Mandala Meaning and Symbolism
Mandalas are geometric symbols and patterns used for religious and spiritual purposes, most often in South Asian and Japanese cultures. These patterns are thought to represent certain deities in South Asian religions, including Ganesh and Saraswati, and are also used in Shinto rituals in Japan.
The term ‘mandala’ means ‘circle’, which is also the most common form in which they are drawn. Circles are very symbolic in ancient cultures and religions, usually meaning rebirth, eternity, and the cyclical nature of existence.
Geometric patterns are used as a way to symbolize the relationship between the spirit and the universe, as well as a deeper connection with oneself and with the universe at large. They were thought to be symbolic of the spiritual self, and psychologists like Carl Jung thought they also linked to the psychological self due to their use in building self-awareness.
In modern spirituality, sacred geometry and mandalas have become an important tool for meditation. Due to their beauty, they have also become common in fashion and decor.
Mandalas are also popularly used in various forms of art – including tattoos!
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Mandala Tattoo Designs
These symbols feature across various styles of tattooing. In each design, mandalas carry their own meaning.
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While forearm mandala tattoos are some of the most popular, these gorgeous designs work beautifully on the shoulder as well.
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Since becoming popular in the spiritual community as a meditation tool, mandalas have now been adapted for use as in relaxation, concentration, and self-awareness exercises in the mental health community as well.
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Some modern tattoo designs use mandala patterns quite creatively. Extensive pieces like this dotwork floral mandala tattoo work best on the back, as this gives you a much larger canvas to work with.
Some tattoo designs also stray from the more popular circle mandalas, using the geometric patterns in more abstract ways.
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Other designs go back to the cultural and religious roots of mandalas, incorporating deities, such as Ganesh and Shiva, into the design. Such tattoos can be as extensive or as minimal as you want them to be.
This mandala tattoo uses simple linework and dotwork.
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If you like this tattoo and are looking for more minimalist tattoo ideas, check out Aliens Tattoo Studio: The Essence of Minimalism
You can also take inspiration from similar geometric patterns found in Asia, such as the South Indian Kolam, when designing your tattoo.
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Mandalas are also incorporated into designs inspired by henna designs, floral patterns, and jewelry. Ornamental tattoos often feature mandala patterns nestled between some gorgeous decorative designs.
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After reading about how religious symbols like mandalas can inspire some amazing tattoo designs, check out how tattoos changed Rajesh’s life from our Tattoos and Humans series. After that, see how tattoo culture across Asia has changed over time and continues to inspire artists all over the world.
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Looking for more tattoo inspiration? Browse our site!
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Looking for the right tattoo artist? Visit Tattoo Artists in Bangalore: Finding the Best Artists in Town
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