UM E-Theses Collection (澳門大學電子學位論文庫)


Weituo : a protective deity in Chinese Buddhism and Buddhist art

English Abstract

Weituo 韋馱 is a protective deity in Chinese Buddhism. He is derived from the Indian war god Skanda with significant shift of the characteristics, iconography and functions. In the transformation of Skanda in the twelfth century, the vinaya master Daoxuan‘s legendary encounter help to shape Weituo. As a result, Weituo was tightly connected with the saṅgha. He is very special to the saṅgha because his statue is usually the only one facing inside in a temple and he is the only Buddhist protector supposed to take care of monks‘ daily life. Meanwhile, Daoxuan‘s story determined the iconography of Weituo. After the formation of Weituo, the deity has been enjoying tremendous popularity in China. He was mentioned in popular novels and various records on Buddhist rituals. And he has been a very common figure in Buddhist art. In these records, he was supposed to play diversified roles according to different occasions. In this paper, through studying the formation of Weituo, I attempt to show how Weituo who comes from an Indian origin was absorbed by Chinese Buddhism. The worship and visual representations not only proved the popularity of Weituo, but also showed how the functions of Weituo were adapted to the needs of the saṅgha and the secular people. This thesis aims to examine the legend, iconography, worship and visual representations of Weituo comprehensively in order to provide a fuller portrait of Weituo‘s history in China.

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Li, Xin Jie


Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities


Department of History




Buddhist art -- China

Buddhist gods -- China

Buddhist gods in art -- China

Buddhism -- China



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