From AnthroWiki
Christ as Majestas Domini in his mandorla, surrounded by the Evangelist symbols (ivory on wood, Cologne 13th century)

Mandorla (Italian for "almond") is a technical term from art history that describes a gloriole or aura around an entire figure. This distinguishes it from the halo, for example. The mandorla is usually almond-shaped as the intersection of two equal-sized circles (→ vesica piscis), but can also be circular or elliptical, especially in early forms. In circular form, it is also called an aureole or aureola (from Latinaurea "golden"). The mandorla of the Christ is occasionally filled with images of the higher spiritual hierarchies belonging to him.

Mandorlas have appeared in European sacred art since the 5th century AD. They are interpreted as an expression of the light or salvation symbolism of a (divine) figure. On icons, especially of the newer Greek style from about 1900 onwards, intricate mandorlas are often very prominent. In Christian sacred art, only the Christ and Mary are depicted with the mandorla. However, the representation of the mandorla is also frequently found in Eastern cultural circles, for example in images of the Buddha.

This article is partly based on the article Mandorla from the free encyclopedia de.wikipedia and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike. Wikipedia has a list of authors available.