Fogong Monastery, Śākyamuni Pagoda  佛宮寺釋迦塔


  • Śākyamuni Pagoda (English)
  • 釋迦塔 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 释迦塔 (Simplified Chinese)
  • Shìjiātǎ (Pinyin)
  • Shih-chia-t'a (Wade-Giles)
  • Fogongsi Shijiata (English)
  • 佛宫寺釋迦塔 (Traditional Chinese)
  • 佛宫寺释迦塔 (Simplified Chinese)
  • 應縣木塔 (Traditional Chinese)
  • Yingxian muta


  • Coordinates:
    • Lat. 39.5650166° Long. 113.1817°
  • Building Information

    The Fogongsi Pagoda (佛宮寺塔) is also known as the Sakyamuni pagoda (Shijiata 釋迦塔) or the Yingxian timber pagoda (应县木塔) and is located in Yingxian, northern Shanxi Province. It was initiated by the Liao Emperor Daozong in the second year of the Qingning reign period (1056) at the location of his grandmother’s ancestral home. The pagoda is the oldest wooden pagoda still standing in China, resisting a multitude of earthquakes and wars. The pagoda structure stands on a 3.66 meter tall, 2-tiered platform made of stone. The pagoda has a 10 meter tall finial, and reaches a total height of 67.31 meters, towering above the town surrounding it. With five octagonal stories in the diantang (殿堂) structural style, the pagoda has a mezzanine level between each story supporting porch-like timber balconies (pingzuo 平座). Each floor is created with two rings of columns connected by beams that create an inner and outer aisle (Lin 2016, 121). The timber pagoda has fifty-four types of bracketing, the largest number of different bracket types of any Liao building (Steinhardt 1994, 13). Prominent features and artifacts in the pagoda include the Sakyamuni Buddha, the Buddhas of the Four Directions, and the Vairocana and eight attendant Bodhisattvas (Shen 2001).1

    Date 1056-1095
    Dynasty Liao 916 - 1125 2

    Works Cited

    Any information without attribution has been created following the editorial guidelines.

    • 1 LIN. 2016. Performing center in a vertical rise: Multilevel pagodas in China's middle period, 121.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; STEINHARDT. 1997. Liao Architecture, 13-14.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 国家文物局. 2006. 中国文物地图集. 山西分册, 176.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; 陈. 2001. 应县木塔, 30.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record; SHEN. 2001. Realizing the Buddha's "Dharma" Body during the Mofa Period: A Study of Liao Buddhist Relic Deposits, 263-303.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record
    • 2 WILKINSON. 2000. Chinese History: A Manual, 12.Link to Zotero Bibliographic Record

    Contained in Place

    How to Cite This Entry

    Vania Sih et al., “Fogong Monastery, Śākyamuni Pagoda 佛宮寺釋迦塔 ” in Architectura Sinica last modified February 18, 2022,


    Vania Sih et al., “Fogong Monastery, Śākyamuni Pagoda 佛宮寺釋迦塔 .” In Architectura Sinica, edited by Tracy Miller. Entry published March 21, 2018.

    About this Entry

    Entry Title: Fogong Monastery, Śākyamuni Pagoda 佛宮寺釋迦塔

    Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:

    • Tracy Miller, editor, Architectura Sinica
    • Vania Sih and Tracy Miller, entry contributors, “Fogong Monastery, Śākyamuni Pagoda 佛宮寺釋迦塔

    Additional Credit:

    • Editing, proofreading, data entry and revision by Tracy Miller
    • Adding citations Melanie Lu
    • Data entry Vania Sih

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