Songyuansi Temple Pagoda
Songyuanmiao temple pagoda, located in Songyuansi temple, is built in memory of Sakyamuni Buddha, founder of Buddhism. Among the only remainings of Songyuanmiao temple, Daxiongbaodian temple, Jialandian temple, Liuzudian temple and Songyuansi temple pagoda, Songyuanmiao temple pagoda is the most significant building of highest architectural and tourism values in the temple. Songyuanmiao temple pagoda, built during the rule of King Xiaoming of Northern Wei Dynasty (520 A.D. – 524 A.D.) with a history of more than 1400 years is the first pagoda in Songshan and the oldest existing pagoda in China. With employment of principles of geology, geometry, physics and chemistry, the pagoda is a rare relic in history of world’s ancient architecture in perspective of both architecture and constructional techniques. It has been included in the first group of key national protection relics in 1961. The pagoda, of 40 meters in height and having 15 floors is composed of four parts, underground palace, tower base, tower body and top decorations. Judging from appearance, the lower half of the pagoda is tall, robust and spectacular and the middle part is narrow but gentle with eave decorations. The combination of gentle eaves and spectacular body leaves an impression of robust but light pagoda. Songyuanmiao pagoda is the first Chinese pagoda ever to take para-curve outline, which has been adopted by later pagodas and influencing future pagoda architecture for thousand years. In addition, the pagoda is China’s earliest ancient pagoda taking cylinder structure and dodecagonal plane, a design that has been adopted by modern high rising buildings. Shanghai Jinmao edifice is designed based upon the cylinder structural design of Songyuanmiao temple pagoda. With regard to constructional materials, Songyuansi temple pagoda is surprisingly made by the clay combination of mud and glutinous rice fluid. Songyuansi temple pagoda has weathered through thousand years and it is no surprise that it is regarded as a great work of art by eminent architect Liang Sicheng.