This is a mandala spirit cloth from Burma.
These were commissioned by families of means and used for meditation at home. They are believed to have healing and protective power and to bring good luck to the owner. Their power could be enhanced by being folded and worn on the shoulder of a monk under robes. Creating them was time intensive as each section is worked on days considered to be auspicious. A complete piece could take several months to finish. First, the Buddha image was painted at the center along with the circles around the piece. Other figures are added on auspicious dates.
The mandala itself symbolizes the Wheel of Law and the endless cycle of rebirth. Buddha at the center is a representation of moral discipline. The circles of monks, spirit guardians all show obedience to Buddha. The rings dividing circles represent spokes of wisdom. Rotating around the mandala are monk followers, cosmic forces, mythical humans, animals and protective spirits. There are also charts and incantations.
There is soiling in some parts, however, the images are intact and retain their original beauty.
Painted on a RARE Paper-like waxed or oiled cloth. Most others including published examples are painted on regular mill loomed cotton. This is an unusual feature and deserves further research.
36 x 36 inches. (without framing that has been added subsequently)
Yellowed with age.
Saturated colors in the paints
Absolutely ravishing icons all over.
Estimated to be from the 1800s or earlier
Pieces such as this one will be impossible to find again!