If ever you’ve studied spiritual Asian art, you’ve likely encountered a mandala. A mandala, which is Sanskrit for “circle” or “discoid object,” is a geometric design that holds a great deal of symbolism in Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Mandalas are believed to represent different aspects of the universe and are used as instruments of meditation and symbols of prayer most notably in China, Japan, and Tibet.
In their most basic form, mandalas are circles contained within a square and arranged into sections that are all organized around a single, central point. They’re typically produced on paper or cloth, drawn on a surface with threads, fashioned in bronze, or built in stone. While extraordinary as a standalone work of art, mandalas hold symbolic and meditative meaning beyond their vibrant appearance.