Wooden Pagoda in Yingxian County

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Yingxian Wooden Pagoda

The real name of the pagoda is Sakyamuni Pagoda of Fogong Temple in Yingxian County. Since it was built completely of timber, it has been known as the Wooden Pagoda of Yingxian County (应县木塔). Standing 67.31 m high, it is the only extant large wooden pagoda in China and also the tallest of all ancient wooden structures of the world. The pagoda was built in 1056 during the Liao Dynasty.

Around the upper edge and at the corners of the platform there are sculptures of crawling lions whose simple and unsophisticated style belonging to the Liao Dynasty. The exterior of the pagoda is divided into five levels, but there are actually nine levels in the interior, including four built-in storeys. The diameter of the octagonal first storey is 30.27 m.

For nearly a thousand years, the wooden pagoda has withstood numerous strong earthquakes. During the repair work in 1974, a number of important and valuable cultural relics were found in the pagoda, including a picture of medicinal herbs, and Buddhist scriptures. The scripture scrolls found include both hand-written and block-printed ones; some of them are more than 30 m long when spread out and date back to as early as 990, 1003 or 1071.