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Explore Mandalas

Explore Mandalas

Mandala of Guhyasamaja,
Akshobhyavajra
Tibet; 14th century,
Pigments on cloth
F1997.43.1 (HAR 575)

In the Buddhist traditions mandalas represent the
realm of a deity. The word “mandala” means
center and periphery. They can be painted on
cloth or as large wall murals; fashioned from metal,
wood, or stone; or created with color threads or
sand. Sometimes temples are designed as three dimensional
mandalas.

Click the painting to learn more about its details

Explore Mandalas centraldeitiesmandalapalacelineage lineage2 lineage3 lineage4 outtercircle
Explore Mandalas

Explore Mandalas

Mandala of Guhyasamaja,
Akshobhyavajra
Tibet; 14th century,
Pigments on cloth
F1997.43.1 (HAR 575)

In the Buddhist traditions mandalas represent the
realm of a deity. The word “mandala” means
center and periphery. They can be painted on
cloth or as large wall murals; fashioned from metal,
wood, or stone; or created with color threads or
sand. Sometimes temples are designed as three dimensional
mandalas.

Click the painting to learn more about its details

 

Explore Mandalas
Explore Mandalas

Central Assembly of Deities

The mandala is determined by the main deity or
deities at its center. The central deity is
surrounded by four or eight deities of retinue
within an inner circle.

The deity in the center of this mandala is
Guhyasamaja Akshobhyavajra. Guhyasamaja is
represented in a three face and six handed form.

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Explore Mandalas
Explore Mandalas

Other Deities of the Retinue

The deities further from the center of the mandala
comprise the rest of retinue of the central deity/
deities.

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Explore Mandalas
Explore Mandalas

Mandala Palace

The square structure represents the mandala
palace, within which the central figure and his
retinue reside. The four color coded quadrants of
the mandala correspond to the cardinal directions.
In this mandala yellow represents south, red is
west, green is north and white is east. The Tshaped
structures, placed on each of the four sides
of the mandala palace, represent entrance gates.
Each quadrant usually has its own gatekeeper or
protector deity.

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Explore Mandalas
Explore Mandalas

Outer Circles

The outer part of the mandala consists of several
concentric circles. The outermost of these circles
is usually a ring of flames that represent the
blazing wisdom that dispels and burns negative
forces.

The inner concentric circle is made of lotus petals
and represents a large lotus flower that supports
the whole mandala.

Often in other mandalas a protective circle
representing an indestructible barrier made of
vajras is depicted between these two.

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Explore Mandalas
Explore Mandalas

Lineage Figures

Often shown in a horizontal register of a mandala,
this uncommon arrangement shows twelve figures
portray masters of the transmission lineage of the
tantric teachings centered on deity, Guhyasamaja
Akshobhyavajra.

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