yantra (Painting)

About this object

History of use

Yantras are geometric paintings, forms of symbolic art with high spiritual content. Essentially, these Hindu tantric paintings are tools for contemplation and visualization practices, serving as substitutes for anthropomorphic images of Hindu deities. The tantrika or sadhaka, the practitioner, performs sadhana, or worship, that consists of repeated rituals and meditations using tantric texts, ritual chants (mantras) and yantra paintings. Essential to these images is the notion that by meditation on anything as the self, one becomes that, this yantra is not secular artwork but a path toward truth and self-realization both for the maker and spectator.


This yantra is from the Kali mandir, or temple, in Harinagar, Bihar.

Iconographic meaning

A yantra for Sri Kartavira.

Physical description

Hindu Tantric painting, or yantra. Small, square shaped painting of geometric design. Light yellow centre with twelve radiating orange petals on a medium yellow square with four symmetrical t-shapes emerging from each side of the square. Unpainted l-shapes in corners. Dark pink edging painted around entire border. All figures outlined in black. Hindi script written on the back.