Po Pagoda, which is located in the southeastern suburbs of Kaifeng and was originally called Xingci Temple Pagoda, has a unique appearance. It is so named because the location of both the pagoda and temple is called Potai.
Constructed in 977 in the Northern Song Dynasty, it is the oldest ancient building in the city. Some historical records put the pagoda at nine storeys, but only three storeys were left by the first year of the Ming Dynasty when the other storeys were destroyed. Later, a smaller seven-storey pagoda was built on its top to serve as its steeple. The total height of the pagoda is 31.67 meters.
The remaining main body of the pagoda has six sides and three storeys, each storey much smaller than the one below, giving it a unique appearance. The first storey is a hit higher than the other two, with a door on its southern side, while the second storey has a door on every side and the third only on its southern side. The first and second storeys have multitier eaves, under which are brick brackets modeled on wooden ones. The exterior walls of the pagoda are inlaid with some ten thousand brick statues of Buddha, making it a pagoda of ten thousand Buddha. The postures of the Buddhas are diverse and the carving is excellent. Therefore, they are valuable, rare carvings from the Song Dynasty.
The pagoda has wooden flooring, and a staircase leads to the top. The roof balconies, in particular, are wide, providing an excellent vantage point for observing the view. The walls of the doorway on the southern side of the first storey are inlaid with six stone tablets with inscriptions of Buddhist scriptures made in 977, a proof of the year of the pagoda's construction. Another six tablets in the doorway on the same side of the second storey have inscriptions of scriptures made in 982. In the doorway on the northern side of the second storey are nine tablets bearing the names of benefactors. There are a total of 159 other stone tablets in the pagoda carrying the names of other benefactors. They are all invaluable for studying ancient Buddhist classics and calligraphy.