Mandalas are maps of Buddhist visionary worlds.
Minutely detailed and saturated with philosophical meaning, these works (most often paintings or sculptures) are a feast for the eyes and the mind—nested squares and circles are arrayed to represent the center of the cosmos and the four cardinal directions. For Buddhist practitioners, however, mandalas are not just images to view, but worlds to enter—after recreating the image in their mind’s eye, meditators imaginatively enter its realm.
But is it possible to have this experience without years of meditative discipline?
Enter the Mandala says yes. In this exhibition, 14th-century paintings align a gallery with the cardinal directions, transforming open space into an architectural mandala—a chance to experience the images in three dimensions, to dwell in the midst of the cosmic symbols and be transported to another world. Visitors can literally “enter the mandala,” exploring places in the cosmos—and perhaps themselves—that might otherwise remain invisible.