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Five-story Stone Pagoda of Magoksa Temple, Gongju

공주 마곡사 오층석탑 ( 公州 麻谷寺 五層石塔 )

Heritage Search Detail
Classification Treasure
Name of Cultural Properties Five-story Stone Pagoda of Magoksa Temple, Gongju
Quantity 1 stone pagoda
Designated Date 1984.11.30
Age Goryeo
Address Magoksa Temple 966, Magoksa-ro, Sagok-myeon, Gongju, Chungcheongnam-do

This pagoda, built during the Goryeo Dynasty, stands just in front of Daegwangbojeon Hall in Magoksa Temple. The temple was constructed during the Unified Silla Period and has connections with Kim Gu, the famous activist who fought for the independence of Korea during the Japanese Occupation. Kim stayed here under cover as a monk after escaping from prison. He had been indicted with assassinating the Japanese general who murdered Empress Myeongseong. A juniper still standing in front of Daegwangbojeon Hall is said to have been planted by Kim Gu. Soaring up in yard of the temple, the pagoda stands on a two-story stylobate that supports the five-story main section, which is topped in turn by a decorative finial. Images of Buddha and Bodhisattva are engraved on the body stone. There are traces of four wind-bells, but only with one of them remains on the fifth roof stone. The bronze finial decoration catches the attention most successfully as it looks similar to the Pagoda of the Lama from the Yuan Dynasty of China. Despite its slender construction and apparent lack of stability, the pagoda can still boast a majestic look. The extraordinary finial decoration leaves some room to assume that it dates from the end of the Goryeo Dynasty, when the influence from the Yuan Dynasty was considerable. Overall, the pagoda reflects aspects of the society at that time when the culture backed by the Lama was assimilated to that of Goryeo Dynasty. Most of the temple’s treasures were stolen during the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592. Fortunately, during repair work done on the pagoda in 1972, an incense burner and a door pull were discovered. A myth attached to the pagoda tells that it can hold enough food to feed the whole population for three days in a row.