The pagoda is situated southeast of the former White Horse Temple ten kilometers east of Luoyang City. Its predecessor was the Sakya Tathagata sarira stupa in the temple, the first Buddhist temple in China. A stone tablet beside Qiyun Pagoda has an inscription, made in 1175 in the Kin Dynasty, that says that fifty years earlier both the temple and pagoda were burnt down in a big fire and that an official of that time had a thirteen-storey brick pagoda built there. The existing pagoda is a relic of the Kin Dynasty and an important ancient building in Luoyang.
The square brick pagoda is a thirteen-storey multi-eave structure some 35 meters high. The first storey, which is rather high, stands on a brick pedestal, each side of which is 7.8 meters long. The thirteen pent roofs are very narrow and their eaves present a mild curve, which used to be the style of the Tang Dynasty. The exterior of the entire pagoda is in the shape of a smooth parabola. From the fifth storey the pagoda tapers sharply, giving its upper part a firm, elegant appearance. These characteristics distinguish this pagoda form other ancient pagodas.