Artwork takes many forms, from charcoal drawings to oil paintings, clay sculptures to wood carvings. All these types of mediums are durable in a sense, able to last many years if properly cared for. But what would you think of an artist who, after spending weeks on a project, purposefully destroys his masterpiece only a few days after its completion?
That is, in fact, part of the ritual of Tibetan sand mandala, which are symbols in Indian religions, particularly Buddhism, that symbolize the universe. Watch the incredible time-lapse video below of three Tibetan Buddhist monks as they labor away creating one of these beautiful, transient works of art!
The three monks in this video, Khenpo Choephel, Lama Sonam and Dr. Hun Lye, worked on this project together for five days at the Urban Dharma in the state of North Carolina, USA. You see them from the very beginning as they start to plot out the geometric shapes that make up the entire piece, throughout the hours and days they spent, tapping intricate lines and designs of brightly colored sand with their chak pur, traditional Tibetan tools used for creating sand mandala.
▼ Must be hard to resist the urge to stick those on your fingers or pretend to be Wolverine.
Image: Tibetan Dawn
While it is commonly believed that the purpose of sand mandala are to represent impermanence, as the monks of Urban Dharma explained to Taylor Johnson, the talented videographer behind the time-lapse, that is not their main purpose. As explained in the video, sand mandala are created as “containers” for the blessings assimilated upon it which are then, when the mandala are dismantled and ritualistically poured into a river, carried to the ocean and hence throughout the world.
These beautiful works of sand art may be only temporary, but this one at least has been preserved so it can be viewed over again for years to come! You can also view a few close-up shots of the monks in action in Taylor’s other video here.
Source and top image: YouTube/Taylor Taz Johnson – Photographer & Filmmaker