The pagoda is located at the foot of the eastern side of Wushi Mountain in Fuzhoo. As it looks blackish, it is also called the Black Pagoda. As it was built on the ruins of the Wugou Jingguang (Clean) Pagoda, it is also known as Jingguang Pagoda.
Wang Yanxi, king of Fujian in the Five Dynasties, sensing that his position was shaky, had the pagoda constructed to pray to the Buddha for protection. Construction began in 941, with nine storeys planned, but Wang was executed before the pagoda was completed and construction was halted at the seventh storey.
The Black Pagoda and Dingguang Pagoda are referred to as the "twin pagodas of Fuzhou,' and they have become a scenic spot in the capital city of Fujian Province.
The Black Pagoda was built of dark gray granite. The octagonal, seven-storeyed structure is thirty-five meters high. All the pent roofs are built of three tiers of slabstone covered by stone roofing. The roofs are wide and graceful and look very much like umbrellas, making the pagoda an outstanding example of brick and stone pagodas with pent roofs. There is one door on the first storey of the pagoda, but two on the remaining storeys. The sides without doors have niches for stone Buddhist statues. In every corner of every floor there is a pillar; carved on the pillars of the ground floor are images of heavenly kings and celestial guards, which look vivid and lively and are the originals. From the door on the ground floor visitors can ascend a staircase inside the pagoda for a view of Fuzhou.
A stone tablet at the foot of the pagoda is inscribed with the history of the construction of Wugou Jingguang Pagoda, predecessor of the Black Pagoda. This explains why the Black Pagoda is wrongly called Jingguang.
In the past thousand years or more the pagoda has undergone repairs many times, including a major one in 1957, and many stones on the pagoda have been replaced, but many of the relief sculptures of Buddha have been retained and are valuable for the study of the history and art of the Min State in the Five Dynasties.