Feihong (Flying Rainbow) Pagoda in Hongtong County, Shanxi Province, stands inside Upper Guangsheng Temple.
The pagoda is said to date back to as early as the Eastern Han Dynasty, but it has undergone repeated repairs and reconstructions. Today's pagoda, made of glazed bricks and tiles, was reconstructed in 1527 during the Ming Dynasty; the roofed corridor on the ground floor was added in 1622. The building has remained unchanged since then.
The octagonal pagoda of thirteen storeys towers 47.31 meters high. The interior was built of gray bricks and the exterior coated with glazed bricks and tiles of different colors. Under each storey's pent roof are brackets, props, and rafters made of glazed components in the fashion of wooden parts. Balconies with banisters surround each storey. Every storey is decorated with a great variety of statues of Buddha, bodhisattvas, warrior and celestial guardians, coiling dragons, birds, animals and all sorts of plants. The pagoda presents a shiny, fresh image with its colorful glazed bricks and tiles. It is one of a few well-preserved ancient glazed pagodas.
The interior of the pagoda is unusual: The staircases in the middle are so narrow that people have to turn around to ascend. There are few such staircases among ancient pagodas.
Another unusual feature is the steeple, which is composed of five dagobas on a vajrasana with a big dagoda in the middle and small ones at the four comers. All five are Lamaist style. Eight iron chains fasten the top to the roof of the pagoda, stabilizing the steeple.
Because the sides of the pagoda all incline inward, with the top of the pagoda small and the bottom big, the center of gravity is very steady. Such advanced construction skills have enabled the pagoda to withstand the severest earthquakes, including an eight-degree earthquake in 1695.