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Mandalas. The word “mandala” is from the Indian language of Sandskrit. It means “circle”. Mandalas represent wholeness and can be seen as a model of the structure of life itself. This pattern is found in nature.

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Mandalas represent wholeness and can be seen as a model of the structure of life itself.

This pattern is found in nature.


Bilateral Symmetry: The most common type of symmetry. A figure that can be folded in such a way that one-half of it lies exactly on the other half


Radial Symmetry: symmetrical arrangement of constituents, especially of radiating parts, about a central point


The circle with a center is the basic structure of the mandala. This type of design is called “radial” balance.

Tibetan Sand Mandala

aztec calendar
Aztec Calendar
  • Timekeeping
  • Religious uses
what is a mandala
What is a Mandala?
  • Originated in Tibet 2000 years ago
    • Tibetans use it to calm themselves and think about the meaning of life
  • Intricately illustrated
  • Used for meditation
  • Show individual or cultural uniqueness
  • Many cultures use it
    • Aztec
    • Asia
    • Native Americans
native americans
Native Americans

Medicine wheels

Sand painting


When the mandala has been completed and its purpose served, the time for dismantling it has arrived. The sands are swept up from the outside toward the center, thus symbolizing how in old age and at the time of death everything once more returns to the source at the center of the heart. The sands are swept up and carried in a vase to a nearby body of water where they are deposited.


Mandala is Sanskrit for "whole world" or "healing circle".

It is a representation of the universe and everything that ever was and will be.

Khyil-khor is the Tibetan word for mandala meaning "center of the Universe in which a fully awakened being abides."Circles suggest wholeness, return, healing, order, unity, the womb, completion and eternity. The mandala, or circular pattern is used in most forms of religion, prayer and meditation.

Native Americans used many circular, mandala expressions in their ceremonies. The Navajos (and some others) made sand paintings used for healing and blessing. They always were enclosed in some form of a circle. Native American healing rituals honored the spiritual, emotional, psychological, and physical needs of each person, usually in that order. The environment around people is what created their personal "mandala". The use of circles is also expressed in the medicine wheels of many tribes.

Mandalas can be found in science, religion and art. Spider webs, planets, and the rings found in tree trunks all reflect the primal mandala pattern. The "circle with a center" pattern is the basic structure of life, the cell, that is found in all of creation.

what is a symbol
What is a symbol?
  • A picture that means many things like….:
taoist yin yang symbol
Taoist Yin-Yang Symbol
  • To show opposition and interdependence
why a circle
Why a circle?
  • What are some things a circle can symbolize or represent?
why a circle1
Why a circle?
  • Represents harmony and wholeness of life
    • Universal shape: eye, sun snowflake, moon, circle of friends, the atom, cells, nucleus
  • A simple representation of WHO YOU ARE
    • Using symbols that represent you
      • Peace, love, friendship, etc
  • Close your eyes
  • Picture the scenes I’m going to describe
  • Open when I say
  • Write or draw what you thought about
visualization 1
Visualization #1
  • Think about a significant day in your life.
    • Who was there?
    • Where were you?
    • What was happening?
    • Why is the day so important to you?
visualization 2
Visualization #2
  • Think about a series of favorite locations of your childhood.
  • Why is each place special? What does it represent?
    • Dad’s lap?
    • Grandma’s kitchen stool
    • A secret hiding place under a tree
visualization 3
Visualization #3
  • Envision the people closest to you.
    • Who are they?
    • See their faces
    • View their actions
    • What have they done or what do they do that makes them special?
visualization 4
Visualization #4
  • Think about the objects in your life that are most important to you.
    • What are they?
    • Feel yourself holding them
    • How do they make you feel?
    • Where did you get them?
    • Why are they special?
visualization 5
Visualization #5
  • Think about a difficult time in your life.
    • What was going on?
    • Why were you struggling?
    • Who was there to help you?
    • How did you respond the challenge?
visualization 6
Visualization #6
  • See your life as a journey.
    • What does it look like?
      • Bumpy road
      • River
  • Where did the journey begin?
  • Where has it led you?
  • Where is it heading?
  • How has the trip been
  • What part was really important, a defining moment?
the meaning of color red
The Meaning of Color-Red
  • Red is the color of fire. It is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination and love.
  • Red is a very emotionally intense color. It enhances human metabolism, increases respiration rate, and raises blood pressure. It has very high visibility, which is why stop signs, stoplights, and fire equipment are usually painted red. It is a color found in many national flags.
  • Red brings text and images to the foreground. Use it as an accent color to stimulate people to make quick decisions; it is a perfect color for \'Buy Now\' or \'Click Here\' buttons on Internet banners and websites. Red is widely used to indicate danger (high voltage signs, traffic lights).
the meaning of color orange
The Meaning of Color-Orange
  • Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics. Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, and encouragement.
  • To the human eye, orange is a very hot color, so it gives the sensation of heat. Nevertheless, orange is not as aggressive as red. Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity. As a citrus color, orange is associated with healthy food and stimulates appetite. Orange is the color of fall and harvest.
  • Orange has very high visibility, so you can use it to catch attention and highlight the most important elements of your design.
the meaning of color yellow
The Meaning of Color-Yellow
  • Yellow is the color of sunshine. It\'s associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy.
  • Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates muscle energy. Yellow is often associated with food. Bright, pure yellow is an attention getter, which is the reason taxicabs are painted this color. When overused, yellow may have a disturbing effect; it is known that babies cry more in yellow rooms. Yellow is seen before other colors when placed against black; this combination is often used to issue a warning.
  • Use yellow to evoke pleasant, cheerful feelings. Yellow is very effective for attracting attention, so use it to highlight the most important elements of your design. Shades of yellow are visually unappealing because they loose cheerfulness and become dingy.

The Meaning of Color-Green

Green is the color of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, and freshness. Green has strong emotional correspondence with safety. Dark green is also commonly associated with money.

Green has great healing power. It is the most restful color for the human eye; it can improve vision. Green suggests stability and endurance. Sometimes green denotes lack of experience; for example, a \'greenhorn\' is a novice. Green, as opposed to red, means safety; it is the color of free passage in road traffic.

Green is directly related to nature, so you can use it to promote \'green\' products. Dull, darker green is commonly associated with money, the financial world, banking, and Wall Street.

Dark green is associated with ambition, greed, and jealousy. Olive green is the traditional color of peace.

the meaning of color blue
The Meaning of Color-Blue
  • Blue is the color of the sky and sea. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, and truth.
  • Blue is considered beneficial to the mind and body. It slows human metabolism and produces a calming effect. Blue is strongly associated with tranquility and calmness.
  • Blue is used to promote products and services related to cleanliness (water purification filters, cleaning liquids), air and sky (airlines, airports, air conditioners), water and sea (sea voyages, mineral water).
  • When used together with warm colors like yellow or red, blue can create high-impact, vibrant designs; for example, blue-yellow-red is a perfect color scheme for a superhero.
the meaning of color purple
The Meaning of Color-Purple
  • Purple combines the stability of blue and the energy of red. Purple is associated with royalty. It symbolizes power, nobility, luxury, and ambition. It conveys wealth and extravagance. Purple is associated with wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic.
  • According to surveys, almost 75 percent of pre-adolescent children prefer purple to all other colors. Purple is a very rare color in nature; some people consider it to be artificial.
the meaning of color white
The Meaning of Color-White
  • White is associated with light, goodness, and innocence. It is considered to be the color of perfection.
  • White means safety, purity, and cleanliness. As opposed to black, white usually has a positive connotation. White can represent a successful beginning.
  • White is associated with hospitals, doctors, and sterility. White is also often associated with low weight, low-fat food, and dairy products.
the meaning of color black
The Meaning of Color-Black
  • Black is associated with power, elegance, death, evil, and mystery.
  • Black is a mysterious color associated with fear and the unknown (black holes). Black denotes strength and authority; it is considered to be a very formal, elegant, and prestigious color (black tie event).
  • Black gives the feeling of perspective and depth. When designing for a gallery of art or photography, you can use a black or gray background to make the other colors stand out. Black contrasts well with bright colors. Combined with red or orange – other very powerful colors – black gives a very aggressive color scheme.
all mandalas have the following features
All Mandalas have the following features:
  • A center: the middle
  • 2. Cardinal point: points of the compass (north, south, east, and west)

3. And some form of symmetry: exactly similar parts facing each other or around an axis.

you will create your own mandala
You will create your own Mandala
  • 1. Brainstorm ideas on a page for images and symbols that express aspects of you, your inner self, values and ideas about your world.
  • 2. Plan and sketch your design using Radial Balance: A form of symmetry in which all elements radiate out from a center point in a circular fashion. 3. With your plan complete, lightly draw in pencil on your 9 x 9 in. sq. paper and fill with color using color pencil and markers.
  • The significance of objects within a Mandala are conveyed by shape, size, and color; they can be abstract designs or specific images of people, places, and ideas that are central in your life.

Your Assignment:

  • Using a compass, ruler, pencil and eraser, create a radial symmetry design based on 6-sides.
  • Use ALL of these elements of art to enhance your work:
  • Media: colored pencil and Pen/Ink or a Fine Point Sharpie.

You will be assessed on:

~incorporating at least 3 symbols that represent you, your beliefs or values important to you.

~your overall planning and designing a mandala with radial balance (Radial Balance: A form of symmetry in which all elements radiate out from a center point in a circular fashion.)

~creativity and originality of your design and incorporation of symbols demonstrating the understanding of a Mandala

~respecting your work, and that of others.

~respecting tools, materials, supplies and actively participating in clean up


In a good paragraph--Compare and contrast the two images below. Remember to begin with elements and move to principles of art.