The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is located in the Jianfu (Felicity) Temple at about 1.5 km outside the south gate of Xi’an. The Jianfu Temple was originally the residence of Princess Xiang Cheng, a daughter of Emperor Tai Zong (Li Shimin), which covers half of the area of Kai Huafang Lane.
The Jianfu Temple was built in 648 AD to pay homeage to the Emperor Li Zhi of Tang dynasty upon the centenary of his death by his son Emperor Rui Zong, Li Dan. Therefore, it was originally named "The Xianfu Temple (The Temple of Offering Happiness)". Six years later, the Empress Wu Zetian took the throne by deposing her son (the Emperor). In order to show her memorial of her dead husband, the Xianfu Temple was renamed the Jianfu Temple and the name still being used now.
The Jianfu Temple had been damaged and tattered and tattered because of the year-round wars in the later Tang dynasty, so the temple was moved to the southern yard (that is the Tower Yard). The present Jianfu Temple has been formed and established after the remedy and maintenance of dynasties from the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing.
The pagoda of the Jianfu Temple was built from 707 to 709 A.D (in the regin of Emperor Jing Long) and it was named after the Temple. The pagoda had originally 15 storeys, with architectural pattern of multiples of eaves being constructed by water polished blue bricks, whose shape was outstanding and beautiful. For it was built almost in the same dynasty and bear similarity to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in architecture and height, it came to be called the Small Wild Goose Pagoda.
It was recorded on Wang He’s broken stone tablets in the Ming Dynasty (1551 A.D) that in the 23rd year of the regin of Emperor Chen Hua in the Ming dynasty (1487 A.D), there happened a strong earthquake. The body of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda was split into two parts from the top to the very bottom, with about one foot in the middle of the two parts. This also indicated that in 1520 AD (the regin of Emperor Zhen De), there came another strong earthquake in Guan Zhong area (the central plain of Shaanxi Province). But oddly enough, the quake miraculously re-united the two split halves over night...... This is very rare and it amazed the local people, so they referred to the miracle as the "Magic Healing". So there is still a beautiful saying quite popular among the local people in Xi’an that it was a fairy who felt sorrow and drove two cracked halves together with a magic whip like driving a flock of sheep, when she saw the Small Wild Goose Pagoda cracked into two halves.
Many cracks have really been left on the body of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda because of the earlier earthquakes. In 1965, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda was renovated by Xi’an Municipal Government. The body of the pagoda was reinforced with steel in the middle of the 2nd, 5th, 7th, 9th and the 11th floors ect, and a lightening rod was fixed as well on the top of the pagoda.
Inside the pagoda, there is a huge iron bell dating back to the Jin Dynasty in 1192 (the 3rd year in the regin of Ming Chang). The Buddhist and monks struck the bell every morning. The sound of the bell is crisp and pleasant, spreading as far as five kilometers, hence the "Morning Bell-ring of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda" has become one of the eight scenic features in the Central Shaanxi Plain--- Chang’an. Now the Small Wild Goose Pagoda has only 13 storeys and is about 43 meters in height. The top two storeys of the pagoda were destroyed in a strong earthquake happened in the 34th year (1555 AD) of the regin of Emperor Jia Jing in the Ming Dynasty in central Shaanxi.