Mandalas in culture, history and religion

Mandala in Culture, History and Religion

Mandalas occur in all peoples and all cultures. In Hindu and Buddhist thought the mandala is the symbol of the universe. From Buddhism to Hinduisim, Aboriginals to Mayans, mandalas are an art form found in many cultures and religions.  In Hindu and Buddhist thought the mandala is the symbol of the universe and how we are all connected.

We see them represented in the

  • Circular Aztec calendar
  • Taoist yin yang symbol
  • Celtic spiral
    Mandala yoga spiral staircase

We see mandalas represented in building and structures across countries and cultures.

Cosmati pavements, including those at Westminster Abbey, are geometric mandala-like mosaic designs from thirteenth century Italy. The floorplan for the 9th-century Indonesian Buddhist temple Borobudur is the form of a mandala. And the famous rose stained glass of Chartres cathedral in in the form of a mandala.

Making of Mandalas

As Mandalas symbolise unity and harmony their form often exhibits radial balance. Mostly designs offer balancing visual elements starting with a central dot that moves outward. The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the general shape of a T.

Often they feature brightly coloured geometric designs. Even though a mandala may be dominated by squares or triangles, the mandala has a concentric structure.

The meanings of individual mandalas is usually different and unique to each mandala.


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