Geumsansa Temple was originally built in 600 during the Unified Silla Period and rebuilt as a grand temple by Jinpyo, a famous monk and scholar, in 776 (the second year of the reign of King Hyegong). This temple is also famous as the place where Gyeonhwon, the king and founder of Later Baekje (one of the Later Three Kingdoms of Korea), was confined in 935 in the early days of the Goryeo Dynasty.
The stone pillar (noju in Korean) lies between Daejeokgwangjeon Hall and Daejanggak Hall at Geumsansa Temple in Gimje. The original purpose of this stone pillar is unknown, but without the small sculpture of a bud on the top, it would resemble a square pedestal of the kind used to support a Buddha statue.
The stone pillar consists of a finial, a three-tiered stylobate, and a base stone. The four corners and the middle of the bottom layer of the stylobate are engraved with pillar patterns, flanked on both sides by panel decorations. The upper surface of the bottom tier and the top stone are carved with lotus petal patterns, while the middle stone is unadorned. Compared to those of the lowest tier of the stylobate, the petals of the top stone are long and slim. The stone pillar’s finial displays the typical decorative style of stone pagodas of the Unified Silla Period.
Although it is presumed that the temple was built during the Unified Silla Period, only the flagpole supports at the temple exhibit the architectural style of the time. Judging by the method of the engraving and construction style, this stone pillar might have been erected in the early Goryeo Dynasty.