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West Five-story Stone Pagoda of Hwaeomsa Temple, Gurye

구례 화엄사 서 오층석탑 ( 求禮 華嚴寺 西 五層石塔 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties West Five-story Stone Pagoda of Hwaeomsa Temple, Gurye
Quantity 1 pagoda
Designated Date 1963.01.21
Age Unified Silla
Address Hwaeomsa Temple 539, Hwaeomsa-ro, Masan-myeon, Gurye-gun, Jeollanam-do

This five-story stone pagoda, one of the twin pagodas, is located in the west in front of the main sanctuary of Hwaeomsa Temple. While the eastern pagoda has no sculptures, the western one is full of decoration and sculptures. This pagoda consists of the two-tier stylobate and the five-story main body. Engraved on each facet of the lower stylobate are panel decorations wherein the statues of twelve zodiacal animal deities were placed in each direction. Carved at the corners and center of the facet of the upper stylobate is a pole pattern, so the facet is divided by two. Standing statues of the Eight Guardian Warriors are carved by dividing into two facets. Each of the core stones and roof stones is composed of one stone, and the core stone for each story has small pole patterns at each corner. Carved and placed on the four facets of the core stone for the first floor are standing statues of the Four Guardian Kings. The roof stone is furnished with a five-step cornice at each story, and the eaves are horizontal. The top ornament has a two-layer prop; on top of that is a splendid bead shaped like a lotus bud. The pagoda has a form that gives a dignified impression, showing the light technique of the roof stone and the well-balanced decreasing ratio from top to bottom. In particular, it is a rare case of having the lower stylobate sculpted with twelve zodiacal animal deities in stone pagodas. The carvings shown in the upper and lower stylobates and the core stone at the first floor were carefully arranged. Especially, the engravings of twelve zodiacal animal deities and the Eight Guardian Warriors and the Four Guardian Kings, which all have the function of guardian spirit in Buddhism, were intended to protect the sarira enshrined in the pagoda. Judging from the carvings and the flexible construction of the roof stones, the pagoda is believed to have been built around the 9th century of the late Silla Era. Standing south of the pagoda is the salutation stone with engravings of panel decoration designs on the side and lotus flower on the upper side.