Persian mystical stories and traditional arts’ circular mandala structure
This research will explore the mandala structure in Persian mystical stories and traditional arts and aims to show how Persian mystical stories have a mandala structure in their formation and the Persian art tradition reflects the circle and centre of the universe as a mandala. The word Mandala derives from Sanskrit and represents a way to reach the centre or reach enlightenment. It is a design that symbolizes the cosmic structure and consciousness. A mandala is a mortal imagination of spirituality or immortality and based on its essence associated with sacred art, it can be found in the structure of religious and traditional arts of many different cultures. In all of them the purpose is to strive towards perfection and self- discovery. This magical design is a formula or template of creation, mysticism, myths, epics and even the universe. This research unveils conceptual and pictorial evidence of mandala patterns in traditional Persian arts and Sufi stories. To date, there has not been a lot of academic attention paid to the identification of the spatial structure (both visual and textual) of Persian traditional arts and stories. Persian traditional arts are based on Persian poetry and have been created with the aim of understanding the unity of existence, translating the language of explanation from words to images. By analysing both the texts and images, a similar abstract structure appears which shows concepts such as unity in diversity and diversity in unity, with a convergence towards the centre. This is exactly the pattern in a mandala; a connection and interaction between various elements and forms. The research uses comparative, correlational, heuristic, and content and visual analysis methodologies. The selected Persian traditional arts are analysed using semiotics and based on pictorial historical data. In summary, Persian Sufi stories exhibit the concept of unity, while sacred geometrical Islamic arts of Iran depict many patterns of concentric circles and squares, which also express the concept of unity. This paper presents the correlation between these visual and textual structures according to the concepts of the mandala.
World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies