KEY WORD : architecture / buildings & structures
Also called touba 塔婆, sotoba 卒都婆 or *tasoutou 多層塔 (many layered tower). A pagoda. Originally in India, a facility for preserving the Buddha's ashes in a simple earthen mound. Over time, the mounds became more and more elaborate. As Buddhism spread through Central Asia the mound became smaller, elongated and the finial *sourin 相輪, became larger in proportion to the base. After Buddhism reached China, influence from the Chinese watchtower combined with the central Asian stupa to form a tall, tiered structure. From China it spread to Korea and thence to Japan where it became the focal point on a central axis in early Japanese temples. One pagoda was positioned on an east-west axis sharing importance with a *kondou 金堂 (golden hall) on each side of it. See *garan haichi 伽藍配置. During the 6c to 9c, pagodas were repositories for the Buddha's relics. Also pagodas were built to mark a holy site or as an oblation to the soul of the dead. During the 8c., two identical pagodas were commonly constructed and were usually placed outside the sacred area where the kondou was enclosed, as at Toudaiji 東大寺, Nara. They are no longer extant. With the introduction of Esoteric Buddhist sects, the *tahoutou 多宝塔, a 2- storied pagoda, became popular while the pagoda as a vessel for the Buddha's ashes or relics gradually lost importance. As new sects and new doctrines spread, the pagoda was relegated to an area apart from the central compound of the temple. The Pure Land sects known as Joudoshuu 浄土宗 and Joudo Shinshuu 浄土真宗 rarely erected pagodas.
Pagodas constructed of wood have an interior unlike stone pagodas *sekitou 石塔, which are solid and act as a kind of monument. Most extant pagodas are 3-storied, 5-storied or the tahoutou type. There was a 7-storied pagoda at Toudaiji 東大寺 in Nara and a 9-storied pagoda at Saidaiji 西大寺, also in Nara, but they were destroyed by fire. There is single 13-storied wooden pagoda *Juusanjuu-no-tou 十三重塔 at Danzan Jinja 談山神社 (1532) also in Nara.
The earliest pagodas had central pillars *shinbashira 心柱, that were set well into the ground. As architectural techniques advanced, the shinbashira eventually were set at ground level. Examples: the east pagoda, Toutou 東塔 at Yakushiji 薬師寺 (730) in Nara, there is a 3-storied pagoda with pent roofs *mokoshi 裳階, on each story resulting in a very tall building. It is almost the same height as 5-storied pagodas. The shinbashira, of the 5-storied pagoda *Gojuu-no-tou 五重塔 at Daigoji 醍醐寺 (952) in Kyoto, terminates above the ceiling of the first story. The 3-storied pagoda *Sanjuu-no-tou 三重塔 at Ichijouji 一乗寺 (1171) in Hyougo prefecture, is the earliest building to show the development toward a prescribed arrangement of rafters positioned on each of the small bearing blocks of the 3-on-1 bracket complexes *mitsudo tokyou 三斗斗きょう.
There are two pagodas at Taimadera 当麻寺 (also written 當麻寺) in Nara. The east pagoda, was constructed in the Nara period and the west pagoda in the early Heian period. The former is 3 x 3 bays (5.23m sq.) on the first story but the second and third stories are 2 x 2 bays. The second story is smaller in dimension than the first story, and the third, rebuilt in the Kamakura period is smaller still. Both the east and west pagodas have 3-stepped bracket complexes *mitesaki tokyou 三手先斗きょう, but the west pagoda has struts capped with bearing blocks *kentozuka 間斗束, in the interstices *nakazonae 中備, between the bracket complexes. The latter is 3 x 3 bays (5.23m sq.). Both the pagodas have central pillars that extend from the ground floor, and four posts *shitenbashira 四天柱, that form the corners around the Buddhist altars *butsudan 仏壇. There is a 3-storied pagoda at Houfukuji 宝福寺 (1376) in Okayama prefecture, that is 3 x 3 bays (3.61m sq.), with bracket complexes and interstices that are the same type as those of the pagodas at Taimadera. The interior of the first story has two pillars *raigoubashira 来迎柱, with a wall *raigoukabe 来迎壁, that stretches in between. The raigoubashira are erected further to the rear out of line with the exterior rear middle and side pillars. The shinbashira terminates above the ceiling. These pagodas are the first examples of the second and third story side pillars being place directly above the bracket complexes of the ground floor. The only extant 3-storied octagonal pagoda Hakkaku Sanjuu-no-tou 八角三重塔, is at Anrakuji 安楽寺 (14c) in Nagano prefecture. It has a pent roof *mokoshi 裳階, with an enclosure that surrounds the first story. The bracket complexes are Zen style *zenshuuyou 禅宗様, with closely packed 3-stepped bracket complexes mitesaki tokyou. The sourin, is made of iron instead of bronze. The roofing is made of thinly cut layered wooden shingles.
The earliest extant 5-storied pagoda, Gojuu-no-tou 五重塔 is at Houryuuji 法隆寺 (late 7 to early 8c) in Nara. A mokoshi surrounds the first story. Except for the fifth story which is 2 x 2 bays, all the other stories are 3 x 3 bays (6.42m sq.), with the mokoshi 10.85m sq.. The central pillar is deeply embedded in the ground. On the first story, four pillars form the corners and between each pair of pillars are scenes from Mt. Sumeru *Shumisen 須弥山, painted on the walls. According to Buddhist cosmology, Mt. Sumeru was thought to be the highest mountain at the center of the world. The bracket complexes are the cloud-shaped *kumotokyou 雲斗きょう, and the roof is covered with tile *hongawarabuki 本瓦葺. The 5-storied pagoda constructed at Murouji 室生寺 at the end of the Nara and the beginning of the Heian periods, in Nara, is 3 x 3 bays (2.44m sq.). The bracket complexes are 3-stepped and roofing is made of cypress bark *hiwadabuki 桧皮葺. The central pillar reaches to below the stone floor of the first story. Four pillars mark the corners within which the Buddhist altar is placed. The spire is unusual because it has a vase-shaped object at the top instead of the usual rings *suien 水煙, and is composed of four decorative metal pieces, each pair attached directly opposite each other. The pagoda is much smaller than the usual 5-storied type.
The 5-storied pagoda at Haguro Jinja 羽黒神社 (1372) in Yamagata prefecture, is pure wayou style *wayou 和様. It is 3 x 3 bays (5.02m sq.), with the size of each story diminishing somewhat as it rises. The stories, from the second through the fifth are surrounded by railings called *kouran 高欄. The first story has no surrounding railings. However the first story is enclosed and contains the shitenbashira, butsudan and raigoukabe. The roofing is made of thinly cut, finely layered shingles called *kokerabuki 柿葺. Previously the pagoda was attached to a temple called Takimizudera 滝水寺.
There is also a 5-storied pagoda at Rurikouji 瑠璃光寺 (1442) in Yamaguchi prefecture. The shinbashira reaches upward from the ground floor, and there is a very rare circular Buddhist altar. A railing surrounds only the second story. The roofing is made of cypress bark.
Both the pagodas at Rurikouji and Haguro Jinja have 3-stepped bracket complexes, mitesaki tokyou, and struts capped with bearing blocks, kentozuka, in the interstices between the bracket complexes.

*yugitou 揄祇塔, *gorintou 五輪塔, *muhoutou 無縫塔, *sharitou 舎利塔

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