They are actually mis-named, according to my Xi’an guide who was fastidious about English. “It was a poor translation! It should be Wild Swan Pagodas” he said, and I agree. Goose is not nearly as elegant a word as swan, and this temple complex in Xi’an is certainly elegant, and more! Both the Big and the Small Wild Goose Pavilions are in the center of Xi’an, and I started with the Big Wild Goose Pavilion.
The elegant outlines of the pagoda were just the beginning.
Peering inside reveals serene statues and timeless relics.
But as I leaned on the doorframe for this photo, I discovered a whole world of detail that the golden statue seemed to overwhelm.
And then I could see this incredible brasswork , with celestial themes.
I don’t recall seeing them anywhere else. But the fine work on the beams and ceilings was familiar.
There was something of beauty to admire at every turn!
I lingered to watch people and to light some “gratitude” incense to express my appreciation for the wonders of Wild Goose.
With my guide, I walked around the pagoda’s beautiful yards.
And then I discovered another temple behind the pagoda. It was breath-taking in its lines and adornments – so different from the pagoda.
The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is almost overwhelming. I needed frequent rest stops to take it all in, and I was frequently entertained by people and pass-times going on oblivious to me and my camera – people randomly dancing to their own tunes, impatient children, a fellow painting poetry with water, young people costumed for the past and texting into the future, one or two foreigners like me.
Hungry, I found this just outside the giant Wild Goose square. I resisted and I regret it. Who else has eaten the First Noodle Under the Sun???
There is a LOT of walking at the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, but I really wanted to see the Small Wild Goose Pagoda to make comparisons. So off we went.
The smaller pagoda is set in a more graceful park of pathways, arching trees, and… It seems to replicate the bigger pagoda, but it is not as overwhelming or as busy.
I found myself drawn into a sweet set of shops promoting the arts and culture in Xi’an – print making, paper puppetry, leather work, and much more that I wanted to buy!
The setting was more causal and more relaxing at the Small Wild Goose Pagoda.
Wild Geese – and Swans – migrate each year, great V-formations filling a primal need for their alternate homes. Like a wild bird guided by the moon and the seasons, I know I will return to Xi’an and the Wild Goose Pagodas.