Xiuding Temple Pagoda
The Xiuding Temple Pagoda, also known as the “Tang Pagoda” or “Sansheng Pagoda,” stands in the grounds of the Xiuding Temple, 35 km northwest of Anyang. It was built in 781-794 during the Tang Dynasty.
A single-floor square stupa built with bas-relief bricks 16 meters in height, it is a rare and special piece of architectural art. Because of the orangey coating applied to its surface, it is also called “Red Pagoda.” Every face of the pagoda is decorated with bas-relief bricks. The body section alone has 3,775 bas-relief bricks in different shapes, including diamond, rectangle, triangle, pentangle as well as lines and curves forming 76 designs in total. Moreover, there are four “U”-shaped corner pillars decorated with round flower patterns beside each of which are two side pillars entwined by dragons. The eave rises at the edge, forming a canopy. The pinnacle ornament is in the shape of a calabash and the whole pagoda, when seen from afar, looks like a well-decorated square sedan-chair.
The bas-relief bricks are carved with such motifs as devarajas, warriors, musicians, flying apsaras, dragons, wild geese, lions, elephants, canopies, flowers and arches, as well as patriarchs, boys, maids of Daoist legend. There are also black dragons and white tigers from Chinese tradition. Such a combination of images of various religions is unique in early Buddhist carvings and decorations.