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The Fogong Temple Pagoda

The Fogong Temple Pagoda
The oldest wooden pagoda in China today is an architectural marvel by anyone’s standards.
The pagoda, traditionally a tiered tower built of stone, brick or wood, originated in historic eastern Asia. Usuallyassociated with Buddhism and used for the storing of relics and sacred writings, the pagoda’s architectural form has since been adopted by other religions and modified for secular use throughout the world.

The Sakyamuni Pagoda of Fogong Temple forms the central element in a complex of buildings erected by the Chinese Emperor Daozong in 1056. Said to have been built on the site of his family home, the emperor was a devout Buddhist and demonstrated this through the erection of this remarkable wooden, nine-storey structure. Covered with a profusion of carved and painted decoration, the pagoda is supported by 24 exterior and eight interior pillars, and roofed with highly ornate and glazed ceramic tiles.
The pagoda has needed occasional minor repairs over its lifetime and, despite surviving numerous natural disasters, the only serious threat it has faced came during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) when Japanese soldiers raked the structure with small-arms fire. Today, the Fogong Temple Pagoda is a popular tourist attraction rather than a religious site, but its cultural  significance is recognised in both China and beyond.

The Fogong Temple Pagoda, Chinese Emperor Daozong, Second Sino-Japanese War