Pagoda and Stone Lantern

Stone Pagodas are well known in China, Korea and Japan where they often are placed in front of a Buddhist temple or within the temple surroundings.
Similar in shape to the wooden constructions the stone pagoda made from granite are durable and tend to survive fire out brakes which are a major cause of destruction to temples in earthquake plagued Japan.
Pagodas are usually placed on a hillside or next to a path in an Eastern themed garden.

A Pagoda or Stupa serves as a memorial to Buddha honoring his life and teachings throughout Asia.

Katsura,  Japan (Katsura,  Japan)

Most pagodas have an odd number of tiers, however, there are also famous examples such as the Gyeongcheonsa Pagoda in the National Museum in Seoul/Korea, which is made out of marvel and has ten tiers.

The Chinese understood the elements as different types of energy in a state of constant interaction.

Although it is usually translated as "element" the Chinese word 'xing' literally means "changing states of being". This is explained as follows:

  • Wood feeds fire
  • Fire creates earth (ash)
  • Earth bears metal
  • Metal collects water
  • Water nourishes wood





On three-tiered stupa, only the elements of the earth, water and fire are symbolized.
Elements: 8 pieces


ca. 150 cm

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Bulguksa Tempel Korea Seokgatap Pagode

In Gyeongju, South Korea, the Bulguksa is a head temple of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism in the North Gyeongsang province. It is home to seven National treasures of South Korea, including Dabotap and Seokgatap stone pagodas.

The tree-story Seokgatap pagoda stands 8.2 meters high. It was completed probably around 751, when Bulguksa was completed.

The pagoda is of a very simple and basic design and the three stories have a pleasing 4:3:2 ratio which gives the pagoda a sense of balance, stability, and symmetry.

 (click to enlarge picture)


Tougata Stone Pagoda






Five tiered Stupas represent the five natural elements of the universe, earth, water, fire, wind and metal.
The top nine rings as seen on the Gojunotou pagoda relate to the nine heavens of Buddhism. A lotus flower, the symbol for Buddha, crowns the top of the Pagoda.
Elements: 13 pieces
No.  Height Price in CHF 

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J-17a 150 1'950.--

J-17b 180 2'400.--


13 story Pagoda Kyoto National Museum

Senganen, also known as Isoteien, is a Japanese style landscaped garden. Located at the foot of a wooded hill near Kagoshima, Kyushu this garden is the perfect place to have a nice view onto the volcano Sakurajima and to enjoy the blossom from over 400 cherry trees.

The garden contains beautiful former residential buildings and a small museum dedicated to the Shimazu Clan, which ruled Kagoshima for almost 700 years.

A Gojunotou pagoda with 5 tiers is dominating for the high spot this traditional Japanese garden.  

(click to enlarge picture)
Gojunotou Stone Pagoda





The Name 'Juusansoto' is related to the Japanese number 13 (juu san) as this pagoda has a total of 13 tiers.
Elements: 17 pieces


ca. 180 cm

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13 story Pagoda Kyoto National Museum

East of the Umamachi intersection in Kyoto are a series of small hills upon which originally stood the two stone pagodas on the left. Today they are in the garden of the National Museum In Kyoto.

The pagoda in Kyoto is about six meters in height. Each layer of the pagoda is a separate block of stone which are simply stacked on top of one another. On top of the uppermost roof is a spire, or "finial."
The top nine rings as seen relate to the nine heavens of Buddhism. A lotus flower, the symbol for Buddha, crowns the top of the Pagoda. It took the highest level of technical skill to create the perfectly flat surfaces of each layer. The very hard and heavy granite stone from which they are built helps keep each layer in place, but without perfect balance, the pagoda would fall down like a stack of blocks!

(click to enlarge picture)

Juusansoto Stone Pagoda

The Japanese art of illumination has attracted artists for centuries. This ukiyo-e, a Japanese woodblock created by the Shin Hanga Master Hasui Kawase in the years between 1946-57 displays a temple gate with stone lantern and figures in the rain.
On the background of the image a big wooden pagoda is seen through the mist. Japanese woodblock prints are called hanga where Han means 'a printing block', and ga is a 'picture'.  
The 20th century 'shin hanga' prints follow a long tradition of creating ukiyo-e since the 17th century.

The Shinzentouron stone lantern is often seen in the area of Kyoto, Mt. Heie and Takayama. Hida Takayama is located in the northern part of Gifu Prefecture.

Shin Hanga Print Hasui Kawase Stone Lantern

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This page was last updated December 2018


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