First sight of the Pagoda
The Jingshan
Revisiting TianNing Temple : In November 2004, in expectation of the official re-opening of this most ancient of Buddhist Temples, the China Report Staff payed another visit to TianNing Temple and its magnificent Stone Pagoda. The following 4 pages comprise a full report of our eventful visit, giving the reader a full walk through of the Temple grounds, including the remaining
Temple buildings now
restored, and a walk
around the 1119 AD Tower
Pagoda detailing most of its
still original and very lifelike
stone carved details, statues
and reliefs.
Arriving once more at  Guang'AnMen BeiBinheLu : We turn into the hutong via this unnamed street, which is not even mentioned on detailed maps of Beijing. Never mind that ! You can't miss the Tower by now. If you really would like to be sure - go further down South to connect with TianNing Si qian jie', which is the offcial route to the Temple. We personally prefer this shorter route leading directly into the Hutong and the preferred athmosphere.
As it was intended ! As the original construction of this stone pagoda tower in 1119 AD followed not long after the end of the era of the wooden pagoda, the designers choose to use traditional building methods directly derived from the method of constructing a wooden pagoda. All building blocks -pillars, beams, arches, doors, windows and rims of eaves- are copied, but not made of wood, but of brick ! As such the art of creating multi-layered imitation wooden pagodas, of which Tian Ning Pagoda is the finest example in China, reached its highpoints during the Liao Dynasty (1125-1234 AD). Other fine examples of this style are small Goose Pagoda of Xian,
When a severe earthquake
hit Beijing in 1976 Tian Ning
Tower's pinnacle, the
massive crowning pearl, came thundering down. The area of Beijing most severely hit lay around Qianhai and Houhai Lakes,  with a large area of hutong destroyed and/or damaged. As described in this website and in the book "Inside China Today", Behai Park's magnificent Bai Ta (White Dagoba) was severely damaged, as was the nearby home of Ma Haide (Dr. George Hatem), which is not our story. Tian Ning Temple escaped reasonably unscathed, with the Tower minus crowning Pearl intact. And so the ancient Stone Tower lived on to make even more history.
This page was last updated on: June 16, 2017
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TianNing Temple Tower as seen from the corner of  ...
Looking up to this awesome 13 story Pagoda Tower, with all its intricate details and "carpentry". Brick not Wood, or .. is it ??
The Best Chinese Book on Pagodas translated to English !
Source Book "Historic Chinese Pagoda's"
( available from our Online Store )
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March on towards the West while enjoying this much quieter street in full view of the Pagoda Towers' Eastern flank. With every step the interesting details of the Tower with its huge symbolic Pearl atop become more visible. Approach even closer and note how the Tower very strongly resembles a wooden Pagoda from a distance. Rich details and a construction from parts identical to the earlier used wood make it impossible to distinguish materials used.
Taking a breather from the busy traffic around TianNing Overpass while enjoying pagoda and small park.
The Best Chinese Book on Pagodas translated to English !
Source Book
"Inside China Today"
( available from our Online Store )
Around the corner from the Temple gate.
Jueshan Temple Pagoda of Linqui County, Shanxi and the oldest - Songyue Temple Pagoda on Mount Songshan, DengFeng County in
                                                Henan Province.
Two towers 8 centuries apart.
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