Himalayan Art Resources

Initiation Cards Main Page

Initiation Card Masterworks

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Initiation Cards Description (below)
- List of Subjects
- Initiation Cards Outline Page
- Miniature Paintings
- Ritual Objects Main Page
- Fake Initiation Cards
- Confusions: Illuminations, Miniature Paintings
- Others...

Initiation Cards (tsakli, tsakali) are sets of Buddhist or Bon ritual images that accompany an initiation ceremony. An initiation ceremony is a ritualized introduction into a mediation practice that generally includes figurative visualization and formulaic recitation. The cards, a visual synopsis of the daily or otherwise regular practice, are drawn or painted, often on paper, sometimes on cloth. The sets can be anything in size from one card up to hundreds of cards. They sometimes have writing on the front and almost always have inscriptions on the back even if it is just a number. The sequence of the initiation cards is very important. The cards are ritual in use and not intended to be decorative in any way, however some sets are beautifully drawn and painted.

Database Search: All Images

Jeff Watt [updated 2-2018, 3-2020]

(The images below are only a selection of examples from the links above).