History of Mandala Art
The mandala may be one of the most ubiquitous symbols in religions from all over the world. It is a hallmark in Buddhism and Hinduism and found in Christianity and Judaism. Islamic art is often full of dense geometric patterns and has many examples of mandalas.
The symbolism of the mandala’s central point and its outward radiating patterns have come to represent man’s connection with the spiritual. Hindu religious buildings were traditionally created using a mandala as template, and the vast rose windows of Gothic Cathedrals are some of the ultimate examples in Western cultures.
Mandalas have a history of use as meditation aids, and their creation is typically tied to their intention. For example, mandala sand art in Tibetan Buddhism is ritually created through a long and detailed process, and each piece is then destroyed to symbolize the interconnectivity of life.
Mandala Art in Psychology
In the 20th century, the birth of modern psychoanalysis also brought the mandala’s use into traditional forms of therapy. Carl Jung was perhaps the biggest advocate of mandalas, both as an archetype representing the human self and as a way to visually express this concept of self through drawing. Modern art therapy often uses mandalas both as diagnostic aids and as therapeutic interventions for conditions like anxiety and schizophrenia.
In a similar way to their aid in meditation, mandalas in a psychological sense are usually said to “center” a person; it is no wonder then why their central point is so essential to their meaning.