Shaoguan Stone Pagoda – Location, Structure, Inscription, and Treasures

shaoguan stone pagoda

Shaoguan Stone Pagoda (韶关石塔) derives its name from the inscription of “Shao Guan” on it body. Situated in Xijindu Area, in the southern part of Changjiang Road, Runzhou District, Zhenjiang City, Jiangsu Province, China, this unique pagoda is also referred to as the “Bottle Pagoda” or the “Cross-Street Stone Pagoda” due to its bottle-like shape, perfectly positioned above the street. Constructed during the Yuan Dynasty in the fourth year of the Dazhong era (1311 AD), it is a prominent example of the Lama-style pagoda from that period.

Structures of Shaoguan Stone Pagoda

The lower half of the Shaoguan Stone Pagoda is constructed using stacked stones, forming four stone pillars. The top is covered with stone slabs, creating a framed pedestal. The pagoda is built on this pedestal, allowing for pedestrian and horse traffic underneath. Standing at a height of 4.69 meters, the pagoda is divided into five parts: the pedestal, the body, the neck, thirteen celestial layers, and the top. All sections are meticulously carved from bluestone in segmented pieces.

The pedestal consists of two identical ornate lotus bases, supporting a flat-drum-shaped pagoda body. The body features 13 concentric rings of relief carvings symbolizing the 13 heavenly realms. On top, there is a Dharma wheel and a small lotus seat, both adorned with “Eight Treasures.” The uppermost part is the pagoda’s crown.

Inscriptions on Shaoguan Stone Pagoda

The east and west sides of the pagoda’s doorframe are inscribed with the characters “韶关 (shao Guan),” and behind it, there is an inscription stating, “万历十年壬午十月重修 (Repaired in the tenth year of Wanli) (1582 AD), in the tenth month.” The outer sides of two stone pillars are inscribed with the words “当愿众生,所共瞻仰 (May all sentient beings share in the gaze and worship),” while the other two pillars read “当愿众生,受天人供 (May all sentient beings receive offerings from heaven and earth).” The inner sides of the four pillars bear the inscription “Namo Buddhaya” (Homage to the Buddha). Sanskrit mantras are inscribed on the north and south sides of the door frame, reading “Om Mani Padme Hum.”

Treasures inside Shaoguan Stone Pagoda

Inside the Shaoguan Stone Pagoda, two round copper Mandala plates have been discovered, showcasing intricate patterns created through hammered-line engraving. The plates have a diameter of 50.4 centimeters and a thickness of 0.5 centimeters, featuring a central image of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, surrounded by eight identical depictions of the bodhisattva. The images display a rounded face with a five-fold crown, ears adorned with loops, flowing hair falling over the shoulders, a necklace of precious pearls, and anklets on both feet. The bodhisattva sits on a lotus seat, with halos of light emanating from the head and body. In front of the bodhisattva, there are three offerings displayed. The crown of the bodhisattva’s head holds a jewel, and the hands are adorned with a precious vase.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *