I went to the Rubin Museum of Art in Chelsea over the weekend to see the exhibit The Red Book of C.G. Jung.
“Jung’s fascination with mandalas-Tibetan Buddhist representations of the cosmos used to help reach enlightenment-is evident in these books where mandala structures figure prominently in many sketches and paintings,” according to the museum’s web site. “During the period in which he worked on this book Jung developed his principal theories of archetypes, collective unconscious, and the process of individuation. It is possibly the most influential unpublished work in the history of psychology. More than two-thirds of the large, red, leather-bound manuscript’s pages are filled with Jung’s brightly hued and striking graphic forms paired with his thoughts written in a beautiful, illuminated style.
“Created between 1914 and 1930, the Red Book has never before been seen in public, outside the circle of Jung’s family and very close friends. Alongside the 95-year-old volume are a number of oil, chalk, and tempera paintings and preparatory sketches related to it and other original manuscripts, including the Black Books, which contain ideas and fantasies leading up to the Red Book.”
Read a fascinating account of Jung and his self-induced psychosis here, but as I venture off into my own self-induced hypnotic state, looking at his mandalas, I begin to wonder if Parcheesi, a game that originated in India in 500 BC, started as a mandala.