thangka preservation

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A thangka is scroll painting usually vertical in orientation.

It has been part of the cultures of Tibet and Nepal.

A thangka, also identified as thangka, tangka, thanka, or tanka, is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, silk appliqué. This usually depicts a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala.  

They are considered to function as intermediaries between the mortal and divine worlds.

Very popular with traveling Buddhist monks due to their portability.

Some households, monasteries, temples, traditional locations, history museums, culture museums, and some commercial spaces have devotional images or pictures. 

They have empowerment symbols on the backside of Thangka.

These are prone to damage, wear and tear during (mis-)handling.

Appropriate housing system needs to be designed for the conventionally placed thangkas. 

Flaking the paint, creasing and tearing the textile are commonly occurring damages.

Damp conditions, light, the pest can also damage these treasures.

Conservation treatment protocols should be designed and implemented according to the specific thangka styles and types of damage. This will allow an accurate estimate of treatment or preservation interventions needed.

Prior analysis or study is done by experts to understand the type and extent of damage and treatment needed for repair or maintenance.


Following methods are documented for thangka preservation

  • Separation
  • Humidification
  • Removal of previous repair stitching
  • Relining
  • Surface cleaning
  • Pest eradication
  • Mounting


Much of the cultural legacy we value today has lived through generations of preservation endeavors.


Get the guidance from experts in the area with minimal intervention