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Sakyamuni Pagoda, 01 An Architectural Miracle

This is a four-part series of short, 20-minute documentaries about the famous Sakyamuni Pagoda in Ying County, Shangxi Province, China, which is the tallest wooden Pagoda in the world. As I cannot make a playlist out of the films I have had to embed all four of them separately here, with an introduction to each.

The first of the films looks at the construction of the Pagoda believed to have been commissioned by a Liao Empress around 1056. At 67 metres high, it is about the size of a 20-story block of flats and not a single nail has been used in its construction. Rather it is upheld by mortise and tenon joints of different kinds, and wooden columns. It is so stable it has withstood numerous earthquakes since its construction.

The Pagoda is octagonal, and from the outside it appears to have five floors, but inside there are, in fact, nine stories to the building. There is a large Buddha Sakyamuni statue in the first hall, and it is this which gives the name to the temple. The name of the temple has changed over the years, first being called Baogong Temple, which was later changed to Foogong Temple, and it has also been known simply as The Wooden Pagoda but it is popularly known as the Sakyamuni Temple.

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