Tell Me About Mandalas?
One of the new kids on our block in recent times are mandala cross stitch patterns. With their kaleidoscope-style mosaic of vivid colors, they’re proving a real hit with stitchers everywhere.
They can look absolutely stunning when stitched, framed and displayed on a wall and make a natural conversation piece (pun intended).
What IS a Mandala?
In their most basic form, mandalas are circles contained within a square and arranged into sections that are all organized around a single, central point.
Here is a typical example of simple mandala design:
Since the concept of mandala and mandalas is not widely known, we feel a bit of background on the history of mandalas is worth including.
A Brief History of Mandalas
The term Mandala has a religious origin and came from the Sanskript language (an ancient Indo-Aryan language going as far back as 1500 BC) and describes a disc or circle. A mandala is a circular figure, which represents the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism.
Having been around for a very long time, mandalas can be found in other religions too, where they can play a greater or lesser influential role.
The three most common types of mandalas are the teaching, healing, and sand mandalas. While it’s clear what the purpose is of the first two types, sand mandalas are unique in that their meaning lies in both their creation and destruction.
Patterns are carefully formed on the ground and can take weeks to create. Shortly after its completion, the mandala is destroyed to align with the Buddhist belief that “Nothing is permanent“.
Today mandalas are typically produced on paper or cloth, drawn on a surface with threads, or even fashioned in bronze, or built in stone.
It’s way beyond the scope of this article to describe mandalas and their symbolism fully, so if you’d like to know more, check out a more rounded explanation online here.
What are the main mandala colors?
Formal colors have long been associated with mandalas. In early Tibetan Buddhism, the Mahavairochana-Sūtra (The “Great Illuminator Sūtra) said the mandala should be painted in five colors, following a prescribed path from the center outwards to the exterior. The five colors and their meanings:
- White: (meaning: Openness)
- Red: (Power, the life force)
- Yellow: (Humility)
- Blue: (Infinity, Purity, and Life)
- Black: (Darkness.)
That being said, other colors like green, orange and violet and gold are often found throughout Buddhist imagery like the Tibetan mandala. Note their similarity to the ‘rainbow’.
Why Have Mandalas Become So Popular?
Children’s coloring books and patterns have been around for hundreds of years. However, more recently there’s been a world-wide growth in adult coloring patterns.
It’s widely acclaimed this is due in the main to them being both soothing and addictive. In fact, Tibetan Buddhists believe the mandala’s purpose is to help transform ordinary minds into enlightened ones and to assist with mental healing.
The sheer concentration and enjoyment of coloring or stitching mandala cross stitch patterns lets an adult briefly ‘escape’ from life’s pressures, which of course is great for re-charging your personal batteries.
A major component of patterns for adults is the wide range of design types; one of which is the mandala. Their main attraction being their logical layout and colorful, symmetrical design.
What’s Unique About Mandala Cross Stitch Patterns?
To explain the concept, here’s a short video on mandala cross stitch patterns we found for you:
Hopefully that cleared up any puzzles or doubts you had on whether you’d like to stitch a personalized mandala cross stitch pattern yourself.
A lot of the free mandala cross stitch patterns you’ll find online use black thread only.
However, you can set yourself a challenge here by checking what you’ve got in your stash and then using gel pens, crayons or markers to design a unique color scheme for yourself by coloring in quarter of the pattern.
That would leave the remaining three quarters of the pattern for up to three alternative color designs.
A completed mandala cross stitch pattern can be highly striking and if stitched with bold contrasting colors can become the focal point in any room
A mandala cross stitch pattern makes a great first project for a beginner stitcher being not too taxing but complex enough to keep them interested.
Mandala cross stitch kits, containing everything you need for stitching the project, are easy to find online and relatively inexpensive.
If you already enjoy stitching mandala cross stitch patterns, please tell us about the experiences you’ve had, including any problems you encountered and how you overcame them.
I answer all emails received, so if you’ve any stories, comments or questions – please feel free to send them this way.
’til next time – believe in yourself.