Tsaklis, or tsakalis, are small paintings of the size of a postcard or somewhat smaller or larger, that have been used in Tibet and Mongolia in religious rituals for centuries. They have been painted on thick hand made paper, or on paper consisting of many layers glued together. Also tsaklis painted on canvas exist; they are also called miniature thangkas. On these tsaklis the various deities are pictured that exist in Tibetan (Tantric) Buddhism, in the indigenous Bon religion,and in the polytheistic and shamanistic folk relgion. In addition to the great Buddhas, and the bodhisattvas, there are the protectors, peaceful and wrathful, the great teachers and the multitude of demonic creatures, all of which to be approached with proper ritual.
Tsaklis were often made in sets, and were used in rituals lasting for prolongued periods, often several days. The sets of tsaklis for the death ritual, as described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, which could last as long as 49 days, consisted of over 50 pieces.
In this book over 300 full color reproductions of tsaklis from a private collection are presented and the complex and intriguing world of gods, demons and protectors in Tibet and Mongolia is discussed.