Tag Archives: unified silla

Three-story Stone Pagoda of Tongdosa Temple, Yangsan.

  • Designation: Treasure No. 1471
  • Period: Unified Silla Period
  • Location: 108, Tongdosa-ro, Habuk-myeon, Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do

It is the Three-story Stone Pagoda of Tongdosa Temple, Yangsan. It is located in the first yard of Tongdosa Temple. Three-story body stands of the single-tiered base. It is a large pagoda with a height of 3.9 m. Instead of pillar, eye designs were carved on all sides of the lower-tiered base. Pillars were carved on the upper-tiered base. Considering the style of the pagoda, it is estimated to have been built in the end of the unified Silla period.

Tongdosa Temple is one of the three major temples in Korea. This temple is a representative Temple which preserves the sarira of Buddha. It was built in the year of Silla Dynasty. The name ‘tongdo’ means one that cultivated the religious sense through the stairs and one that works the salvation of all creatures.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThree-story Stone Pagoda of Tongdosa Temple, Yangsan. It’s a three-story stone pagoda with  a height of 3.9 m.

Instead of pillar, eye designs were carved on all sides of the lower-tiered base.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThe 1st area of the Tongdosa Temple where this pagoda is located. There are three buddha hall in this area.

Located in front of the geungnakjeon, this three story stone pagoda stands on top of four layers of well-polished large stones upon which was built a bi-level stone foundation, being representative of Unified Silla architecture. Columns are engraved at the corners of the upper foundation, with supporting columns in between in imitation of wooden architecture. In addition, on all sides of the lower foundation are carved eye designs that represent elephant eyes. These characteristics are reflective of pagoda ornamentation during the end of Unified Silla, namely after the 9th century, and are important details for the three-story pagoda body itself, there are no special features outside of the engraved columns on the corners, and the covering stone over the four layer base is also reflective of this period’s architecture. The uppermost spire above it. However, the ornamental spire has eroded with time. Judging from its present condition, this pagoda appears to date back to either the late Unified Silla or the early Goreo Period. When this pagoda was dismantled and restored in 1987, a white bowl was discovered in the uppermost layer of the base which suggested that this pagoda was most likely erected during the Jeseon dynasty. Also, in the earth underneath the lower base, two small gold buddha figures and a bronze spoon were discovered. These relics are currently on display at the Seongbo Museum of this temple. It is believed that these Buddha figures and other relics were either buried in the ground to suppress bad energy while laying the foundation for the pagoda or played a part in the various rituals carried.  (Cultural Heritage Administration, 2008)


  1. Cultural Heritage Administration, 2017