Temple Artwork

Korean Buddhist temples and hermitages are filled with a variety of artwork that might not be completely understandable or discernible to the viewer. Whether it’s a painting, a statue, a pagoda, or stupa, the symbolic meaning might simply be lost on those observing it. These artistic expressions of Buddhism are rich with meaning. And one gets a better sense of what Korean Buddhism and the temple are attempting to express to those that encounter it. Often, these items aren’t isolated; but instead, play in concert with one another for a fuller expression of their religious significance and symmetry. Below is a list of potential artistic items you might find at a Korean Buddhist temple. Click on the name below to follow the link.

1. Palsang-do – The Eight Scenes from the Life of the Buddha Murals: 팔상도

2. Shimu-do – The Ten Ox-Herding Murals: 심우도

3. Tap – The Korean Pagoda: 탑

4. Biseok – Stele: 비석

5. Budo – Stupa: 부도

6. Gamno-do – The Sweet Dew Mural: 감로도

7. Shinjung Taenghwa – The Guardian Mural: 신중 탱화

8. Podae-Hwasang – The Hempen Bag: 포대화상

9. Dancheong – Temple Colours: 단청

10. The Sermon on Vulture Peak Painting – Yeongsan Hoesang-do: 영산 회상도

11. Yong – Dragons: 용

12. Gwimyeon – The Monster Mask: 귀면

13. The Manja – The Swastika: 만자

14. Sibiji-shin – The Twelve Spirit Generals: 십이지신

15. Banya Yongseon-do – The Dragon Ship of Wisdom: 반야 용선도

16. Poroe – The Dragon that Adorns the Top of the Temple Bell: 포뢰

17. Bicheon – Flying Heavenly Deities: 비천

18. Jowang-shin – The Fireplace King Spirit: 조왕신

19. Ggotsalmun – Flower Latticework Door: 꽃살문

20. Gareungbinga and Gongmyeongjo – Kalavinka and Jivamjivaka: 가릉빈가 & 공명조

21. Punggyeong – Fish-Shaped Wind Chimes: 풍경

22. Agwi – Hungry Ghosts: 아귀

23. Ggotbi – Rain of Flowers: 꽃비

24. Datjib – The Canopy: 닺집

25. Gwaebul – Large Buddhist Banner Painting: 괘불

26. Narayeon Geumgang and Miljeok Geumgang – The Twin Guardians of Korean Temples: 나라연 금강 & 밀적 금강

27. Gwangbae and Geosingwang – The Nimbus and Mandorla: 광배 & 거신광

28. Yunjangdae – Revolving Scriptures Library Pillar: 윤장대

29. Frogs and Toads – 개구리와 두꺼비

30. Seokdeung – Stone Lantern – 석등

31. Siwang – The Ten Kings of the Underworld – 시왕

32. Hojak-do – Tiger and Magpie Painting – 호작도

33. Moran – The Peony: 모란

34. Yeonggot – The Lotus Flower: 연꽃

35. Koggiri – The Elephant: 코끼리

36. Mulgogi – Fish: 물고기