The Past And Present Life Of Gaozhou Baoguang Pagoda: The Second Tallest Pagoda In The Ming Dynasty, Now It Has Been Promoted To “national Security”


August 13, 2021 “Nanfang Daily” Gaozhou Window 02 Edition

“Jianshui is swirling on the left, and the peak of the pen is green; the mountain is hanging on the right, and the wild goose pagoda is inscribed.”

In the west of Gaozhou City, on the banks of the Jianjiang River, stands an ancient pagoda called Baoguang Pagoda. It was built in the fourth year of Wanli in the Ming Dynasty, 445 years ago. It is a specific historical and cultural symbol of Gaozhou and has a sacred position in the hearts of Gaozhou people.

As the second tallest tower in the Ming Dynasty in my country and the tallest pavilion-style tower in Guangdong, recently, the stone tablet of the national key cultural relics protection unit was finally erected next to the Baoguang Tower, officially revealing the new business card of Gaozhou’s first national security unit.

The town pagoda in the hearts of Gaozhou people

Gaozhou Baoguang Tower is located in Baoguang Park, Baoguang District, Gaozhou City, Maoming. The tower was built by Zhang Bangyi, the prefect of Gaozhou at that time, in the fourth year of Wanli in the Ming Dynasty (1576), and the main purpose was to control the flood.

From a close look, the Baoguang Pagoda is octagonal in shape, with a base diameter of 13.6 meters and a total height of 65.8 meters. The entrance on the ground floor adopts the imitation wood structure with four columns, three rooms and three floors with archway-style tower gates built with blue bricks. The structure of the tower body is a fold-up type in the wall, and there are spiral steps inside, which go straight to the top of the tower. The further up you go, the steeper and narrower the steps are. The width of the steps on the eighth floor is less than 40 cm. On the ninth floor, only thin people can barely pass through. The top of the tower overlooks the urban area of ​​Gaozhou.


The Baoguang Pagoda is octagonal and nine stories high. Photo by Qiu Qian

The base of the Baoguang Pagoda is the Xumi seat, and the waist part is embedded with 23 granite relief patterns such as “Yunhe Shuangfei”, “Juelu Fenghou” and “Pengcheng Wanli”, as well as the unique Gaozhou banana map. Ming Dynasty cultural signs and Gaozhou local characteristics. Each corner of the base of the tower is inlaid with a figure of Totarius of different shapes, which means that the power is infinite and the pagoda is stable. The top of the tower is octagonal and pointed, and there is a gourd-style pagoda consisting of a Xumi seat-type brake seat, cast iron raspberry, inverted lotus, pearls and copper-cast treasure gourds.

“In the old days, there were several Buddha statues in the pagoda. The bottom layer had a large Buddha statue protecting the pagoda. The existing Ming Dynasty human skin was tall and majestic. The other layers had small Buddha statues with different shapes. A building complex with a very strong religious atmosphere. Therefore, the Baoguang Pagoda is sacred in the hearts of our ancestors.” Li Zuhua, the old secretary of the Baoguang Community on the west bank of Gaozhou City, introduced to the author.

In ancient times, there were also many literati and writers who flourished in poetry when they climbed the tower, leaving a large number of poems and songs. The Poetry of Deng Baoguang Pagoda in Autumn, written by Zhang Xiao, magistrate of the Ming Dynasty, is one of the representative works. The poem says: “Futu is on the ninth level overlooking the river, taking advantage of the joy to pull out the clothes and let out the tired eyes. The strong wind blows short sleeves, the four mountains are sparsely rained and the autumn is high. The stars are half from the clear sky, and the clouds are low and floating in the distance. Looking back on the world, the smoke and trees are separated. , hesitant to fly near the clouds.” In the third year of the Daoguang period of the Qing Dynasty (1823), Lin Zhaotang, the champion of the Guiwei Division, was a pair with the boatman on the ferry before climbing the pagoda, and has been well-known to this day: “The second ferry at the head of the South Bridge is like a shuttle, crossing the middle of the river. Splendid; a tower at the end of the west bank is like a pen, writing articles from the sky.”



Exquisite carvings on the tower body. Photo by Qiu Qian

In the market, the legend about the Baoguang Pagoda is also widely spread. Some people say that when the pagoda was repaired, 100 workers went up to repair the pagoda, but only 99 people ate every day, and the remaining one was transformed by an immortal, who injected immortal energy into the pagoda, so that the pagoda could suppress the river demon. Withstanding the raging floods, the tower has been immortal for a long time. Some people say that there was an eminent monk who practiced and passed away here, the top of the tower is still enshrined with relics of eminent monks, and the bricks at the base of the tower are also made of relics, so that the people of Gaozhou can be protected from malaria for hundreds of years… Most of these legends have The mythological color is also unfounded, but it also shows the awe and admiration of the people of Gaozhou for the Baoguang Pagoda.

The Baoguang Pagoda, built along the river, is piled up with floating sand, and is eroded by several floods every year, as well as countless times of lightning strikes. According to records, in the past 445 years, Baoguang Pagoda has undergone three repairs in the ninth year of Xianfeng in the Qing Dynasty, the autumn of 1964, and the spring of 1993. It is still as solid as a rock, standing on the west bank of Jianjiang.


Under the Baoguang Pagoda, a hydrophilic plank road was built on the bank of the Jianjiang River. Photo by Che Wenda

“Gaozhou Baoguang Pagoda is the highest existing ancient pagoda in Guangdong Province. It is beautiful in shape, rich in relief content and unique, and has high value in construction skills and art.” This is Gaozhou Baoguang Pagoda being listed as a It was assessed by the expert group as a key cultural relics protection unit in Guangdong Province.

“Improving the protection level is more conducive to the protection of Gaozhou Baoguang Pagoda, providing a strong guarantee for the activation and utilization of Gaozhou Baoguang Pagoda, and also providing strong support for Gaozhou to create a national historical and cultural city, and for the creation of a national civilized city and provincial tourism. Demonstration area contributes to building blocks.” said Liao Yuan, Secretary of the Party Group and Director of Gaozhou Culture, Radio, Television, Tourism and Sports Bureau.

Inheriting the Millennium History of Gaozhou

Gaozhou is an important birthplace, prosperous place and inheritance place of “Gaoliang Culture”. In the first year of Hongwu in Ming Dynasty (1368 AD), Gaozhou Prefecture was established as the head of the four lower prefectures in Guangdong. From the Tang Dynasty to the Republic of China, Gaozhou has always been the political, economic, cultural and military center of western Guangdong.

“The No. 1 Heroine in China” Mrs. Xian, the pioneer of Lingnan Taoism Pan Maoming, the famous eunuch Gao Lishi in the Tang Dynasty, Yang Yi, the left servant of the Ministry of Industry in the late Qing Dynasty, Ding Ying, the first president of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in New China, and the famous painter Ding Yanyong, etc. All are from Gaozhou. After thousands of years of precipitation, there are more than 250 cultural sites in Gaozhou, with important intangible cultural heritage such as puppet shows, folk songs, prints, octave gongs and drums, and Madam Xian’s temple culture. It is a famous provincial historical and cultural city and a Chinese couplet culture city.


The shore is green and the water is clear, and the egrets and birds are flickering, making Gaozhou more ecological and livable. Photo by Li Riyu

Baoguang Pagoda is a rare treasure in Gaozhou’s material cultural heritage. Baoguang Pagoda’s listing as a national key cultural relic protection unit is a microcosm of Gaozhou’s active response to the provincial party committee and provincial government’s “protection, utilization and inheritance of cultural heritage”.

To vigorously promote the creative transformation and innovative development of excellent traditional culture, Gaozhou is putting more practice into practice.

“Poetry flows through Xinghua Village, and there are pictures and materials waiting for you.” Recently, Maoming, the representative of Gaozhou Bianjie Town, participated in the second rural revitalization arena in Guangdong Province, and not only won the first place in the online voting, but also won the first place in the group. out. Combining the “Old Residence of Chen Jitang” to build a rural revitalization model Xinghua Village, combining the old city Xian Tai Temple to build the old town village of Changpo Town, as well as the urban Baoguang Park, Wenbi Tower Forest Park, Burmese Eggplant Park, etc… This is a combination of Gaozhou Rural revitalization, strengthening the revitalization and utilization of cultural relics buildings, and combining the cultural heritage functions and landscape functions of cultural relics buildings with cultural exhibition tours and public service activities are Gaozhou practices.

In addition, Gaozhou completed the maintenance project of the Gaozhou People’s Hall, the renovation project of the Gaozhou Revolutionary History Museum, and the maintenance project of the old city wall. Among them, the Gaozhou Revolutionary History Museum has become one of the important positions for the study and education of the party history in Maoming and Gaozhou. On major festivals, the Gaozhou People’s Hall sings and dances, and the whole people celebrate together. The protection and utilization of this batch of cultural relics has been well received by the public.


View of Baoguang Pagoda from the temple. Photo by Zhang Jingming

Lychee Culture Festival, Longan Culture Festival, Rural Tourism Festival, Mooncake Culture Festival… Last year, Gaozhou carefully explored the red revolutionary culture, Mrs. Xian culture, Pan Maoming culture, slang culture, lychee culture, and folk culture, and hosted various cultural activities. More than 20 events have greatly enriched the cultural life of the masses and boosted economic development with cultural brands. Compiled and published “Gaozhou History and Culture Series – List of Immovable Cultural Relics”, “Gaozhou History and Culture Series – List of Movable Cultural Relics (Selected Collection)”, “Gaozhou History and Culture Series – Non-removable List”, “Gaozhou City History and Culture Series – List of Non-movable Cultural Relics” History and Culture Series – Gaozhou Folk Songs Collection, the service quality of Gaozhou Cultural Expo has been significantly improved.

Last year, Gaozhou completed the maintenance of 7 cultural relics and historic sites, and successfully declared 6 provincial cultural relics protection units. At present, Gaozhou has 55 cultural protection units at all levels, including 1 in China and 12 in the province. Gaozhou has 26 intangible cultural heritage protection lists, including 1 national-level, 3 provincial-level, 22 prefecture-level and county-level, and 41 inheritors at all levels. Cultural relics and intangible cultural heritage protection meet the quantitative requirements of national historical and cultural cities. .


Gaozhou is a famous historical and cultural city.

Puppet shows, Burmese eggplant carvings, and octave gongs and drums have passed the operation evaluation and acceptance of national and provincial intangible cultural heritage projects. Baoguang Pagoda is listed as a national key cultural relic protection unit, and it has achieved zero breakthroughs, which is of great significance to the protection and inheritance of Gaozhou’s cultural heritage.

“Next, we will take the Gaozhou Baoguang Pagoda as an example to promote the promotion of the city’s cultural relics protection units, set up the city’s cultural relics management agency, strengthen the protection and utilization of the city’s cultural relics, and strengthen the protection and activation of the city’s cultural relics at all levels. Utilize it to create a provincial-wide tourism demonstration area for our city and lay a solid foundation for applying for a national historical and cultural city.” Liao Yuan said.


Continue to write the legend of “Rising to the River” under the ancient pagoda

Jianjiang River is the mother river of Gaozhou. Gaozhou was built on water and prospered by water. In the first year of Hongwu in Ming Dynasty, Gaozhou Fuzhi moved from the old city to Maoming city. With the transfer of the political center, Maoming County (now Gaozhou City) also entered a new stage of historical development.

In the past, when land transportation was underdeveloped, shipping became the main channel for commodity transportation. Gaozhou Fucheng, located in the middle and lower reaches of Jianjiang River, runs through the city with a river and is a must for merchant ships. The Zhulan Street, Jinhua Street, Dalingyi Lane, and the streets along the river have become places for commodity distribution and trade. Even on the eve of liberation, there was an endless stream of lively scenes between merchant ships going to and from Gaocheng, Meilu and Waihai. Therefore, the west bank of Jianjiang River where the Baoguang Pagoda is located is the origin of Gaozhou’s business, and once became the main front of Gaozhou’s economic, transportation and cultural development.


Baoguang Pagoda in old photos.

Walking on the embankment of Jianjiang River, you can imagine a picture of the operation under the Baoguang Pagoda decades ago. The riverside ships come and go, the goods come ashore incessantly, the sound of ordering and checking the goods is endless, and the porters who transport the goods and the pedestrians who go shopping are intertwined on the street…

“There used to be a wharf here, and the river surface is at least wider than it is now. The store warehouses along the river have the back doors open, leading directly to the wharf. The ships that transported the goods arrived, and the unloading workers carried the goods directly into the store warehouses. You can imagine Jianjiang. The scene on both sides of the strait is so lively.” Li Zuhua said that until the 1990s, the West Bank was still the most prosperous and developed area outside the central city. Gaozhou Bus Terminal, Guangdong Provincial Gaozhou Normal School, Gaozhou Museum, Guanshan Temple and other important economic and cultural landmarks are located here.

With the development of the city, the commercial center has gradually shifted, and the West Bank has also moved from the “new center” to the “old city”. Compared with the newly emerging Chengdong New District, the Baoguang area seems to lack some vitality and vitality.


Residents are free to relax.

In recent years, Gaozhou has taken the construction of traffic roads as a breakthrough, accelerated the construction of urban road framework, accelerated the expansion and quality improvement of urban areas, set the development idea of ​​”expanding in the east, advancing in the south, extending in the north, and being excellent in the west”, and promoted the outward expansion of the city’s territory. develop. The legend of “prospering towards the river” under the Baoguang Pagoda has been written again. Baoguang New Town has become the main battlefield for the Gaozhou government to implement the development strategy of “crossing the Jianjiang River in the north ” . City living center and city business and cultural center.

Tongchuan Avenue and Phoenix Avenue have already been connected; major projects invested and constructed by brand companies such as Country Garden, Blu-ray Group, and Chuangling Group are in full swing; Yulongwan Primary School and Kaixuan Primary School are about to be completed; GPHL has settled next to Tongchuan Avenue; Traffic projects such as Guanglu, Baoduo Road and Jixiang Road are in full swing… Open the construction plan of Baoguang New City, one after another major construction projects have been completed, and a Baoguang New City that is livable and suitable for business is emerging.


The Baoguang Pagoda lights up, shining on both sides of the river. Photo by Lan Hanming


The rising Baoguang New City. Photo by Yang Zhiwei

Under the current Baoguang Pagoda, the bustling scene of the continuous flow of merchant ships has long ceased to exist. As the mother river of Gaozhou, the main significance of Jianjiang River to the people of Gaozhou has also evolved from navigation and commerce to an important symbol of ecology and culture. In Baoguang Park built on the basis of Baoguang Pagoda, children run and play, elderly people practice chess in the morning, and people live a beautiful scene.

[Written by] Qiu Qian and Yang Jianxiong

【Author】 Yang Jianxiong

[Source] Southern Newspaper Media Group Southern + Client

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