the ART of INDIA

the ART of INDIA

an overview of the ART of INDIA >

Indian art consists of a variety of art forms, including paintingsculpturepottery, and textile arts such as woven silk. Geographically, it spans the entire Indian subcontinent, including what is now IndiaPakistanBangladeshSri LankaNepal, and at times eastern Afghanistan. A strong sense of design is characteristic of Indian art and can be observed in its modern and traditional forms.

The origin of Indian art can be traced to prehistoric settlements in the 3rd millennium BCE. On its way to modern times, Indian art has had cultural influences, as well as religious influences such as HinduismBuddhismJainismSikhism and Islam. In spite of this complex mixture of religious traditions, generally, the prevailing artistic style at any time and place has been shared by the major religious groups.

In historic art, sculpture in stone and metal, mainly religious, has survived the Indian climate better than other media and provides most of the best remains. Many of the most important ancient finds that are not in carved stone come from the surrounding, drier regions rather than India itself. Indian funeral and philosophic traditions exclude grave goods, which is the main source of ancient art in other cultures.

Indian artist styles historically followed Indian religions out of the subcontinent, having an especially large influence in TibetSouth East Asia and China. Indian art has itself received influences at times, especially from Central Asia and Iran, and Europe.


elephants | słonie | فیل ها | ਹਾਥੀ | 象 | փղեր | пилдер

elephants | słonie | فیل ها | ਹਾਥੀ | 象 | փղեր | пилдер

Elephants create a stable environment. They’re smarter than most of us. They can differentiate between human voices and they are also the largest land animal on the planet. They are, as a species, among a handful who can recognize themselves in a reflection.

They also love music.

O! And they’re freakin’ awesome.

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Elephants are featured as important deities in several belief-systems: Buddhism, Hinduism, unorthodox and other split factions which accounts for an overwhelming number.

Large and In Charge

From what I can tell, Ganesh is kinda your happy buddy who’s always good to be around. Not sure what happens when you piss him off. He is a big boy.

the POWER of the MANDALA

the POWER of the MANDALA


“I sketched every morning in a notebook a small circular drawing … which seemed to correspond to my inner situation at the time. … Only gradually did I discover what the mandala really is: … the Self, the wholeness of the personality, which if all goes well, is harmonious.
— Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, pp. 195–196.”

The word mandala means “circle” in Sanskrit and is the name given to geometric patterns that Buddhists have used in the practice of meditation for centuries.

Jung and Mandala

Carl Jung, the renowned Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, had a deep fascination with mandalas. He considered them to be powerful symbols of wholeness and individuation, representing the integration of the conscious and unconscious aspects of the self. According to Jung, mandalas can be seen as archetypal images that emerge from the collective unconscious, reflecting the universal patterns of human experience.

For Jung, mandalas served as a tool for self-exploration and self-transformation. He often encouraged his patients to create mandalas as a means of accessing and expressing the unconscious. By engaging in the process of creating a mandala, individuals could gain insight into their own psyche, discover hidden aspects of themselves, and achieve a sense of harmony and balance.

Jung believed that the circular and symmetrical design of mandalas had a calming and stabilizing effect on the psyche. They represented a microcosm of the universe and symbolized the unity of all things. Mandalas can be found across different cultures and religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and Native American traditions, each with their own unique interpretations and spiritual significance.

Today, mandalas continue to be used as tools for meditation, self-reflection, and personal growth. Creating or coloring mandalas can be a therapeutic practice, allowing individuals to relax, focus their attention, and tap into their inner wisdom. Whether you appreciate them for their rich symbolism, artistic beauty, or meditative qualities, mandalas offer a profound way to connect with the deeper aspects of ourselves and the universe we inhabit.

Examples of mandala can be found in all the ancient cultures. We find it in Christianity under the form of frescos with animal images representing apostles (and the zodiac). The astrologic zodiac and its versions are examples of mandala. Also, in the Indian spiritual practices we find fascinating examples of mandala, with symbols of the local pantheon.

In yoga practices, mandala can be a support for meditation or an image that must be internalized through mental absorption. This image organizes the inner energies and forces of the practitioner and puts them in relationship with his ego-consciousness.

Brief History of Mandalas

Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was born in the region now known as Nepal. Though there is no confirmed date of his birth, historians believe it to be around 560 B.C. It is understood that Gautama left his kingdom after becoming aware of human suffering, where he sought to attain enlightenment through meditation and thoughtful action. He began to preach his philosophy across parts of India, where he gained devout followers and eventually established the first sangha, Buddhist community of monks.

As these Buddhist monks travelled the Silk Road, an ancient network of trade routes that connected the East and West, they brought Buddhism to other lands. They carried mandalas with them and brought the practice of painting these spiritual compositions to other parts of Asia, appearing in regions such as Tibet, China, and Japan by the 4th century. Though rooted in Buddhism, mandalas soon became present in Hinduism and other religious practices. Painters of the spiritual craft were often pious laymen, who were commissioned by a patron. They worked seated on the floor with a painting propped in their laps or in front of their crossed legs.

Types of Mandalas

There are various types of mandalas found in different cultures and used for a multitude of purposes, both artistically and spiritually. Below are three main types of mandalas and how they are used.

1. Teaching Mandala
Teaching mandalas are symbolic, and each shape, line, and color represents a different aspect of a philosophical or religious system. The student creates his or her own mandala based on principles of design and construction, projecting a visual symbolization of everything they have learned. Teaching mandalas serve as colorful, mental maps for their creators.

2. Healing Mandala
Healing mandalas are more intuitive than teaching mandalas, and they are made for the purpose of meditation. Healing mandalas are intended to deliver wisdom, evoke feelings of calm, and channel focus and concentration.

3. Sand Mandala
Buddhist monks and Navajo cultures have long used sand mandalas as a traditional, religious element. These intricate designs use a variety of symbols made from colored sand that represent the impermanence of human life.

Structures of Mandalas

In its most common form, the mandala appears as a series of concentric circles, its deities housed in a square structure with four elaborate gates, sometimes described as a four-sided palace or temple. Beginning with the outer circles, one often finds the following structure: a ring of fire, frequently depicted as a stylized scrollwork, which symbolizes the process of transformation necessary to enter the sacred territory within. This is followed by a ring of thunderbolt or diamond scepters (vajra), indicating the diamond-like, unchangeable nature of the mandala’s spiritual realms

The structure of a mandala typically consists of concentric circles with a central point. Here is a breakdown of the different elements commonly found in the structure of a mandala:

  1. Outer Circles: Mandalas usually have multiple concentric circles, starting from the outermost circle and moving inwards towards the center.
  2. Gateways: Within the circle, there are often four elaborate gateways or entrances, positioned at the four cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west). These gateways symbolize the entrance to a sacred space.
  3. Square Structure: The gateways are usually enclosed within a square structure. This square represents stability and order, providing a foundation for the mandala’s design.
  4. Inner Circles: As you move closer to the center, you’ll find additional circles with different patterns and motifs. These inner circles may contain intricate geometric designs, sacred symbols, deities, or other representations.
  5. Central Point: At the very center of the mandala, there is often a focal point or central image. This could be a deity, a symbol, or a geometric pattern that represents the essence of the mandala’s theme or purpose.
  6. Symmetry: Mandalas are known for their symmetrical design. The elements within the mandala are usually mirrored or repeated in a balanced and harmonious way, creating a sense of order and unity.

The overall structure of a mandala is intended to create a visual representation of balance, harmony, and wholeness. It is believed that by meditating on a mandala or creating one, individuals can achieve a sense of inner peace and spiritual connection.

Cosmological Mandala with Mount Meru

14th century

The elaborate tapestry-woven mandala, or cosmic diagram, illustrates Indo-Himalayan imagery introduced to China along with the advent of Esoteric Buddhism. At the center is the mythological Mount Meru, represented by an inverted pyramid topped by a lotus, a Buddhist symbol of purity. Traditional Chinese images for the sun (three-legged bird) and moon (rabbit) appear at the mountain’s base. The landscape vignettes at the cardinal directions represent the four continents of Indian mythology but follow the artistic conventions of Chinese-style “blue-and-green” landscapes. The dense floral border, with the four vases in the four corners, parallels the imagery of central Tibet, particularly monasteries with ties to the Yuan court.




The diversity of the world’s largest national population is astounding.

122 languages, including the planet’s oldest language: Hindi. 12 religions. 1.408 billion people (est. 2021). 29 states.

This pluralism nurtures an insane wealth of art and cultural expression. Arguably, this is the creative soul of Earth. is exploring this rich history. And we’re here to share our very fundamental, simple understanding of its expressions, its forms and what it says to us now in the 21st century.

Below are some of the genres of Indian art that we gleaned from


Madhubani paintings are the most celebrated style of folk painting from India; it is a form of wall art that arises in the Mithila region of Bihar. This eye-catching art style never fails to amaze one by its beautiful illustrations on the exposed interior walls of the houses in Bihar. Madhubani paintings are a perfect example of artistic expression and evocative portrayal of culture and traditions. The designs make perfectly distinctive geometrical patterns, scenes from mythology, and symbolic images. The perfect blend of bright vibrant colours and unique patterns make Madhubani stand out from other painting styles. Katchni, Tantrik, Bharni, Khobar, and Godna are five different styles of Madhubani paintings.


Warli is a 2500-year-old traditional painting style from Maharashtra majorly practiced in Thane and Nashik region. Warli paintings illustrate the nature and social rituals of the tribe. Warli paintings also showcase day-to-day life scenarios of the local people of that particular community just like dancing, farming, hunting, praying, etc. The local women used twigs to draw such beautiful lively designs with rice paste on mud walls to convey the celebration vibes of harvests or weddings.


The Kalighat painting was discovered around the mid-19th century at Kali Temple in Calcutta. These paintings and drawings were done on paper by a community known as “patuas”. A Kalighat painting depicts scenes of everyday life and mythological deities in a captivating manner. Kalighat artists use subtle earthy Indian colours like indigo, ochre, Indian red, grey, blue and white.


Phad is a traditional Rajasthani scroll painting from India, depicting the stories of local deities, heroic figures from battlefields, adventure stories, and legendary romantic stories on horizontal cloth scrolls with the hues of red, yellow, and bright orange. Phad Painting marvellously portrays multiple stories in a single composition and beautifully maintains the aesthetics of artistic expression.

Miniature / Mughal

Miniature painting is Mughal influenced art form; this style was introduced in India during the 16th century and transformed its identity in the history of Indian art. Miniature paintings are a blend of Islamic, Persian, and Indian elements. These paintings are created using all-natural mineral colours, precious stones, conch shells, gold, and silver. Across India, the miniature style painting has developed its own identity into distinct schools of miniature paintings like Kangra, Rajasthan, Malwa, Pahadi, Mughal, Deccan, etc.


Gond paintings are a series of arranged dots and dashes developed by the Gondi tribe of central India. The tribes used to recreate some famous epic mythological tales of histories to traditional songs and rituals with rich detailing and bright colours. Traditionally, the colours used for gond paintings were derived from natural resources like cow dung, plant sap, charcoal, coloured soil, mud, flowers, leaves, etc. With growing times, the Gond art has moved beyond being a tribal art style.

Kerala Murals

Kerala mural paintings are the most unique art form and have deep spiritual roots depicting themes of Hindu mythologies, epics of the bye-gone era, classic tales of Krishna, and mystic forms of Shiva and Shakti. These traditional art styles are made up of bold strokes, and vivid colours. White, ochre-red, bluish-green, yellow-ochre, and pure colours are predominantly used in Kerala mural painting.


Patachitra is a traditional art form from Odisha. Patachitra paintings are mostly derived from mythological and religious themes done beautifully with bold, strong outlines, vibrant colors like white, red yellow, and black with decorative borders. 


Picchwai artwork was made as wall hangings behind the main deity in Krishna temples in Nathdwara which narrates the stories related to Lord Krishna. Picchwais are the most colorful and intricate work concealed with symbolism in the artistic motifs. This classified devotional art practice has passed from one generation to another and a fine example of spirituality in art.