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Mandala Art

2022 AUG 10

Preliminary   > Art and Culture   >   Painting   >   Ancient Indian paintings

About Mandala:

  • Mandala literally means “circle” or “centre” in Sanskrit. It is defined by a geometric configuration that usually incorporates the circular shape in some form.
  • Mandala patterns are a centuries-old motif that is used to depict the cosmos and have been adapted by artists the world over.
  • It can also be created in the shape of a square. But a mandala pattern is essentially interconnected.

Origin of Mandala Art:

  • It is believed to be rooted in Buddhism, appearing in the first century BC in India.
  • Over the next couple of centuries, Buddhist missionaries travelling along the silk road took it to other regions.
  • In Hinduism, the mandala imagery first appeared in Rig Veda (1500 – 500 BCE).

Meaning of Mandala motifs:

  • It is believed that by entering the mandala and moving towards its center, one is guided through the cosmic process of transforming the universe from one of suffering to that of joy.
  • In Hinduism, a mandala or yantra is in the shape of a square with a circle at its centre.

Elements in Mandala Art:

  • There are various elements incorporated within the mandala, each of which has its own meaning.
  • For instance, the eight spokes of the wheel (the dharmachakra) represent the eightfold path of Buddhism, the lotus flower depicts balance, and the sun represents the universe.
  • Facing up, triangles represent action and energy, and facing down, they represent creativity and knowledge.

Mandala in Modern Art:

  • Mandala continues to appear in Thangka paintings.
  • But it also has a central place in the practice of mainstream artists associated with the tantric and neo-tantric spiritual movements.



Consider the following statements regarding Mandala art:

1. In Hinduism, the mandala imagery first appeared in Rig Veda

2. It is also associated with tantric spiritual movements

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2