its origin a thangka is a commodity for the meditation of the believer.
Mostly it consists of a painting on textile or paper with a textile
frame and further textile accessories like a veil for covering and
ribbons or cords. It is rolled an unrolled, will be transported and
is exposed to soot and the changes of climate.
can observe a number of damages on thangkas: The canvas has become
rotten and crumbly due to movement, age and humidity, partly already
breaks and losses can be noticed. The paintlayer is covered with hairline
cracks, often rubbed off or even already vanished. Very often water
edges, brownish colourings or other colour changes of the precious
pigments can be found.
often the textile parts of the scroll picture of silk and metal threads
are even more severely damaged. Here large tears and losses of material
in veil and textile framing are to be found just as loose threads
at the edges or torn cords.
Ways for Treatment
measures for conservating a thangka depend on which purpose it is
meant to serve: Does the scroll painting function further on for meditations,
is it an object in a museum or does it rather serve decorative purposes?
answers to these questions may influence the way any conservation
will change the object for there are often different ways of solution.
However, some main principles in conservation build up the framework
of each concept:
should be as little intervention into the original substance as possible,
that is for example, as few original seams as necessary should be
undone, no authentic material will be removed, but it is to be preserved.
The consolidation procedure should be reversible as far as possible
and the material applied should have a high resistance against ageing.
these aspects a thangka that will be used further on will need more
support than a mere piece of collection. Should conservation as described
above will not be enough, the object must be withdrawn from further
meant for decoration must fulfil certain aesthetic demands. Special
sensitive feeling is wanted here as there could be worlds between
"preserving historic substance" and "looking really
gain interest when you encounter already formerly treated objects
as in the following. Here you have to consider how far this old repair
will damage the object as it belongs already to its history and thus
it is to be preserved.