- About the Cover
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Cover design: Sophia Varcados, Northern Illinois University
The image on the current Journal cover features a photograph of a Tai sacred diagram, taken from the back of a talismanic shirt. This kind of sacred diagram, yantra and gatha, is used to invoke supernatural guardians for special protection. The eight spokes of the mandala diagram represent cardinal and sub-cardinal directions. The diagram is inhabited by eight protective spirits between its spokes and twenty-four more are seated around its rim. Surrounding the periphery of the mandala is Pali text, written in Tai Khün script. For further information about this image, refer to the article by Susan Conway in this issue, “Textiles and Supernatural Power: A Tai Belief System.” Red and black ink on cloth, cotton. Private collection.