What is Mandala art?

Mandala art patterns are a centuries-old motif that has been altered by artists all over the world, each of whom has contributed their own interpretation and painted it as their own.

What is mandala art and where did it come from?

  • Mandala, which literally means "circle" or "centre" in Sanskrit, is a geometric structure that generally involves the circular shape in some manner.
  • A mandala design, while it can also be made in the shape of a square, is primarily linked.
  • It is said to have originated in India in the first century BC, with roots in Buddhism.
  • Over the next few centuries, Buddhist missionaries travelling along the silk way spread it to other parts of the world.
  • Mandalas have been documented in China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and Tibet by the sixth century. The mandala motif initially emerged in Hinduism in the Rig Veda (1500 – 500 BCE).

The motif's significance

  • By entering the mandala and travelling towards its centre, it is claimed that one is directed through the cosmic process of altering the cosmos from one of suffering to one of joy.
  • A classic Buddhist mandala is a circular drawing produced with coloured sand that aids in meditation and helps its creator find their true nature.
  • A mandala or yantra in Hinduism is a square with a circle in the middle.
  • The mandala has a number of components, each of which has its own meaning.
  • For example, the eight spokes of the wheel (the dharmachakra) reflect Buddhism's eightfold path (practises that lead to freedom from reincarnation), the lotus flower signifies balance, and the sun represents the cosmos.
  • Triangles indicate activity and energy when facing up, and creativity and wisdom while facing down.

Mandala in contemporary Indian art

  • The mandala, which has its roots in ancient philosophy, has taken on several shapes in the hands of modern and contemporary Indian artists.
  • While it is still used in thangka paintings, it is also used by mainstream artists linked with tantric and neo-tantric spiritual organisations.
  • Choosing to depart from the more realistic images of previous generations of Indian painters, Sohan Qadri and Prafulla Mohanty acquired significant reputation in the 1960s for their works imbued with tantric symbolism, such as mandalas, which are also utilised in tantric initiation ceremonies.
  • Geometric compositions were also prominent in the work of artists such as Biren De, GR Santosh, Shobha Broota, and, most notably, SH Raza, who saw the bindu as the centre of his cosmos and the source of energy and life.