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National Treasure

Stone Pagoda at Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan

익산 미륵사지 석탑 ( 益山 彌勒寺址 石塔 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification National Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Stone Pagoda at Mireuksa Temple Site, Iksan
Quantity 1 Pagoda
Designated Date 1962.12.20
Age The 7th century (Late Baekje)
Address 97, Giyang-ri, Geumma-myeon, Iksan, Jeollabuk-do

This large stone pagoda stands on the site once occupied by Mireuksa, the largest Buddhist temple of the Baekje Period. Currently, only the first six stories of the pagoda are intact, leaving some uncertainty as to its original height and the number of stories. The prevailing view is that the pagoda was probably built during the reign of King Mu (r.600-641) at the end of the Baekje Period.

This square-shaped pagoda consists of a low single-story platform like that of a wooden pagoda. Each side of the first stone support of the pagoda’s body is divided into three spaces, the middle one of which has an opening so that the pagoda can be entered from all four directions, and there is a huge square pillar at the center of its interior. The corner pillars are broad at the middle and narrow at the upper and lower parts on each side of the first stone support, and there are horizontally laid wood on an architrave and architrave on the pillar like a wooden structure. The roofstone is thin and wide, and rises a little at the four corners. From the second floor, the pagoda’s body becomes lowered, and simple in the expression of each part, and the width of the roofstone also narrows.

It is regrettable that the collapsed upper stories have been cemented, but it is none the less the oldest and largest extant stone pagoda in Korea. It is also a very valuable cultural heritage that faithfully illustrates the transition from wooden to stone pagodas.