The carpet features a flayed elephant, the skin stretched out and arranged with symmetrical care, tusks crossed at the tips and trunk falling over the right shoulder. Although not native to Tibet, the elephant is exalted in India as the king of beasts, and an important symbol within the Hindu and Buddhist pantheons. In Tantric iconography, elephant corpses are trampled by Mahakala and other wrathful deities. An elephant skin is worn by Chakrasamvara, Mahakala, and other protector deities. And elephant skins, symbolizing the destruction of ignorance, are among the offerings made to the protector deities of a monastery. This carpet may thus have served as a symbolic offering in a protector deities' chapel (mgon khang). Nebesky-Wojkowitz also observed that Tibetan noble families would adopt a wild animal-typically the tiger, lion, elephant or bear-as a mascot of their "life power." Animal pelts were sometimes used as a seat in Tibet, and the rare elephant skin featured in this woven carpet may also, upon occasion, have been used as a seat during meditations or other important occasions.