Soon after their introduction to China stupas were absorbed by Chinese architectural styles, such as the traditional multistoreyed buildings and pavilions, and became quite different from their original structures. During the Yuan Dynasty stupas were once more brought to China, this time from Nepal and in their original style. Nepalese-style pagoda were built in great numbers in many parts of China's interior and soon became one of the most numerous types. Since this style was adopted very often by Lamaists, the pagodas were also called Lamaist dagobas or Tibetan dagobas.
The most prominent feature of the Lamaist dagoba is its hemispheric structure, like an overturned bowl, topped by a huge spire and supported by a majestic platform. The hemispheric structure was inherited from the tomb the original function of the pagoda.
Though this type of pagoda was built in great numbers only after the Yuan Dynasty, its image had appeared much earlier in the relief sculptures of the Yungang grottoes and the murals of the Dunhuang grottoes of the Northern Wei Dynasty. During the Tang Dynasty this type of pagoda was built occasionally, such as for the tomb of a monk at Foguang Temple on Mount Wutai. The White Pagoda at Guanyin Temple in Jixian County near Tianjin and the North Pagoda at Yunju Temple in Fangshan County near Beijing were built during the Liao Dynasty in a special style by erecting an inverted-bowl- style dagoba on top of a multi-eaved pagoda. Such pagodas were also built occasionally during the Kin and Yuan dynasties. These pagodas represented the transition from inverted-bowl-styled spires on pagodas to huge Lamaist dagobas of the same style.
Lamaism was introduced to china during the Tang Dynasty but was not widespread until the Yuan Dynasty. It became popular especially in Tibet. During the same period inverted-bowl-style dagobas were widely adopted by Lamaist monasteries. The oldest extant large-scale Lamaist dagoba is the White Dagoba at Beijing's Miaoying Temple. It was designed and built by a Nepalese artisan, Anika. Nepal was one of the sources of early Buddhism. The construction of dagobas on a large scale reflected the exploitation of Lamaism by the ruling class during the Yuan Dynasty to carry out ideological domination. During the Ming and Qing dynasties Lamaism continued to develop in China and more Lamaist dagobas were erected. Dagnhas, in fact, became the main style for tombs of eminent Buddhists, monks and lamas alike, so they were also called monks' tombs. The most famous Lamaist dagobas include the White Dagoba at Tayuan Temple on Wutai Mountain, the White Dagoba at Beijing's Beihai Park, and the White Dagoba at Lianxing Temple by the Slimmer West Lake in Yangzhou. Some- times a single temple has several dozen or several hundred such dagobas. Some pagodas built on vajrasanas or across roads also have such a structure on top.