisoned under the Leifeng Pagoda. Driven by anger and sorrow, Xiao-Qing gathered her utmost efforts to improve her supernatural powers. Eventually, she beat the evil monk, tore down the tower, and managed to save Bai Suzhen and Xu Xian. Since then, the couple lived together happily.

The original pagoda was constructed in 977 AD by the king of Wuyue Kingdom, as a way of celebrating the pregnancy of his favorite concubine. The tower was named Huangfei Pagoda after the concubine. In the second year, however, the pagoda was destroyed by war but later repaired during the Qingyuan period between 1195 and 1200. The pagoda later collapsed in 1924 after people removed bricks from the tower following a superstition that the bricks could repel illness, exorcise evil spirits, prevent miscarriages, and promote the growth of silkworms. Before then, the tower had been attacked and burned down by pirates who invaded Hangzhou, fearing that soldiers would lay in ambush at the tower. What remained of the destruction was the bricks which were stolen by the locals. Failure to repair the tower led to the collapse. The current pagoda is built upon the remains of the old one. The construction of the current pagoda began in 2000 and was completed in October 2002.


Leifeng Pagoda is one of the major attraction sites in China. It forms one of the ten sights of West Lake alongside other sites. The modern state of the pagoda has been so upgraded such that there is an escalator to take people up the hill and save them the many stone steps. Inside the pagoda is an elevator that takes people up to the fifth floor. At every level of the pagoda, there are modern murals that depict the history of the pagoda. The pagoda can be seen from almost every vantage point from across the lake. One of the things that attract tourists to this site is the legend story associated with it; the story of the romance between a white snake that had taken the human form and a young scholar. This legend has become a major subject of several Chinese opera, films, and TV series.

The pagoda offers a breathtaking view from a vantage point. From the top, one can see the mountain mirrored in the lake, giving an amazing picturesque scene. Tourists also visit the place to pray for love and luck basing these beliefs on the romantic legend of the snake and a young scholar. Also, the belief that the old pagoda had healing powers also makes tourists to visit the place. The bricks that were used to build the original pagoda were called cangjingshi in Chinese which is to mean lection hiding stones. This name originated from the aspect of the stones having holes and this made people believe that they could protect from illness. There were around 8400 such stones in the ancient pagoda and they ended up being stolen by the locals to give them the good luck. Some of these stones are still available and are part of the remains of the old pagoda that tourists go to see. These are some of the stuff that makes people from all over the world to visit the pagoda.


Conservation as well as protection and management is the responsibility of the Hangzhou Administration of Gardens and Cultural Heritage which is a branch of the Hangzhou Municipal Government. The conservation is for both natural and cultural heritage. The history and the artefacts of the Leifeng Pagoda are preserved inside the site. The new pagoda gives priority to the protection of the ruins of the ancient pagoda. This is meant to respect the history and conserve relics (Ge, Guo, and Yue, 2013, p. 225). Inside the pagoda, there is space reserved to keep and display the historic site at the current one's base. Each storey has murals that tell the history of the pagoda. In the underground chamber are old artefacts from the ancient ruins which are stored there. Conservation of the pagoda is conducted similarly as the rest of the tourist attraction sites in the Hangzhou region. The pagoda is surrounded by forests which when cast on the water gives a picturesque scene which is one of the top-ranked sceneries in the area. The forest is conserved by being lit and being protected from entry by unauthorized persons. The area surrounding the pagoda is protected by being enclosed through the creation of boundaries in the designated areas and buffer zones such that security is enforced and the tourists who visit the area can feel safe enough.

Conservation is done according to a mixture of regular maintenance and projects as prescribed (Wang and Bramwell, 2012). This schedule applies to both the plants and buildings. Traditional plants which are part of the main views such as the peach and willow receive both daily maintenance and regular replanting.

The Controversy about the Appearance of the Rebuild Pagoda

There was a long debate by the Chinese experts on whether the Leifeng Pagoda should be rebuilt or not. The major basis of the debate was the argument that the site had great archaeological value and was also considered an ancient architectural masterpiece. Secondly, the building was said to hold the hair and skeletal remains of the founder of Buddhism. A number of Buddhist relics were unearthed from the underground chamber of the pagoda in 2001. The old pagoda had a depository of Buddhists texts and fewer visitors but the new one receives more visitors. Although the new pagoda is built with the designs of the old one, there are some modern improvements on the new one that lacked in the old one. For instance, there is an escalator taking people up the building saving the people from climbing the stone steps. There is also an elevator inside the building that takes people to the top of the building. The modern innovations that have been carried out on the pagoda are one of the reasons that the flow of the tourists visiting the place has increased.

The surrounding area around the Leifeng Pagoda has a landscape that could not accommodate construction of other types of buildings. The natural landscape is made up of forests in most of the surrounding areas. The landscape is also on a hill and people have to use stone steps to go up save for the recent developments that have seen the instalment of escalators that take the people to the building. Due to the landscape, it poses a challenge for any buildings to be constructed in the area, especially residential (Liu, Yue, and Fan, 2011, p.715). The better part is that due to its location and the landscape, elevating buildings at the center of the modern city, it is not possible to cover the pagoda and the surrounding features. The landscape is elevated and can be seen from almost every angle from the city of Hangzhou. This gives the site a great deal of value which is associated with the pagoda archaeological site as well as the other tourist attraction sites around the region.


In conclusion, the Leifeng Pagoda is an archaeological site that is one of the tourist attraction sites in the Hangzhou town in China. It has five stories. It is one of the top ten most amazing tourist attraction sites in Hangzhou. The original pagoda was built in 975 AD but later collapsed in 1924 due to war attacks and theft of the bricks by the locals following the superstition that the bricks could protect from illnesses and give luck in love. The current pagoda was constructed in 2002 and was built on top of...

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