Lofty legends: 14 ancient Chinese pagodas with distinctive styles

Feihong Pagoda at the Guangsheng Temple, Hongtong county, Shanxi province

Updated: Apr 13, 2022 Print
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The Feihong (literary, flying rainbow) Pagoda is located at the Guangsheng Temple in Hongtong county of North China’s Shanxi province. It was built at the site of the Ashoka Stupa constructed in 141. The Feihong Pagoda was completed in 1527 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and adorned with glazed tiles in 1622.

An upward view of the Feihong Pagoda at the Guangsheng Temple [Photo/IC]

Standing at a height of over 47 meters, the pagoda is made of bricks and has 13 stories. It has an octagonal circumference with a hip-and-gabled roof. It presents a pyramid-like profile. Above the second floor the pagoda is coated with engraved glazed tiles in the five colors of blue, green, yellow, white and black. Glazed pottery Buddhist statues and architectural components imitating wooden structures decorate the pagoda from the third to the tenth stories.

The exterior of the pagoda on the second floor and above is decorated with glazed imitation wood components. Under the eaves there are various decorations including carved panels and hanging lotus columns, as well as glazed pottery sculptures of buildings, Buddhist niches, flowers, animals and figures, all creatively designed and delicately made.

A photo of the detailed glazed artwork decorating the Feihong Pagoda [Photo/VCG]

The pagoda is a paragon of the superb firing skills commanded by Shanxi craftsmen. It is truly an acme of China’s glazed-tile pagodas.


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