Conservation of Historic Thangkas

Process of a conservation of a 200 year-old Green Tara Thangka

Green Tara Thangka before Conservation [1]

In former times the picture with the illustration of a Green Tara was sewed to a brocade frame as rests of stiches prove. It shows heavy traces of usage from rolling and unrolling, especially folds and cracks in the paint layer and the fabric, a tabby woven cotton.

On the total surface area you see water stains, probably from rain, as well as abrasion.

Green Tara Thangka before Conservation [2]
Particularly in the upper area a lot of parts of the base fabric are already chipped out and holes developed. The right detail shows the repaired part.

B a c k

The back was plastered with small patches of white adhesive tape. The adhesive was strong adherent, white, thick and insoluble in water; maybe a vinyl-adhesive.
These old repairs could be taken off with solvents. The backing of the fragile picture part took place in two steps:
Because of the breaks and losses would be retouched, it was necessary to support them with a fabric which was similar to the original to better fit in.
With a natural glue made from an asian root a brown cotton fabric was brought to the upper part of the back of the picture. After that a slightly transparent Japanese Paper was glued in total for the main support.

Green Tara Thangka after Conservation

Conservation of the color damages [Details]