Document Type


Publication Date



This article focuses on the worship of Skanda in Korean Buddhism, particularly Skanda depicted in Sinjung t’aenghwa (the Paintings of the Guardian Deities). In order to contextualize this complex pan-Asian god, the article tackles two different and yet related issues: while it chronologically presents Skanda’s transformation in Korean Buddhsm, the discussion also weaves Skanda with other Asian traditions to explain the functional aspects of Skanda worship that are cross-culturally found across time. The article demonstrates that even though a sinified version of Skanda worship dominated in Korean Buddhism, Korean interpretations of Skanda made significant connections with the Indian leitmotif of Skanda while adding new local interpretations of the deity. It further shows that the dominant presence of Skanda also indicates the centrality of the celestial deities (Skt. deva) in the Korean Buddhist pantheon and beyond.