MANDALA ART (2015-) by Art MintMik Woodgate2023-09-15T23:07:58+01:00
MANDALA ART (2015-) by Art Mint
Launched in 2015, Art Mint’s Mandala Art series has continued with a single annual release ever since, growing in sophistication and ambition as time has passed. The series has taken the concept of the mandala, a geometric pattern of squares and/or triangles in a concentric pattern, and applied it to a selection of world cultures, expanding it out from the Sanskrit origins it’s most closely associated with. In truth, the mandala style is an ancient one with use throughout history and with a geographically diverse distribution, from Mesoamerica to the Euphrates Valley.
The first coin stayed focused on the traditional origins of the mandala and set the design ethos for the series to move forward with. These are three-ounce fine silver coins with an antique finish and an inset mineral at their centre. Each annual issue has a distinct cultural flavour or style, with a different insert each time. We’d consider the series to have two distinct stages. The first three coins have plenty of detail and look great, but it’s with the fourth coin, Moresque, that the series really came alive.
That issue brought with it an enhanced level of relief, with plenty of sharply defined detail – something hugely important on what is essentially a geometric design. The following Gothic and Persian issues are simply stunning in both design and realisation. Each is covered in exquisite detailing that is on a whole other level to the debut coin. Gothic is a personal favourite. By contrast, the series has a common obverse consisting of a simple Fijian emblem surrounded by the inscribed issue details.
Last year saw Art Mint issue a special edition to mark the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, sadly almost destroyed in a huge fire that barely saved the age’s old architectural icon. This was limited to just 100 pieces, instead of the usual mintage of 500, and was a reworking of the Gothic release but with the stained-glass reproduction, incorporated to ape the look of Notre Dame’s famous Rose Window. A simply sublime coin and one of the very best of 2019. The series is still going strong, and on its eighth release as of this update. One of the best series in modern numismatics today.
The meaning of mandala comes from Sanskrit, meaning “circle.” It appears in the Rig Veda as the name of the sections of the work, but is also used in many other civilizations, religions and philosophies. Even though it may be dominated by squares or triangles, a mandala has a concentric structure. Mandalas offer balancing visual elements, symbolizing unity and harmony. The meanings of individual mandalas is usually different and unique to each mandala.
The mandala pattern is used in many traditions. In the Americas, Indians have created medicine wheels and sand mandalas. The circular Aztec calendar was both a timekeeping device and a religious expression of ancient Aztecs. In Asia, the Taoist “yin-yang” symbol represents opposition as well as interdependence. Tibetan mandalas are often highly intricate illustrations of religious significance that are used for meditation. From Buddhist stupas to Muslim mosques and Christian cathedrals, the principle of a structure built around a centre is a common architectural theme.
In common use, mandala has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe. Representing the universe itself, a mandala is both the microcosm and the macrocosm, and we are all part of its intricate design. The mandala is more than an image seen with our eyes; it is an actual moment in time. It can be used as a vehicle to explore art, science, religion and life itself. Carl Jung said that a mandala symbolizes “a safe refuge of inner reconciliation and wholeness.” It is “a synthesis of distinctive elements in a unified scheme representing the basic nature of existence.”
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