Dharmapala Thangka CentreSchool of Thangka Painting

Restoration / Conservation of Thangkas

Conservation of an antique Begste Thangka

Before Restauration After Restauration Detail Comparisation 1 Detail Comparisation 2 Detail Comparisation 3 Detail Comparisation 4 Detail Comparisation 5 Detail Comparisation 6

The thangka had three breaks in the canvas at the top right edge, at the head of Begste and in the lower right area. The first step was to place a piece of fabric on the back of the painting in the area of the two cracks. The fabric behind the cracks formed the basis for the thangka specialist's priming and retouching. When the front of the painting was then painted over, the cracks were no longer visible.

The difference in the overall colour tone when comparing before and after is due to the photographic technique.

Dharmapala Begtse was originally a Central Asian god of war, as indicated by his name 'copper armour' and his attire. Dharmapala Begtse was considered to be the son of a demon [yaksha] and a goblin [rakshasi], and is considered to be one of the lower protective deities to whom, unlike a yidam, one cannot take refuge because they themselves have not yet attained full liberation.

Colloquially Begtse is known as red Mahakala and ranks relatively high in the Sakya protector pantheon of Wisdom Deities. The protector was later adopted and incorporated into the Gelug School of Tsongkapa and subsequently became popular in Mongolia - predominantly following the Gelug tradition since the 17th century.

Today's comparable new version

High resolution: Compare before / after [1.9 MB, 1170 x 1649 px.]