Home China Guide Datong Attractions Yingxian Wooden Pagoda

Yingxian Wooden Pagoda

Summary

It is the only one, the largest and oldest Buddhist pagoda in the world that was totally built with wood.

Dimension

Yingxian Muta, or Yingxian Wooden Pagoda was built in 1056 during the Liao (CE 916-1125) Dynasty. Yingxian Wooden Pagoda is the oldest all-wood pagoda in China, and the highest all-wood pagoda in the world, standing at 67.31 meters tall with a base diameter of 30.27 meters, the total pagoda weighs about 7400 metric tons. By comparison, Yingxian Muta is some 30 meters higher than the famous White Pagoda in Beijing's Beihai Park, and almost 3 meters higher than the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an.

Introduction

yingxian wooden pagoda

As a masterpiece of Chinese timber construction, Yingxian Wooden Pagoda, octagonal in shape, was built without the help of a single nail, screw, or bolt. Its unique construction employs fifty-four different kinds of duogong, or bracket arms, one of the most complex examples of roof construction in China, and, indeed, in the world, and certainly the most complex example of roof construction of any building constructed during the Liao Dynasty.

Its all-wood interior staircase reveals nine floors, although the pagoda''s exterior leads the viewer to expect only five floors. In the center of the ground floor is an 11-meter high statue of sitting Sakyamuni, plump and amiable, yet exuding dignity and surrounded by six brightly colored pictures of Buddha. On the second floor is a statue of Buddha and four Bodhisattvas, while on the third floor is a statue of Buddha with four faces, each face with a piercing gaze. The four-faceted Buddha symbolizes the infinite knowledge and wisdom of Buddha, whose gaze can pierce any object, or "see through" appearances to the core, as it were. On the fourth floor is a statue of Buddha, two statues of Bodhisattva and two statues of lesser aspirants. On the fifth floor is another statue of a plump, sociable sitting Sakyamuni surrounded by four differently shaped, but exquisitely formed, Buddha statues.

There are windows on all eight sides of the pagoda, offering excellent views of the surrounding countryside. The windows also provide excellent ventilation to protect the wood from dampness and insect damage.

Travel Essentials

  • Ticket fare: 60 yuan per person
  • Opening time: 7: 00-19:00
  • Location: It is located in the village of Yingxian County in Shanxi Province, about 70 kilometers south of Datong
  • Recommended visiting time: 1 hour

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