This children's(?) book is using mūdra (手印) to make some eastern vs. western jokes:

little tarzan

The guy says:


Little Tarzan!

and sticks up his middle finger.

Is "Little Tarzan!" a real mūdra? What does it mean? What's it's usage?

  • why the downvote?
    – Mou某
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 15:45
  • Need a little more detail to answer this. How about showing the full page?
    – moiaussi06
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 20:18
  • 1
    While I don't know the answer, it might be helpful to note that, it's not just sticking up middle finger... the other four fingers are touching in a funny way.
    – Zuoanqh
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


It's most likely a Taoism's 手訣 (I'd say that the word 手印 is reserved to Buddhism). 2

It probably comes from this book.

3 4

Apparently, there is a more famous 手訣 called 靈官訣, using by 王靈官, similar to 小泰山訣. 6

Bonus: this is how it works in practice.



  • Is mūdra an acceptable translation for Taoist gestures?
    – Mou某
    Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 11:55
  • 1
    @Mo. I'd say no because AFAIK they don't have exactly the same function. 手印 is employed in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism for spiritual practice while 手訣 is used when Taoist priests perform an exorcism with 符籙. Since Taoism is mainly developed in China, I think that a word of Sanskrit origin is not suitable. Commented Jul 25, 2020 at 13:51

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