[National Treasure]Gilt-bronze Miniature Pagoda
Period: Goryeo (918-1392)
Location: Yongsan District, central Seoul
Status: National Treasure No. 213
Gilt-bronze or bronze pagodas were mostly produced for indoor purposes rather than as a main object of a temple.
They are usually tiny, about 20 centimeters (0.66 feet) to 30 centimeters, with few taller than 50 centimeters. In this regard, this 1.55-meter-high pagoda is unusual in size and height. Presently consisting of five stories with a two-story pedestal, the original work most likely stood higher.
This pagoda is built in the typical style of Korean pagodas. Columns and pillars are engraved on all corners and sides of the pedestal, patterned after wooden architectures. On each side of the lower pedestal are carved lotus petals, typical of Goryeo stone pagodas.
Railings are installed on the upper pedestal. The first story has doors, pillars and a tiled roof, faithfully reviving traditional wooden architecture, with the walls of the successive stories ornamented with seated Buddha images with less skill. The roofs have a few wind-bells hanging from some of their corners. The gilding has almost completely peeled off, but the overall condition of this pagoda is good. The broad pedestal is in remarkable contrast with narrow stories. Lavish decoration and overall style show the characteristics of both metalwork pagodas and stone pagodas.
This pagoda is believed to date from the early Goryeo Period (11th century) when pagodas in varied styles and forms were erected on a large scale.