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Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion

Of all the spectacular Octagonal Pavilions in China, Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion is the one you really don’t want to miss. Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion, an important historical relic of China, is a unique Buddhist architecture used to hold religious rituals in ancient times. It’s a perfect showcase of the superb craftsmanship, innovation and religious culture of the Dai Minority. It stands atop Jingzhen hill (which accounts for its name) in Menghai County, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province.


Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion was constructed in 1701 during Qing Dynasty (the last imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912). According to a legend prevailing in Jingzhen village, Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion was erected in honor of Shakyamuni (the founder of Buddhism) by copying the octagonal shape of his golden cap. The pavilion used to serve as a meeting chamber of a Hinayana Temple. Although the original Hinayana Temple was long gone, Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion survived the test of time, standing elegantly with much of the original features and structures still presenting. In 1988, Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion was accredited as one of the key historical relics.


Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion is an octagonal wood-brick architecture which is composed of three parts: the base, the body and the roof. With numerous small mirrors and colorful glasses decorating its exterior, Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion likes a gem shining in the sun. Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion is about 21 meters high (about 68.9 feet) from the base to the roof, and has 31 walls, on which patterns like elephants, lions and tigers etc were engraved to form an art gallery.

The pavilion’s body is 2.5 meters high (about 8.2 feet), 6 meters wide (about 19.7 feet). It has four doors (east door, south door, west door and north door) which symbolize Buddhism will spread in all directions. Each door is decorated with beautifully designed pictures with a distinct ethnical characteristic. The frontispiece is vaulted with a niche above it in which is enshrined a figure of copper Buddha. Inside, there are twenty-four walls which are adorned by many magnificent gilded pictures.

The timbered roof is cone-shaped with ten-layer eaves. Each layer is composed of many small V-shaped attics supported by twelve 10-meter-high crossbeams. The size of attics decreases progressively from the bottom up. The surface of attics is covered with delicately-designed glazed tiles in the shape of fish scales. On the ridge stand many exquisite statues of small pagodas, golden chicken and phoenixes. On top of Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion are a lotus flower baldachin and a wind-bell which sings merry melodies in breeze.

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