Architectura Sinica

Jianfu Monastery  薦福寺


  • Jianfu Monastery (English)
  • Jianfusi (Pinyin)
  • 薦福寺 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 荐福寺 (Simplified Chinese)
  • Chien-fu-ssu (Wade-Giles)
  • Da Xianfu Monastery (Pinyin)
  • 大獻福寺 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 大献福寺 (Simplified Chinese)


陕西省西安市 Xi'an, Shaanxi
  • China
  • Coordinates:
    • Lat. 34.238323° Long. 108.937320°
  • Site Information

    Jianfu Monastery is located in the Beilin District of Xi’an and contains artifacts from the Tang, Ming, and Qing dynasties. Converted from a courtly residence at the beginning of the Tang Wenming reign period (684) it was originally named Da Xianfu Monastery and was contained within the Kaihuafang 開化坊 of Tang dynasty Chang'an. In the first year of the Tianshou reign period (690), the name was changed to Jianfu Monastery. During the Jinglong period (707-710), the Jianfu Monastery pagoda (the Small Wild Goose Pagoda 小雁塔) was established within a separate cloister in Anrenfang 安仁坊, south of the monastery. At the end of the Tang Dynasty, the monastery was destroyed by wars, but the tower remained. In the Song Dynasty, the pagoda cloister was renamed Shengrongyuan 聖容院. From the Ming and Qing dynasties until today the pagoda cloister itself was considered to be Jianfu Monastery.1

    The contemporary monastery is oriented north-south, facing south, and covers an of about 35,300 square meters. Except for the Tang dynasty Small Wild Goose Pagoda, the buildings were all built in the Ming and Qing Dynasties or in modern times. The main buildings are mostly clustered between the South Mountain Gate and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda in the north. From the South Mountain Gate to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, the layout of buildings along the central axis retains that of the Ming Zhengtong period (1436-1450) renovation. North of the Mountain Gate there are the ruins of the Celestial Kings Hall (Tianwangdian 天王殿), a three-bay, two-story Cishi Pavilion (Cishige 慈氏閣), a five-bay Mahavira Treasure Hall (Daxiong baodian 大雄寶殿), a five-bay, two-story sutra repository, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, and a three-bay, two-story Baiyi Pavilion (Baiyige 白衣閣). On either side there are a bell tower, a drum tower, auxiliary halls, stele pavilions, and new corridors. Significant historical remains include the "Stele on the Renovation of the Great Jianfusi Pagoda" (Da Jianfusi xiuta bei 大薦福寺修塔碑) from the sixth year of the Song Zhenghe reign period (1116), an iron bell from the third year of the Jin Mingchang reign period (1192), and a pictorial stele of the Jianfu Monastery dating to the fourteenth year of the Ming Zhengtong reign period (1449). Among these historical remains, the Jin dynasty iron bell is considered to be one of the most important. It is 3.5 meters high and 2.5 meters in diameter with a weight of more than 10,000 kilograms. Since 1965, a number of relics have been excavated at Jianfu Monastery, including a limestone statue of a bodhisattva from the Tang Dynasty.1

    From the time of Emperor Zhongzong (d. 716) Jianfu Monastery was also a center of sutra translation. Because the monk Yijing 義淨 (635-713) was the chief editor of the translations during this period, it was also called the "Yijing Translation Center" (Yijing yichang 義浄譯場). Other important translation centers in Tang Chang'an included those directed by Xuanzang 玄奘 (602-664) at Ci'en Monastery 慈恩寺 and by Bukong jingang 不空金剛 (Amoghavajra 705-774) at the Great Xingshan Monastery 大興善寺. Many of the sutras translated at Jianfu Monastery became an important part of the Buddhist Canon or Tripitaka.2

    Date Founded in 684
    Dynasty Tang (618-907) 1

    External Links

    Works Cited

    Any information without attribution has been created following the editorial guidelines.

    • 1 国家文物局. 1998. 中国文物地图集. 陕西分册, II:21; 120-C1.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; CHEN. 2007. Philosopher, practitioner, politician [electronic resource] : the many lives of Fazang (643-712), 168-169.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 2 王. 2014. 小雁塔:丝路文化见证之地, 2.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

    Contains artifact(s) (1)

    Date range

    How to Cite This Entry

    Tracy Miller, “Jianfu Monastery 薦福寺 ” in Architectura Sinica last modified February 26, 2022,


    Tracy Miller, “Jianfu Monastery 薦福寺 .” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published 2021-12-04-15:00.

    About this Entry

    Entry Title: Jianfu Monastery 薦福寺

    Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

    • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
    • Tracy Miller, entry contributor, “Jianfu Monastery 薦福寺

    Additional Credit:

    • Page creation by Jason Pan
    • Initial translation in 2021 by Jason Pan
    • Editing and proof correction Tracy Miller
    • Website coordination by Yuh-Fen Benda

    Copyright and License for Reuse

    Except otherwise noted, this page is © 2021-12-04-15:00.

    Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.