Art and Culture > Painting > Ancient Indian paintings
- 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