Golden Tsakli – initiation cards
  See it in the Museum
India and Nepal
Orientation 2
Wall object 8

ABM 011

 Code: ABM 011

  Country: Tibet


  Date: 1250 - 1300

  Dimensions in cm WxHxD: 8 x 10

  Materials: Buff paper

Golden Tsakli – Initiation cards

Tsakli or tsa ka li are small images painted on paper, cloth or cardboard, used during the tantric rituals, including empowerments. In this context, they represent the host of deities and the ritual artefacts and offerings comprised in a mandala that the master presents to the initiate so he can receive their blessings and understand how to visualise them properly. They can also be used in any context where a small image is required, e.g. to be placed inside statues or stupas for consecration. Tsakli are usually painted on the front and inscribed with mantras and formulas on the back for consecration. The museum possesses two kinds of tsakli belonging to the same set, some with a gold background (ABM 011 & 012) and others with a red background (ABM 013).

Other images of the same set are scattered among private and public collections including the Newark Museum. They are all connected to Taklung monastery in Central Tibet, one of the Kagyü sub branch, and were commissioned under the governance of Sangye Yarjön (1202-1272) or his nephew Sangye Ön (1251-1296) in the second half of the 13th century.