Mandala

DEFINITION

Any of various radial geometric designs symbolic of the universe, traditionally used in Hinduism and Buddhism as an aid to meditation.(pr. MAN-də-lə, MUN-də-lə)Examples:Borobudur ? one of the most magnificent Buddhist shrines in the world -- was built at the end of the 9th century by the Hindu kings of the Sailendra dynasty. Borobudur is located 42 kms west of Yogyakarta, on the island of Java in Indonesia. see thumbnail to rightThe plan for this stupa is a schematized representation of the cosmos, a mandala. After visiting its lower terraces decorated with bas-relief, pilgrims attain the shrine's crowning stupa, which symbolizes the Absolute. Also see plan and representation.China, Mandala, 1279-1368, Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), silk, 33 x 33 inches (83.82 x 83.82 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Chinese art, tapestry, and textile.China, Mandala, 1330-1332, Y?an dynasty, c. 1330-32, silk, metallic thread, 96 5/8 x 82 1/4 inches (245.4 x 208.9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Bodhisattva.Related link: Construction of the Medicine Buddha sand mandala at the Ackland Art Museum. During one month in early 2001, the Venerable Tenzin Thutop and the Venerable Tenzin Deshek, two Buddhist monks from the Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca, New York constructed a five-and-a-half foot Medicine Buddha sand mandala in the Ackland's Yager Gallery of Asian Art. The museum's Web pages show photographs of numerous stages of the construction. Ten weeks after the mandala's completion, the monks dismantled it and deposited the sand in a body of water. This process symbolizes the transience of life and the ideal of nonattachment to the material world. Also see curve, kaleidoscope, radial, and tondo.

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