Architecture

Two-Storey Buddhist Sanctum Highlights Ancient Architecture

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Anguk Temple in Ponghak-dong in Phyongsong, South Phyongan Province, is one of the historical sites in the DPRK.

Built for more than 20 years in the period of the Koguryo Kingdom (277 BC-AD 668), it is one of the oldest temples with a long history and the only two-storey building among those remaining now in Korea.

The Taeung Hall, main building of the temple, is stately with five partitions of facade and four partitions of flank on the high stylobate. It is featured by the erection of 18 convex pillars around the external surface to go well with the scale of the building and different arrangement of headspaces.

The headspaces in the facade of the ground floor differ in internal and external lengths and take the form of spray of flowers and clouds, while those in the flank and rear take the shape of cow’s tongue.

In the interior of the Taeung Hall, ten pillars are set up along the walls to form an inner chamber and they are painted with gorgeous kumtanchong (silk-patterned painting). Doors have flower-patterned openwork to make them showy.

The temple has also the Thaephyong Pavilion, the dormitory for Buddhist monks in the west, the Juphil Pavilion in the east and the nine-storey pagoda.

Several platforms in front of the Thaephyong Pavilion and the discovery of cornerstones and roofing tile pieces there show that the temple was originally large in scale.

The Juphil Pavilion in the east of the Taeung Hall is a small structure built after the king of the Feudal Joson Dynasty stayed in the temple in the period of the 1592-1598 Imjin Patriotic War, and the Thaephyong Pavilion in the facade is relatively big with the hanging board granted by King Sunjo (1801-1834) hanging on it.

In front of the Thaephyong Pavilion stands the nine-storey pagoda.

Generally, it is estimated to be have been built after the middle period of the Koryo Kingdom (918-1392).

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