A Pagoda is a tower that is usually associated with Buddhist temples. Buddhism was once the dominant religion in Southeast Asia, which is when these pagodas were built. The Pagodas are towers that look like each story is a square that curls upward. The mainland in Southeast Asia was heavily influenced by Indian and Chinese culture. These Pagodas were based off of the stupas that were made in ancient India. Indian Stupas’ architecture was adopted by Buddhism. The Chinese ruled the mainland of Southeast Asia for about 1000 years because they conquered this land. So of course China had an influence on Southeast Asia, therefore; these pagodas were made during this time period.
One of China’s oldest standing pagodas is a 12-sided stone structure built during the Wei dynasty (386-534/535A.D.) The ground story may contain shrines and images, and the upper stories may be used to view the surrounding area. A pagoda is intended for worship or living. It is said that the first pagoda was built to house Sakyamuni’s ashes, the founder of Buddhism. Pagodas have been started off in India, then the Chinese and Japanese were influenced by Buddhism from India, and then the Chinese had a huge influence on Southeast Asia, which is how pagodas reached this area. It is said that Sakyamuni died and his body was cremated, his ashes are said to have become like shiny beads and are kept in some pagodas.
Pagodas are significant to Southeast Asia’s culture because it symbolizes where they got their influence from and it represents their background of their culture, like where it came from. Southeast Asia’s background is based from Indian and Chinese influence.
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“Pagoda.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encylopaedia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 30 Apr. 2012.