Dharmapala Thangka CentreIconography

Various types of Thangkas [3]


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Applications Thangkas [Tib.: dras-drab-ma, gos-sku] are not painted. They consist of many single pieces of cloth. We find this category especially among the giant Thangkas [36 x 54 feet / 12 x 18 m and more], which are hung down on special big Thangka walls of the monasteries on special festival days.

This type of Thangka is a particularly Tibetan style, as testified to in pre 17th century texts. Fragments of cloth of various colors - most often silks, traditionally imported from China or even from India - are cut into desired shapes and juxtaposed to form a kind of mosaic.” The pieces are either sewn onto a background or to each other.

Rigid bands of golden binding, made of leather or sometimes of horse or yak hair mixed with threads of gold, hide the seams and circle the contours. Certain details are embroidered or even painted on. A frame or border similar to those of painted Thangkas gives further sup-port for the finished work.

Source: Mongolia, the legacy of Chingis Khan, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 1996, page 238