In Sanskrit, the word mandala means circle. Historically, a mandala is a series of circles within a square. The artist arranges these circles around a central point to create breathtaking designs.
Mandalas are much more than works of art. These pieces have symbolic meaning. In the Hindu and Buddhist cultures, mandalas are used to represent various parts of the universe, with each circle representing another layer.
A person can create mandalas using anything they might have on hand. They go beyond drawings. Individuals who practice Buddhism might create sand art mandalas when carrying out rituals. Spiritually inclined artists often choose to paint mandalas, which some artists create large-scale tapestries incorporating mandalas and use these tapestries to decorate homes and other buildings. Any person can create a mandala using whatever they have on hand. It might be pencil and paper, string and beads, or anything they feel would allow them to express themselves.
Artists often use mandalas to represent individuals and the world around them. They serve as a visual representation of a person's or object’s connection to the infinite. Mandalas may be found anywhere today, including in nature. Today, these designs appear more and more in pop culture.
Mandalas in Pop Culture
Experts often credit Carl Jung with bringing mandalas to the attention of Western societies. He felt these designs could bring an individual’s self into harmony with the world. Through his works, mandalas came to be seen in a different light. They took on less of a religious or cultural connotation. People around the world took notice of them and use them today in innovative ways.
In the 1960s, mandalas were seen throughout the counterculture of Northern California. Designer Gordon Ashby once explained that mandalas were ideal for allowing multiple, diverse references and experiences to be contained in one image. Over the years, other artists have used mandalas in their works as well.
Artists often incorporate mandalas into their works. Sanford Biggers uses mandalas when commenting on modern American sociocultural issues, while Pema Rizin uses these designs in his artwork, providing the mandalas with a modern twist. Saya Woolfalk has even used them in her performance pieces.
Mandalas appear in fashion, home decor, and more. Fashion designers use mandalas when creating everyday items such as yoga pants or ethnic wear. Mandala designed glasses are seen in many homes, and a person might wish to have a mandala wall hanging in their home or office. The ideas are truly endless today.
Fun Facts About Mandalas
With mandalas becoming more commonplace, people want to know more about this type of art. Show off your knowledge by sharing some fun facts. The following tidbits are ones most people will find interesting.
Designing a mandala can be therapy. A person can clear their mind as they make this design. They become immersed in the various shapes and colors used, which allows them to leave their problems behind. In fact, licensed psychologists today may have patients create mandalas. They know doing so will help reduce the patient’s heart rate and stress.
Mandalas may show up anywhere. People often request this design when getting a tattoo, and they are appearing in pop art today. However, a person may use them in areas where their beauty will endure for centuries.
In fact, the mandala appears frequently in architecture. The Mandala Vastu Mandala is based on an 8x8 grid and is typically used when creating temples. Other buildings, such as homes, use a 9X9 grid known as the Parasayika Vastu Mandala. Both grids have a center square around which the mandala is built.
However, not all mandalas are enduring. Tibetan monks actually create mandalas using colored sand. All it takes is a gust of wind and their work becomes a thing of the past.
According to Buddhist color theory, each color in a mandala is a symbol of an enlightenment concept. The white, green, blue, red, and yellow found in many mandalas represent the Five Buddha Families. Black is the sixth color found in mandalas created using Buddhist color theory principles.
Mandalas continue to serve as a sacred symbolism of Hinduism and Buddhism. However, their use has expanded far beyond this now. A mandala can help a person gain a different perspective of the world while learning more about themselves.
The Aztec calendar created centuries ago is a mandala, as is the Celtic tree design. How will you use a mandala today? Try your hand at creating one and see how amazing these designs are for improving your life.