The pagoda is located on the south side of the Eastern Hall of Foguang Temple in Wutai County. Since the year of construction has not been recorded in any historical documents, it is still an open question, but from the structure and artistic style the pagoda must have been built before the Tang Dynasty, probably during the Northern Qi period.
The exterior of the hexagonal brick pagoda is divided into two storeys, but there is only one chamber inside, on the ground floor; the upper level is purely ornamental. A door on the front opens to a hexagonal chamber originally intended to enshrine statues of the two founders of a sect of Buddhism. Above the flat arched doorway is an ornamental headpiece formed by lotus petals. The other five sides on the pagoda's first storey are plain. The walls, however, incline slightly inward. The protruding eaves are composed of three layers of carved lotus petals and six layers of bricks, each layer reaching beyond the one below. Under the eaves are brick brackets, nine on each side. The pent roofs were built by stacking bricks, level upon level, in an inward direction, creating a solid image for the pagoda.
The second level of the pagoda is a hexagonal pavilion-style structure. Between the first and second levels there is a subbase in the form of a Sumeru pedestal; bricks form square patterns in the lower part and lotus petals, nine on each side, on the upper part. Vase-shaped columns at the corners of the pedestal support the second storey, which differs from most other pagoda structures. First, the two leaves on the flame-shaped false door were installed at different angles, as if the door were half open. Second, the corner columns are decorated at the top, in the middle and at the foot with carved lotus petals full of Indian influence. Third, the surface of the second storey is painted with red clay, a decoration for wooden structures; on the inside walls of the arched doorway are remnants of painted patterns. On the small window on the northwestern side are ornamental paintings showing two tiers of beams with five short columns in between and filled with inverted V patterns. Such patterns are usually found in sculptures and murals in grottoes carved and painted during the Southern and Northern Dynasties. They are rarely seen on real buildings. Zushi Pagoda is a unique example in history.
The steeple of the pagoda is also made of brick, but the style is quite peculiar. The lower part has carvings of lotus petals to support a precious bottle in the shape of a six-petal flower. There are two more layers of lotus petals on top of the bottle and a bead at the highest point.
The architectural style and art of the pagoda are unique among ancient pagodas in China. It is the only example of such pagodas built during the Southern and Northern Dynasties. Its value also lies in that it was constructed between the Songyue Temple Pagoda of the Northern Wei Dynasty and the Four-Door Pagoda of the Sui Dynasty, one of the few extant pagodas built before the Tang Dynasty.