The sacred hum symbol is at the heart of this mandala. Thick, white strokes of the brush against a scarlet-coloured circlet. Painted in the Tibetan script, it is the final syllable of the Shadakshari Avalokiteshvara mantra, which is extracted from the Mahayana Karandavyuhasootra and is considered the moola (fundamental) mantra of Buddhism. Against the cobalt blue of the surrounding circle, its sacred syllables are inscribed in delicate gold letters. It reads om mani padme hum.
Around the blue-and-scarlet pistil are flame-coloured petals totalling eight in number. Eight is a significant number - on the surface of each petal is painted one of the all-important ashtamangala symbols. Ashtamangala is a portmanteau of the Sanskrt words ‘ashta’ (eight) and ‘mangala’ (auspiciousness) and comprises, among other things, the infinity knot and the conch and the lotus. Solid blue and pink petals complete the image of the lotus.
A deep blue gradient fills up the circular space between the petals and the concentric gold diskettes. The same is superimposed with sacred Tibetan letters and miniature motifs in dense gold colour. The inner edge of the mandala is packed with lotus petal motifs infused with green and crimson, while the outer edge features a complex, filigree-like handiwork. Framed by natural bouquets of gold and pink, such a mandala thangka would be a colourful addition to the personal space of any devotee.
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