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Release: Aug. 25, 1999

Tibetan nuns to construct sand sculpture at UI Museum of Art

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Beginning the morning of Thursday, Aug. 26, ten nuns from the Ghakyil Nunnery of Kathmandu, Nepal, will construct a sand mandala in the sculpture court of the University of Iowa Museum of Art. They will continue working until the mandala is finished on Tuesday, Sept. 7, when it will be ritually dismantled.

There will be a brief introduction and information session at the Museum, with the nuns available to answer questions, at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 29. During their visit to Iowa City the nuns will also present a performance of sacred music and dance at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7 in Macbride Hall Auditorium.

A sand mandala is a geometric design, drawn in colored sand that represents the celestial palace of a particular emanation of the Buddha. The process of creating a sand mandala is considered a meditation. People often return day after day to watch the mandala progress from its center to the outer walls. On the final day, as a lesson in impermanence, the mandala is swept up and carried in procession to be poured into a nearby body of water.

Tickets for the Sept. 7 performance in Macbride Hall will be $10 for adults and $5 for children and will be available in advance at Prairie Lights bookstore in downtown Iowa City. Tickets will also be available at the door.