The DAQIN PAGODA (大秦塔) is a Buddhist pagoda in Zhouzhi County
of Xi\'an (formerly Chang\'an ),
Shaanxi Province, China, located
about two kilometres to the west of
Louguantai temple. The pagoda has
been controversially claimed as a Nestorian Christian church from the
Tang Dynasty .
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 3 Features
* 4 Is the pagoda a Nestorian Christian relic?
* 5 See also
* 6 Notes
* 7 References
* 8 External links
Daqin is the ancient Chinese name for the
Roman Empire or, depending
on context, the
Near East , especially Syria .
Daqin Pagoda is first attested in 1064, when the Chinese poet Su
Shi visited it and wrote a well-known poem about it, "
His younger brother
Su Zhe also wrote an "echoing" poem referring to
the monks at the temple. An earthquake severely damaged the pagoda in
1556 and it was finally abandoned. Due to the earthquake, many of the
underground chambers of the complex are no longer reachable.
The seven-storeyed octagonal brick pagoda is about 32 meters high.
Each side of the first storey measures 4.3 meters.
IS THE PAGODA A NESTORIAN CHRISTIAN RELIC?
In 2001 the pagoda was claimed by
Martin Palmer , the translator of
several popular books on Sinology, including Zhuangzi and
I Ching , as
a Nestorian Christian church from the Tang Dynasty, in his
controversial book The Jesus Sutras. According to Palmer, the church
and the monastery were built in 640 by early Nestorian missionaries.
Daqin is the name for the
Roman Empire in the early Chinese language
documents of the 1st and 2nd centuries, by the mid-9th century it was
also used to refer to the mission churches of the Syriac Christians.
Supporters of Palmer's claims have drawn attention to details which
suggest that the monastery was earlier a Christian church, including a
supposed depiction of
Jonah at the walls of
Nineveh , a nativity scene
(depiction of the birth of Jesus) and Syriac graffiti. The east-facing
orientation of the complex is also advanced as evidence of its
Christian origin since Chinese Daoist and Buddhist temple complexes
face north or south.
As a potential stimulus to the district's tourist trade, Palmer's
claims have been given wide publicity by the local authorities but
have also received approbation by Chinese academics. The exterior of
the pagoda and its surroundings were featured in the first episode of
the 2009 BBC program "A History of Christianity". The program also
featured an interview with Palmer by the presenter Professor Diarmaid
Despite the publicity they have received, Palmer's claims are
controversial, and have been dismissed by Michael Keevak, the author
of The Story of a Stele, and by David Wilmshurst, the author of The
Martyred Church: A History of the Church of the East.
* Christianity in China portal
* ^ A B
Daqin Temple Pagoda at china.org.cn
* ^ Martin Palmer, The Jesus Sutras: Rediscovering the Lost
Religion of Taoist Christianity, ISBN 0-7499-2250-8 , 2001
* ^ A B Jenkins, Philip (2008). The Lost History of Christianity:
the Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa,
and Asia – and How It Died. New York: Harper Collins. pp. 64–68.
ISBN 978-0-06-147280-0 .
* ^ Hill, John E. (2003). "The Kingdom of Da Quin". The Western
Regions according to the Hou Hanshu (2nd ed.). Retrieved 2008-11-30.
* ^ Thompson, Glen L (April 2007). "Christ on the Silk Road: The
Nestorian Christianity in Ancient China". Touchstone
Journal. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
* ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00ntrqh
* ^ Keevak, The Story of a Stele, 000; Wilmshurst, The Martyred
* Keevak, Michael, The Story of a Stele: China's Nestorian Monument
and Its Reception in the West, 1625-1916 (Hong Kong, 2008).
* Palmer, Martin, The Jesus Sutras: Discovering the Lost Scrolls of
Taoist Christianity (New York, 2001).
* Wilmshurst, David, The Martyred Church: A History of the Church of
the East (London, 2011).