Lion Pagoda of Kumjang Hermitage is at the site of Kumjang Hermitage in Kumjang valley of Naegumgang-ri.
The pagoda, consisting of the stylobate, the body, and the head, is 3.87 meters high. This pagoda built early in Koryo dynasty, is of a peculiar shape with 3-storied body laid on 4 stone lions of 1.1 meters high, sitting on their back legs on 4 corners of 2-floored stylobate. And in the midst of the stylobate is a stone Buddha seated, which looks like supporting the heavy body of the pagoda with 4 stone lions.
The name just came from this.
There are examples of 4 stone lions used as the supporters on the stylobate such as the lion pagodas of Hwaom Temple(in 754) of Kurye in the period of Later Silla and Binsin Temple(in 1022) of Jechon in the period of Koryo dynasty. But this one, having even a Buddha seated, is very rare shape among those of middle ages in Korea.
The structure of the stylobate is a little distinguished. Under the stylobate is a floor of stones, a side of which is 2.02 meters long. The lower floor of the stylobate is a thick square stone of 49 centimetres high.
The 3-tiered body of the pagoda supported by the lions has the modillion of 4 layers under the copestones and the lower line of the eaves is straight but the upper one is a little raised at the point of the angle rafter giving a sense of uplifting. The roof is of rather steep pitch and slight curved. There are remained a hook for wind bell at every corner of the copestones of 1st and 2nd tier and two hooks at that of 3rd tier.
Specially, the stone lions sitting on their back legs show the characters of the beast stereoscopically and realistically, showing the teeth, throwing out the chests and standing firm to support the heavy body of the pagoda. Though a long time went by, the feature of the lions is so fresh to show the skillful sculpture of animals at that time.
The pagoda is original in the depictive plan of architecture and very admirable in the technique of sculpture so as to show the characteristics of architectural sculpture in Koryo dynasty inheriting to those in the period of the Three Kingdoms.
Lion Pagoda of Kumjang Hermitage