Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information




Asian art

View More:


Triangular Mangala Yantra on a stand

18th century-19th century


Unknown Artist


The 'yantra' sculptures present with seemingly extraordinary simplicity profound spiritual ideologies. Indian religious thought is built around the fundamental principle that all existence emerges from a single point of origin and it is to this point that everything ultimately returns. The central quest of Indian spirituality is to understand the relationship between the individual and universal and to achieve experiential realisation of the One. Sacred diagrams ('yantras') illustrate this fundamental notion in abstract form and, indeed, map out an individual's spiritual journey.

Although 'yantras' make charming display objects they are in fact ritual tools and belong to the Tantric religious tradition of India. By definition, 'yantras' are sacred dwellings or receptacles that contain the essence of a divine being. During a ritual, a practitioner will make special offerings to the deity housed within the 'yantra' and use the diagram as a meditative support to stimulate latent psychosomatic energies.

This 'yantra' consists of two parts: a flat triangular plate and a tripod frame. According to Indian religious thought, the triangle is a symbol of the female principle and denotes primal cosmic energy ('shakti'). The surface of the triangular plate contains a series of inscriptions that may be mantras (sound syllables) that manifest the energy of the deity embodied by the 'yantra'. In Tantric practice, the adherent will meditate on the 'yantra', make ritual offerings to the tripod, and utter the inscribed sonic syllables to evoke the deity, arouse psychic energies, and attain higher spiritual understanding.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, February 2006.

The Mangala Yantra is worshipped for good fortune and success (‘mangala’). The energy of the ‘yantra’ is expressed in the inscribed mantras (Khanna 2003: 18). When the mantras are correctly recited, the ‘yantra’ becomes imbued with deity power.

Jackie Menzies, ‘Goddess: divine energy’, pg.166.
© 2006 Art Gallery of New South Wales


Other Title

Triangular yantra on stand

Place where the work was made



18th century-19th century

Media category


Materials used



4.0 x 14.0 cm


Purchased 2006


Not on display

Accession number



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

  • Tantric Art, Ben Janssens Oriental Art, London, 06 Dec 2005–23 Dec 2005

  • Goddess: Divine Energy, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 13 Oct 2006–28 Jan 2007

The provenance of this work is under review and records will be updated as new details become available. The Gallery welcomes any information. Contact


Ben Janssens Oriental Art, pre 2006, London/England

Referenced in 2 publications


Madhu Khanna, Goddess: Divine Energy, 'Tantric goddess 'yantras' ', pg. 159-171, Sydney, 2006, 166 (colour illus.). 99

Joost Van Den Bergh, Tantric Art, United Kingdom, 2005, (colour illus.).