Brief of Leifeng Pagoda
Leifeng Pagoda is an octagonal five-storied wood-and-brick pagoda located on Sunset Hill south of West Lake. It’s the landmark of Hangzhou which is of great historical and cultural importance, and noted as one of Ten Scenes of West Lake (西湖十景), as well as has a deep connection with popular legends.
The original pagoda was erected in 975 AD during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. It was constructed at the order of Qian Chu (钱俶)---- king of Wuyue (吴越), in celebration of the birth of his son by one of his favorite concubines, Huangfei (黄妃). Therefore it was called Huangfei Pagoda(黄妃塔) at that time.
During the Ming Dynasty when Japanese pirates invaded Hangzhou, they set the whole pagoda on fire for suspecting a Chinese army of having hidden in it. The fire destroyed the pagoda’s wooden elements, leaving only the brick skeleton.
Later, superstitious people believed that the bricks of this time-honored pagoda had special magic which could prevent diseases. And they took bricks from its lower stories as a talisman which weakened the pagoda, and led to its collapse on September 25th, 1924. However, due to its great importance, it was rebuilt in 2002 according to original style and meanwhile preserved its remains at the base of the new Leifeng Pagoda. Since then it has been a popular tourist attraction.
About Leifeng Pagoda, there is this beautiful folklore worth mentioning --- Legend of the White Snake(白蛇传). It is an age-old folklore which has developed into many versions. The most popular version goes like this: The benevolent boy – Xuxian (许仙) saves a little white snake from a snake-catcher and sets it free. In order to return his favor, the white snake transforms into a girl named Bai Suzhen (白素贞) and meets Xuxian on the Broken Bridge (断桥). The two fall in love with each other instantly and get married. However, such a relationship is forbidden by the laws of nature. After Bai Suzhen gives birth to a boy, she is captured by a monk (Fahai 法海) and imprisoned in Leifeng Pagoda. Twenty years later, the gods of Heaven are moved by her son's filial piety and let the pagoda collapse. Bai Suzhen is finally freed from Leifeng Pagoda and reunites with her husband and son.