China also has quite a number of pavilion-style pagodas. Their characteristics are:
1. The main body of the pagoda is similar to a pavilion, square, hexagonal, octagonal or round in shape.
2. They have one storey only, sometimes with a little pavilion attached to the top.
3. A statue of Buddha or a statue of a tomb occupant is placed in the pagoda.
Pavilion-style pagodas appeared quite early in China, about the same time as multistoreyed pagodas, because pavilion was a popular style in Chinese traditional architecture. As soon as stupas were introduced to China from India, they were combined with pavilions. Only emperors, high officials and extremely wealthy people could afford to build impressive multistoreyed pagodas. They were beyond the common people. Since everyone who believed in Buddhism wanted to show his faith by building pagodas, small pavilion-style pagodas became very popular among ordinary people. Records about the construction of pagodas by ordinary people as well as by royal families occur in Luo Yang Qie Lan Ji (Stories About Buddhist Temples in Luoyang). The record of White Horse Temple said, "When Emperor Ming died [in 75], a temple was built on his tomb. Since then, pagodas have also been built on the tombs of ordinary people." These pagodas, obviously, were small, pavilion-style ones.
As pavilion-style pagodas were simple and inexpensive, many prominent Buddhists and monks began to use them as their tomb pagodas. Famous pavilion-style pagodas include the Four-Door Pagoda in Licheng, the Huichong Pagoda at Lingyan Temple in Changqing and the Sanzang Pagoda in Shandong Province, the Xiuding Temple Pagoda in Anyang and the tomb pagoda of Monk Jingzang at Huishan Temple in Dengfeng in Henan Province, Zushi Pagoda (in memory of the founder of Buddhism) at Foguang Temple on Mount Wutai, the tomb pagoda of Monk Fanzhou in Anyi and the tomb pagoda of Minghui in Shanxi Province. After the Song Dynasty ornamental pagodas and inverted-bowl- shaped Lamaist pagodas became more popular in China and pavilion-style pagodas began to decline. Many Buddhist monks' tombs adopted the Lamaist style.
Most extant pagodas of pavilion style are made of bricks and stones. Few wooden pagodas of this kind built in the early period have survived. A valuable example is the Song Dynasty one now standing in front of the Dunhuang grottoes. At the Yungang grottoes in Shanxi, most of the pavilion-style pagodas of the Northern Wei Dynasty are square, typical of the traditional Chinese pavilion plus a spire on top. Images of pavilion-style pagodas of the Northern, Sui and Tang dynasties were depicted in murals in the Dunhuang grottoes. The main part of these pagodas was a circular, square or hexagonal pavilion made of wood. A spire with dish-shaped ornaments was attached to each. The round-pavilion pagoda in one of the murals, believed to belong to the Northern Wei Dynasty, is connected to the story of Sakyamuni sacrificing his own life to save a hungry tiger. The pagoda has a dome-shaped structure decorated with five layers of discs and a spire topped by a precious bead. It has retained many characteristics of the original Indian pagodas.