North Temple Pagoda

The North Temple Pagoda, or Beisi Pagoda is a Chinese pagoda located at Bao'en Temple in Suzhou. The base of the pagoda has an octagonal frame, and the tower raises nine stories in a total height of 76 m. It is said to have first been constructed during the Three Kingdoms period by the order of Sun Quan, the king of Wu, who prayed for the happiness of his mother. The extant pagoda was constructed between 1131 and 1162 during the Southern Song Dynasty. The pagoda was once eleven stories tall, but was damaged and reduced to nine stories. Its double eaves and flying corners are similar to that of the Liuhe Pagoda found in Hangzhou. Its base and outside walls are made of brick, the balustrades made of stone, and the eaves and banisters encircling the structure are made of wood.

North Temple Pagoda Building Suzhou

The patronage and construction for the Song era pagoda was headed by the Buddhist monk Dayuan. However, the pagoda was burnt down by fire towards the end of the Song Dynasty and rebuilt during the Ming Dyansty (1368-1644).

The octagonal, nine-storey pagoda, 76 meters high, was built of brick and wood. The base and outside walls were made of brick, and the foundation and balustrades were made of stone. Each storey has encircling eaves, balconies and banisters, all made of wood. The balconies are supported by brackets. The eaves around the first storey of the pagoda project quite extensively over the corridor below. Since each storey is smaller than the one below, the whole structure, with its upturned eaves, is an elegant, narrow, pyramidal shape. Inside the pagoda staircases reach the upper levees. The interior of each storey is spacious. The steeple, standing lofty and graceful on top of the pagoda, is made of metal. To make the steeple strong and stable, the huge spike in the middle was firmly planted through the eighth and ninth levels of the pagoda.

During the modern repairs of the pagoda in 1960 and 1975, Chinese artifacts were found within the steeple, including a copper turtle and statues of the Buddha. The latest restoration of the pagoda was in 2006.

North Temple Pagoda Suzhou

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