History of Mandalas

The Mandala — meaning “circle — has been a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the universe, but is also used in other religions and philosophies, going back thousands of years.

Mandalas are also prevalent in the imagery of Christianity. For example: the celtic cross; the rosary; the halo; the aureole; oculi; the Crown of Thorns; rose windows; and the Rosy Cross. It has also been used in the dromenon on the floor of Chartres Cathedral. According to the folklore associated with it, the dromenon represents a spiritual journey from the outer world to the inner sacred center where the Divine can be found.

The mandala has been used in artwork, stained glass windows, and even on blankets, rugs and wall art, throughout most of human history.

In the modern age, the “mandala” has come to represent any diagram, chart, or geometric pattern, within which a circular layout can be observed. Unless the illustrator has added some artistic flair to the design, most mandalas contain a near perfect symmetry in the design.

From ancient times, the basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates — in the general shape of a “T” — containing a circle with a center point.

In recent years, the mandala has been transformed into an art form, where artists create blank-and-white illustrations of a variety of mandala designs, to include inside of coloring books.

Coloring books for adults is now one of the fastest growing genres in the book publishing industry. People of all ages have rediscovered the joy of coloring for fun and relaxation, which has propelled artists and book publishers into a frenzy of coloring book creation activities.