Wooden Tower in Yingxian County
Wooden Tower of Yingxian County is a Sakyamuni Tower of the Fogong Temple, which locates in the Fogong Temple of Yingxian Town Shanxi Province. The tower was built in Qingning Second Year of Liao Dynasty (A.D. 1056). The tower is in the form of octagon. Seeing from the outside, it has five stories. Actually it has nine stories in total including the four hiding stories. It is 67.13 meters high. The diameter of the first floor is 30 meters.
The design of Wooden Tower of Yingxian County boldly follows the style of repeating towers with distinctive characteristics of the nation since Han Dynasty and Tang Dynasty. In building the wooden tower, the traditional architecture skills were made full use. The structure of bracket set is widely used. There are in total fifty-four varieties of bracket sets in the tower. Each bracket set has its own way of combing. Some bracket set integrates the girder, lane and mast to be a whole structure. Each storey is in the structure of octagon with the center being hollow. The design of the tower strictly abides by the scientific idea, which makes the tower in perfect form. It is as wonderful as if made by the nature. It is a building not only with the characteristics of the nation but also following the styles required by the religion. The architecture style of the wooden tower reaches the highest level among the Chinese ancient building arts. It has relatively high value of studying even if in modern time.
The tower is built on the stone base with two stories which is four meters high. The masts are built in the inside trough and the outside trough, forming a structure of double stories like the structure of sleeve. On the masts are Lan’e and Pu Bai Fang. On the foot of the mast are plinth stone and other horizontal settings. Between the inside trough and the outside trough are girders which connecting the troughs, making the double sleeves of the tower structure closely connected. Lots of slanting girders are used in the hiding stories to support the neighboring structures, which strengthen the integrity of the wooden tower structure. The tower was built more than three hundred years ago. In the times of Shun Emperor in Yuan Dynasty, the tower kept fixed during the seven days of earthquake.
There are statues on each storey of the tower. On the first floor is the Buddhist of Skayamunin, who is high and serious, and on the head of which is sunk panel, giving people a feeling that the heaven is extremely high. On the inside wall of the first floor are six pictures of Buddha, which are in appropriate proportion and brightly colorful. The flying Apsaras on the two sides of the roof above the six sculptures of Buddha are lovely, chubby and full of vigor. They are rarely excellent workings among frescoes. In the second floor, the lights are shining from all directions. One main Buddha, two Bodhisattva and two servants stand orderly, which are all vivid. On the third floor Sifang (refers to four direction) Buddha is made facing four directions. On the fifth floor, the status of Skayamuni is standing in the center with the eight main Bodhisattvas surrounding in the eight directions. The statues are ordered in the large room in the center of the tower, where there is no hiding storey, to strengthen the grandeur of the Buddha. The way in which the statuses are ordering is the model of skillful combination of the structure of the architecture and its functions.