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HOME : Asian Art : Art of Nepal : Nepalese Painted Mandala
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Nepalese Painted Mandala - SF.060
Origin: Nepal
Circa: 1600 AD to 1800 AD
Dimensions: 7.9" (20.1cm) high x 7.25" (18.4cm) wide
Collection: Asian

Location: Great Britain
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Perhaps the most admired and discussed symbol of Buddhist religion and art is the mandala. In practice, mandala has become a generic term for any plan, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically, a microcosm of the Universe from the human perspective. The mandala is an imaginary palace that is contemplated during meditation. Each object in the palace has significance, representing some aspect of wisdom or reminding the meditator of some guiding principle. In esoteric Buddhism, the principle in the mandala is the presence of the Buddha in it, but images of deities are not necessary. They may be presented as a wheel, a tree, or a jewel, or in any other symbolic manifestation.

Here the mandala is illustrated as a palace with four gates, facing the four corners of the Earth. In the centre is a lotus blossom with eight petals, resting on a bed of jewels. The symbol of the Buddha lives in the centre, surrounded by eight Buddhas for meditation � symbolic deities: four male and four female. These figures, facing the corners of the earth (West, Northwest, North, Northeast, East, Southeast, South and Southwest) form together a lotus flower. In the next place are the walls of the palace with gates towards the four corners of the Earth. The rich palette of this mandala is dominated by red and yellow.

The preparation of a mandala is an artistic endeavour, but at the same time it is an act of worship. In this form of worship concepts and form are created in which the deepest intuitions are crystallized and expressed as spiritual art. The design, which is usually meditated upon, is a continuum of spatial experiences.

The visualization and concretization of the mandala concept is one of the most significant contributions of Buddhism to religious psychology. Mandalas are seen as sacred places which, by their presence in the world, remind the viewer of the sanctity in the universe and its potential in himself. In the context of the Buddhist path, the purpose of a mandala is to put an end to human suffering, to attain enlightenment and to attain a correct view of Reality. - (SF.060)


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