Antique Tibetan tsakli card painted with the figure of Canda-Vajrapani. The fierce deity is one of the earliest bodhisattvas of Mahayana Buddhism. Considered the protector and guide of Gautama Buddha, he symbolizes the manifestation of the Buddha’s power. On this card, he is shown with vajra in hand, a tiger skin around his waist, surrounded by his flaming nimbus. The back of the card has Tibetan writing that reads, ཕྱག་རྡོར་གཏུམ་
པོ་ “Phyag rdor gtum po” the Tibetan name for Canda-Vajrapani. “Phyag rdor” is the Tibetan name for Vajrapani and “gtum po” means “fierce”. Painted on mineral colors on linen.
Tsakli cards are powerful miniature paintings of Buddhist deities and objects. They have many different ritual uses. They can be used for teaching when a lama holds the card out for a student to focus on, thus helping them with the visualization and meditation on that deity and what it represents. The cards are often used as part of altar displays that are changed as teachings unfold. They can be used to form a three dimensional mandala. If the picture is of a specific ritual object, the cards can act as a stand-in for that object which may be otherwise difficult to come by. In the construction of new monastery buildings, tsakli cards with guardian deities may be set up facing the directions they are responsible for protecting. Tsakli cards are often used in funeral rituals to help the deceased through the stages of the Bardo realm.
Age: 19th century
Dimensions: 3 1/2″ high x 2 5/8″ wide