Himalayan Art Resources

Mandala: Shape, Form & Composition

Mandala: Art History

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Mandala-like Circular Forms Outline
- The Structural Iconography of Buddhist Mandalas
- Tetrahedron Mandalas (Rinchen Terdzo)
- Peaceful & Wrathful Circle Mandalas
- Mandalas Per Composition
- Confusions
- Others...

The examples below are all for deity/figurative mandalas. Some of the forms do not actually depict a figure but rather a symbol to represent the deity. Generally mandalas by definition are circular with either a square, semi-circle, triangle or tetrahedron shaped palace at the center. In the center of the palace on a lotus and dais is one or more deities arranged in a circle or square surrounding the central figure. The images below are a selection of the various types of mandalas along with the common composition formats. One mandala per painted composition is the most standard. When creating sets of mandalas based on texts such as the Vajravali or Mitra Gyatso collections then multiple mandalas might be arranged within a single composition. The Sakya tradition would often create sets with four mandalas per composition.

Jeff Watt 11-2019 [Updated 1-2020]

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).