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Wuying Pagoda

By Devik Balami at
wuying pagoda

The Wuying Pagoda is also known as the Xingfu Temple Pagoda and the Thousand Year-old Pagoda of Wuhan. This pagoda is a Buddhist pagoda located in Wuchang, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Literally, the Wuying Pagoda is called as Shadowless Pagoda. It is the oldest standing architectural feature in Wuhan and has been recorded that it was built during the final reigns of the Southern Song Dynasty.

Legends associated with the Wuying Pagoda

As according to one of the tradition, there is a dragon vein under the mountains in that area, including Mount She (Snake Mountain). It is believed that the head of the dragon was beneath the Yellow Crane Tower and the area beneath Wuying Pagoda the tail of the dragon. Therefore, for protection, the pagoda was built in order to block the dragon vein.

Another source relates that the construction of the Wuying was built on a vein of water which was connected to the Yangtze River.

There is also belief and the claim about the pagoda's lack of shadow. People claimed that the pagoda casts no shadow on the summer solstice and on the winter solstice. Some people also claim that the pagoda never casts a shadow. However, the people believe that the appearance of the shadow after the renovation of the pagoda is due to the change in location of the pagoda.

Historical accounts and current status

Origins of Wuying Pagoda

If we look at the history, the Wuying Pagoda was built during the reign of Emperor Yuan of Liang as part of the Jin'an Temple. Later during the reign of Emperor Wen of Sui, the temple was renamed as Xingfu Temple. The pagoda's name was derived from the connection to this temple.

Repeated destruction and renovations

The original pagoda was destroyed at the earlier time but it was again rebuilt in 1270 during the reign of Emperor Duzong. This information is inscribed on the inscriptions dating from that period. It has also been mentioned that some of the original artistry has been damaged and have been included new ones. After the renovation, the pagoda was equipped with the Buddhist arts. These include Buddha images, images of bodhisattvas, heavenly kings, and celestial guards.

In the 19th century, the Xingfu Temple was left in ruins due to the Taiping Rebellion. In 1953, Wuying Pagoda was located in the courtyard next to a kitchen in a residential area to the east of Mount Hong within the grounds of South Central University for Nationalities and was tilting severely. On November 15, 1956, Wuying pagoda was declared as the Major Historical and Cultural Site along with other cultural sites. Among all the cultural sites, the Wuying pagoda was the first listed and these sites are protected at the Provincial Level.

In the year 1962/1963, the pagoda was transferred from the eastern foot of Mt. Hong to Hongshan Park by the local Ministry of Culture. For the selection of new location, Professor Zhang was also involved in the project.

Current status of the Wuying Pagoda

On December 18, 2001, the Cultural Department of Wuchang completed the renovation works of the Wuying Pagoda. After the series of renovations and preservation, the Wuying Pagoda still stands in the Hongshan Park. The pagoda has eight sides and seven storey. The four-storey has the carvings of the Buddhist arts and small Buddha statues in small niches. The Wuying Pagoda is 11.25 m tall and has a diameter of 4.25 meters at the Sumeru Throne style base.

It is great news that as published on March 5, 2013, the pagoda was listed as a Major Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the National Level from the Song Dynasty.