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Sand Mandala

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Sand Mandala

My visit to the USC Pacific Asia Museum was very enlightening and educational. I went in the middle of the day and it was not crowded which made my visit more peaceful and serene. I started the tour by visiting rooms that represented different countries around Asia such as China, Korea and Japan. As I exited the building, I entered a serene garden which had a table with different articles for sale such as poems, jewelry and various types of hand made items created by monks. This led me to a stairway in the auditorium where the monk sand exhibition was being held.

Monks from Karnataka, India and the Drepung Gomang Institute were creating a sand mandala over the course of five days. It is a beautiful peace of artwork that is simply breathtaking. The precise formation of the design is spectacular. The monks displayed a great pride in their art work but with such grace. They carefully created the sand mandala using different colored sand. They chose a color and placed it inside a funnel instrument called a chakpur which is shaped similar to a clarinet. They would use a wand to tap on the funnel and a small amount of sand would exit the funnel to create the design they desired. There were a total of 4 monks designing the mandala. They were using masks around their mouths to provide protection from air blowing the sand away since they were very close to the mandala design. The monks would rotate through out the day with 4 monks always working on the mandala. The room was quiet and a sense of peace and tranquility filled the room.

If I had to summarize my overall experience in one word, it would be Serene. I felt a sense of tranquility and peace through out the museum especially in the sand mandala exhibition. I highly recommend the museum as it portrays much of what is discussed in our course through their art work displayed such as painting, statues and other artifacts pertaining to Asia.

For those of you interested in experiencing this exhibition, there is still time! The museum will have monks working on the mandala all throughout Saturday (11-8-14) till closing and the final dissolution ceremony will be on Sunday (11-9-14) at 3:30pm. This is when the monks sweep away the sand mandala and distribute the sand to those present at the ceremony.
edited by janetgarcia on 11/8/2014