Dabotap Pagoda of Bulguksa Temple
Period: Unified Silla Period
Location: Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang
Status: National Treasure No. 20
Dabotap Pagoda and Seokgatap Pagoda (Sakyamuni pagoda, National Treasure No. 21) are the two representative pagodas in Korea. Their heights are identical at 10.4 meters (34.1 feet). The pagodas face each other from the east and west sides of the yard, between the Hall of Sakyamuni and Jahamun Gate in Bulguksa Temple.
The planes are cut to be square at the platform and octagonal above it. It seems that there were stone staircases with guardrails on the four sides of the platform, but only stone pillars remain. They built the octagonal pagoda body after surrounding it with square guardrails. And they carved octagonal guardrails, bamboo joint-shaped stone pillars and 16 pieces of lotus flower design on the pagoda body.
This work is a masterpiece that simply expresses the complicated structure of wooden construction. The work shows the artistic essence of the United Silla Dynasty in that it has the well-organized structure using squares, octagons and circles, and the length, width and thickness of the parts are standardized. The pagoda was probably built in 751, when Bulguksa Temple was remodeled on a large scale. It is unfortunate that Dabotap Pagoda contains the sorrow the people felt when Japan deprived them of their country. The Japanese dismantled and repaired the pagoda around 1925, but they didn’t leave any records. In the process, sarira, sarira casket and other relics that must be in the pagoda all disappeared. And of four lions that were on the stone staircases of the pagoda, the Japanese Empire stole three, which must have been in good condition.
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