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Stuck on Tibetan Art

Posted on by Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Gyuto Monks, Tibetan, Yamantaka Sand Mandala, 1991, colored silicate and adhesive on wood, gift of funds from the Gyuto Tantric University; 3M; Construction Materials, Inc.; and the Asian Art Council, Gallery 212

The mandala, or circle of life, is central to the tantric art of contemplation and
reincarnation. Typically made of sand over many days, it frequently meets an inglorious end—to Westerners’ eyes, that is—by being swept away, a metaphor for life’s impermanence. So how are we able to behold this mandala? With the consent of the monks, 3M scientists formulated fade-resistant colored silicates and a special adhesive. To date, nary a grain has come loose.

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