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The Twin Pagodas

The Twin Pagodas are the two pagodas most characteristic of Suzhou . They are artistic and natural as they are close at hand. These two precious pagodas lie in the Dinghui Temple Lane in the southeastern corner of the city proper of Suzhou and can be accessed by taking No. 2 and No. 4 Buses. One of them is called Clarity Dispensing Pagoda and the other Beneficence Pagoda and they are in the same form of building. Both the twin Pagodas are wooden building structure in appearance. They are octagonal in plan and have seven storeys, each with doors in four sides and straight lattices in other sides. With flat stand on top and dougong (a system of brackets inserted between the top of a column and a crossbeam, each bracket being formed of a double bow-shaped arm, called gong, which supports a block of wood, called dou, on each sides) supporting below, the eaves project and turn upwards slightly. The iron tips of the pagodas are tall and graceful and are as high as about a quarter of their bodies. There are no hollows in the center. The second storey is in the shape of octagon and the other six storeys are square. Each storey revolves an angle of 45 o from the next one in turn and they are overlapped like a plan octagon. The doors and windows of the storey above and the storey below are staggered according to the changes of internal structure. Thus, the gravity pressure on each side's base of the pagoda can be balanced.

There are many legends about the one-thousand-year-old pagodas. It is charming that the exquisite and straight Twin Pagoda look like two inserted writing brushes. There was originally a single-storey house with three rooms just like a writing brush holder with the shadows of the two pagodas reclining on its roof at sunset. And also to the east of the pagoda is a square five-storeyed bell building built in the Ming Dynasty which is exactly like a thick ink stick. So there is also a saying that “the Twin Pagodas are as writing brushes while the bell building as ink stick”. Though these are some fantastic talks, they are often dwelled upon with great relish by visitors to Suzhou.