Mandala in rust-reds and greens featuring vajra-pointed inner circle and deity portraits at corners

Mandala of Chakrasamvara


14th-15th century

Pigments on cloth

Catalog Number
C2006.66.138 (HAR 97)

Rubin Museum of Art

Gift of Shelley and Donald Rubin

Mandalas are pictorial representations of the abodes of deities and the Buddhist conception of the cosmos. They are widely used visual tools and serve as a guide for complex Tantric Buddhist practices, such as visualization meditation. As a rule, a mandala is a symmetrical diagram oriented around a center, usually built up of concentric circles and squares and expressed in the architectural framework of a palace. Mandalas may also serve as ritual objects and protective talismans. As seen in the adjacent video, a practitioner during the visualization practice imagines entering the mandala in their mind, with the deity at the center of this space.

The video below provides a 3D tour of a mandala.

Fig. 1.

Kavita Bala and Elizabeth Popolo in collaboration with Ted Arnold, Tenzin Thutop, and Tenzin Wangchuk of the Namgyal Monastery, "Kalachakra Mandala in 3D view,” YouTube, July 11, 2011, 7:30,

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