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Enlightening #MicroExploration

Baitasi – White Pagoda Temple

Officially, the temple is called the Miaoying Si, but everyone uses Baita Si, calling it the temple of the White Pagoda… for obvious reasons.

The eponymous white pagoda, if not all of the temple, is among the oldest in Beijing; it was constructed during the early days of the Yuan dynasty, when the Mongols had only just conquered China and decided to make Beijing their capital (referred to as Yuan Dadu).

The pagoda regularly suffered damages in earthquakes (and probably not only those); when I first went exploring the Buddhist temples of Beijing, it was once again in scaffolding for restauration and the temple area was closed.

A few years later, it was possible to visit again, and I had a chance for a quick look inside.

If the pagoda looks more like a building one would expect somewhere in the Himalayas, there’s good reason for that. The Mongols had their relationship with Tibetan Buddhism, and for this construction, they employed one of their court artisans and architects, A-ni-ge.

The name is rendered in a few different names, but for good reason: This Anige (Aniko, whatever) came from Nepal. In the restored temple grounds, just before the area of the pagoda, a statue of him was erected:

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