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Yingxian Wooden Tower, Shanxi, China (1056)


Project Location: China

Figure 1: Front view of the Sakyamuni Pagoda of Fogong Temple ( Source | Photographer: Charlie fong )
Figure 2: Different signboards on each floor of the tower ( Source )
Figure 3: Zhengde Emperor calligraphy plaque "Wonder of the World" on Pagoda of Fogong Temple ( Source | Photographer: Gisling )
Figure 4: the illustration of the tower structure ( Source )
Figure 5: Cross section of Timber Pagoda, showing the five iconic sets aligned along a vertical axial from the seat of the Śākyamuni Buddha on the first level to the head of the Vairocana Buddha under the sunken ceiling (zaojing) on the top level. ( Source | Photographer: Liu Duzhen )
Figure 6: Timber Pagoda, showing the measured perfection of the dimensions and their converging point at the third level. The width of third floor between the two exterior columns, marked in gray, was the modular unit that decided the pagoda’s height ( Source | Photographer: Chen )
Figure 7: Floor plan of the ground level of the Timber Pagoda ( Source | Photographer: Chen Mingda )
Figure 8: The wood structure inside the tower ( Source | Photographer: Harry )
Figure 9: It is the oldest wooden building in the world ( Source | Photographer: Harry )
Figure 10: There are 54 types of wooden brackets structure inside the tower ( Source | Photographer: Harry )
Figure 11: Buddhas of the Four Directions on the third level of the Timber Pagoda, around an empty center ( Source | Photographer: Chen )
Figure 12: Section of Śākyamuni statue on fourth level of the Timber Pagoda, showing the central tubular space inside that contains sutras and other treasures. ( Source )
Figure 13: Buddhist statues found within the pagoda, with the Sakyamuni Buddha at the center ( Source | Photographer: Peellden )
Figure 14: The small Buddha image painted on the lotus petal, detail of the throne of the Śākyamuni Buddha on the first level of the Timber Pagoda ( Source | Photographer: Wei-Cheng Lin )
Figure 15: The colossal Buddha mural on the southwest wall of the inner sanctum, first floor ( Source | Photographer: Wei-Cheng Lin )


Primary Material(s):

Religious Building

Related Website(s):

Significant Date(s):
11th Century

Additional Information:
The Sakyamuni Pagoda of Fogong Temple (佛宫寺释迦塔) of Ying County, Shanxi province, China, is a wooden Chinese pagoda. It is also known as the Wooden Pagoda of Ying County (应县木塔). It was constructed in 1056, during the second year of the Khitan-led Liao dynasty and was renovated and expended in 1195 during the sixth year of the Jin Dynasty. The pagoda was built by Emperor Daozong of Liao (Hongji) at the site of his grandmother's family home. The pagoda, which has survived several large earthquakes throughout the centuries, reached a level of such fame within China that it was given the generic nickname of the "Muta" (木塔).

The pagoda stands on a 4 m (13 ft) tall stone platform, has a 10 m (33 ft) tall steeple, and reaches a total height of 67.31 m (220.83 ft) tall; it is the oldest existent fully wooden pagoda still standing in China. Although it is the oldest fully wooden pagoda in China, the oldest existent densely-eaved pagoda is the 6th century Songyue Pagoda (made of bricks) and many much older stone pagodas exists in the entire North China Plain (e.g. the Zushi Pagoda of the Foguang Temple and the Four Gates Pagoda of Jinan); the oldest existent wooden buildings in China are the Buddhist temple halls found in Wutai County on the westside of the Mount Wutai, which date back to the mid Tang dynasty (618–907).

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