Tuesday, September 13, 2016
The Artwork of India : Making Mandalas
There are many interpretations of Mandalas. They have roots in both the Hindu and Buddhist religions. But when I teach about Mandalas, I find no need to delve into those roots to enjoy the beauty of this radial art form.
I see the Mandala as an art form using patterns. Because they utilize patterns, even small children can enjoy creating them. Indian patterns often use nature in their artwork. You can see the peacock feather and the lotus blossom repeated over and over in many of their designs. Ancient Indian art seem to value an almost Mondrian style of mathematical balance, proportion and perfection in their work.
Children can appreciate using balance in art, even at young ages. So when we made our mandala art project, it wasn't just my son and I: we roped in his 4 year old sister to join the fun.
We gathered up items from our pantry: quinoa, chia seeds, rice, pasta...and then we burrowed into our craft drawer and brought out small gems, beads, anything small enough to work in our designs.
We began by talking about the nature inspired patterns of Indian art. We looked at mandala images and found the repeating patterns, and noted how they seem to be radial images that began from the heart, and moved outward.
Then, we began from the center of our paper plates, with glue and our various materials. To start, I manipulated the glue at their direction, and they set down their materials.
The designs became more complex as they moved outward from the center.
Soon, my son was handling the glue himself as he began to grasp the understanding that patterns produce complexity as they go.
In fact, he was enjoying the design he was creating so much, he wanted to just keep on going.
The real fun of this kind of art was that there was no real need to begin with a picture of something in your head. Rather, you kept building upon the pattern you started with and were mesmerized at what you created as you went along.
Such an easy craft and yet the finished products seem complex and beautiful.
It's no wonder that creating mandalas is now a useful tool in therapy. Don't miss out on including this delightful craft in your Ancient Indian History Unit.
The end results are incredibly rewarding!
If you enjoyed this post, don't forget to download our free "Indus River Valley" packet from our store:
And check out our other posts about Ancient India:
1. FREE activity for "The Hunter and The Quail", an ancient Indian fable:
2. The Indus River Valley Introduction