Himalayan Art Resources

Mandala: Deity Figures & Shapes

Mandala: Iconography

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Description (below)
- Deity Figures within a Mandala
--- Symmetrical/Concentric
--- Asymmetrical
--- Complex Multi-Mandalas
--- Upright-figure Mandalas
- Shape, Form & Composition
--- Round
--- Square
--- Semi-circular
--- Triangular
- Four Activities & Deity Colours
- Confusions
- Others...

Most deity mandalas are symmetrical and consist of one or more concentric circles within a square enclosure surrounded by a circle of various elements characterized by colours and shapes. Very good examples of this are the many variations of the Chakrasamvara and Kalachakra mandalas.

Asymmetrical mandalas refers to the arrangement of deities within the circle and square enclosure. This type of arrangement is not common and only a few examples can be found primarily under the Charya Tantra classification.

Complex Multi-mandalas are compositions where there are several smaller mandalas within a larger superstructure mandala. The additional smaller mandalas are generally five, six or nine in number.

Square Mandalas are generally mandalas that are depicted by an artist with only the square palace and the deities within. The outer rings of the lotus, vajras and flames are omitted. The Medicine Buddha Mandala is an example of a mandala that is commonly depicted with only the deities and the celestial palace.

Jeff Watt 8-2022

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