Pocket talismans are perhaps one of the most popular mystical items in Indonesia. Indeed, due to the relatively small size and measurements pocket talismans are very convenient for every day wear. Hence, as the name already suggests, Indonesians often like to keep this type of talisman in their pocket, or put it in their wallet or bag. The cloth is sealed in plastic so as to prevent any possible damage as a result of frequently wearing the talisman.
The front face of the talisman features sacred Islamic spells and an image of the head of a magical tiger. According to traditional Indonesian mysticism, the tiger is considered to be a sacred animal which is believed to possess magical powers. Since it is a predator, many animals, and even humans, instinctively sense danger when they approach a tiger. There are many traditional Indonesian folk tales that tell about human encounters with this wild animal. Hence, through careful observation of the tiger’s behavior, this even lead to the invention of a distinct style of traditional Indonesian martial arts (pencak silat), which imitates the fighting style of the tiger. Due to its bold and fearless nature, the tiger is considered to have certain supernatural abilities that can help humans to increase their charisma. As a result, this will lead to high self-esteem, self-confidence and a strong sense of integrity. Also, the magical tiger talisman will improve one’s endurance and stamina, making this a very useful mystical item for practitioners of pencak silat or any other style of martial arts, as it also helps to instill fear among one’s enemies.
On the rear face of the pocket talisman there is the image of Sunan Kalijaga, one of the revered Muslim saints (Wali Songo). Javanese mysticism (kebatinan) is largely inspired by the teachings of Sunan Kalijaga. It is said, that through years of intensive spiritual practice, Sunan Kalijaga had mastered various supernatural powers. Up until this very day, many Javanese Muslims thus invoke the spirit of Sunan Kalijaga and pray for his blessings, i.e. to ask for his assistance to clear debts, enhance business and protect against dangers. Last but not least, there are several powerful Islamic spells depicted on the rear side, which these serve to maximize the mystical powers of this pocket talisman.