The pagoda is at the foot of the southeastern part of Qingliang Mountain thirty-five kilometers north of Anyang County.
There are no historical records about the pagoda's construction, but there are inscriptions above the door on its southern side that date back to the Tang, Song and Kin dynasties.
We know from these inscriptions that the pagoda was already there in 870 in the Tang Dynasty. Analysis of the structure and style of the carvings shows that the pagoda is a relic of the early Tang Dynasty, namely, it was }milt between 627 and 649.
The square, pavilion-style, single-storey pagoda used to be some twenty meters high. Its octagonal Sumeru pedestal is built of rammed earth and skirted with bricks. Owing to serious damage, it is hard to see clearly the original structure. On the sides of the pedestal there are still carved images of flying apsarases, celestial guards, musicians, wild geese, flowers and heavy curtains. The main body is 9.3 meters high; each side measures 8.3 meters. Carved on the arch of the door on the southern side are three seated Buddhas flanked by Ananda, Kasyapa, two bodhisattvas, and two heavenly kings. The inscriptions from the Tang, Song and Kin dynasties are in the center of the lintel and under the images of Buddha.
The outside walls of the pagoda's main body are full of carvings of various kinds, formed by bricks carved in the shape of a square, a rhombus, a pentagon or a triangle or simply lines and curves. Altogether, there are 3,442 such bricks, most of them diamond-shaped. The entire tableau is in the form of a curtain and on each corner of the main body is a sculptured pillar whose cross section is hoof-shaped. The pillars are covered with elegant flower designs. The sculptures on the bricks of the pagoda's main body range from heavenly kings, celestial guards, flying apsarases, lions and elephants to Taoist figures and traditional Chinese designs, such as green dragons, white tigers and various kinds of plants, flowers and grasses. Such a combination is rare in early Buddhist sculptures. The sculptures are vigorous and powerful -- the cream of Tang Dynasty relief sculptures. Worth noting are the images of non-Han dancers in the sculptures, demonstrating China's national unity in the Tang Dynasty.
The inner wails of the pagoda, some two meters thick, are built of small bricks with rope designs, held together by mortar. The carved bricks are inlaid in three ways: Tenons on the backs of the bricks peg them to the walls or plain bricks support the tenons to secure the carved bricks; the carved bricks' difference in thickness is used to inlay them to the plain bricks; big nails or iron pieces join the two kinds of bricks. Inside the pagoda, 5.16 meters aboveground, are two attic stories; from the top attic storey sixty-two tiers of overlapping bricks, each tier narrower than the one below, form a pavilion roof.
The steeple has been destroyed, but a picture taken in the 1940s shows that it was built of glazed tiles in the shape of a huge lotus flower topped by a huge bead. From the structure and the quality and color of the material, the steeple must have been added in the Ming Dynasty when the pagoda was undergoing repairs.
Before Liberation in 1949 the sculptured bricks on the pagoda were repeatedly stolen by imperialists and antique dealers. Many are missing, but most remain.