Different Forms of the Mandala

Although mandalas have a number of typically recurring characteristics, including their circular shape and strong symmetry, representations of these meditational tools vary a great deal. Mandalas can be represented in two or three dimensions, be made from a range of materials—including paper, pigments, metal, cloth, and colored powder—and function in a variety of contexts, serving as contemplative aids in visualization meditation, instructional tools, ritual objects, and protective talismans, to name just a few.

Lotus Mandala of Amitayus
Central Tibet; 14th–15th century; Metalwork
Rubin Museum of Art
C2003.13.1 (HAR 65215)