Wenchang Pagoda & Dongpo Pavilion
In ancient China, Feng Shui (Wind Water), the art of positioning building, graves or furniture, was believed to bring positive or negative effect to the ones' life. A seven-tier hollow Wenchang Pagoda was said to bring scholarly honor and advancement in one's career in Feng Shui practice. In Wenchang Pagoda, 'Wen', written in Chinese pinyin, means knowledge while 'Chang' means prosperous; and when combined, a complex meaning: prosperous/profound knowledge is made. Due to the wish of enhancing the capability of ones' offspring, so many such structures were built nationwide. The Wenchang Pagoda in Beihai City, Guangxi Province is one such example that has been bequeathed to us today.
The Wenchang Pagoda in Beihai, also known as the Wenbi (literary talent) Pagoda, stands about three kilometers (about two miles) from Hepu County. The construction of the pagoda dates back to the year 1613 in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Just like other similar pagodas, the name was given to pray for civilized children. It is now leading the pagodas in South Guangxi Province and is helpful for people today to understand the culture and architectural mechanics in ancient times. From the top, looking southward, you will have a wonderful panoramic view of Beihai City.
This Pavilion-Style Pagoda, about 36 meters (about 118 feet) in height, is a seven-storied octagonal building. There are many small doors in accordance with the octagonal shape. Only doors facing east and west are for ventilation purpose; the rest serve as decorative artificial doors. With the body white and the corners and doors red, it looks both plain and striking simultaneously. It reduces in width from the base in six further tiers, like seven inverted lotus flowers. The flowers take on the smaller, the higher, with a dark red calabash at its pinnacle.
Situated on the campus of Hepu Normal School in Beihai City, Dongpo Pavilion was built in memory of Su Dongpo, a famous poet of the Song Dynasty (960-1127). Although Su Dongpo had lived here for just a short time, he still wrote several articles and poems to describe the life of the local people and his mood at the time. The pavilion, with its historical relics and beautiful scenery, has become a key tourist attraction.
The pavilion is a brick and wooden structure. The name Dong Po Ting (Dongpo Pavilion) is inscribed on a wooden panel hanging on the door lintel of the building. Entering the pavilion, visitors will immediately see Su Dongpo's stone portrait set in the front wall. Each of the ten poems he created is displayed to the left of the portrait. East of the pavilion is a well whose water is crystal clear and sweet. It is said that the well was dug by Su Dongpo himself and that the water had special powers. Legend has it that people who drank from the well were able to successfully pass government examinations.
In the east of the pavilion lies Dongpo Park. When you arrive here, you are greeted by a wonderful view of the park's surrounding lake. The surface of the lake sparkles in the sunlight and the weeping willows swing gently with the breeze.
Troubles like earthquakes and wars hailed down on Dongpo Pavilion, while it was still rebuilt and stands erect. It is really a miracle. Thus it is necessary to visit this pavilion and taste Su Dongpo and his poems when traveling Beihai City.
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