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Sarira Pagoda at Shengshou Temple in Ruicheng of Shanxi Province
The pagoda used to be part of Shengshou Temple, about one kilometer northeast of Ruicheng County Town. Both the pagoda and the temple were built between 1023 and I032 during the Northern Song Dynasty and were repaired and reconstructed during the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, but the temple buildings have long been gone, leaving the pagoda standing alone.

Modeled after a multistoreyed wooden building, the brick pagoda, some forty-six meters high, is octagonal with thirteen levels. As each storey is slightly smaller than the one below, the pagoda is shaped like a narrow cone, lofty and elegant. A door opens to the south on the first storey, the remaining levels have decorative doors in each of the four directions. The first storey is comparatively tall; the first, second and third storeys all have pent roofs supported by brick brackets. From the fourth level up, the eaves are all made by stacking bricks, each tier protruding over the one below. The plane curve formed by the bricks under the pent roofs shows the style of buildings of the Tang Dynasty. The upper part of the steeple has been destroyed; only the base in the shape of an inverted bowl remains.

The interior of the pagoda is like a tube. The original wooden stairs and floor slabs are all gone. The outward appearance and structure of the pagoda are a transition from the multistoreyed to the multi-eared style and from the tube-shaped pagodas of the Tang Dynasty to pagodas with stairs built along the walls or in the middle, popular during the Song Dynasty. Therefore, it is regarded as exceptionally valuable.

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