Silk brocading is a process of framing a Thangka in traditional Tibetan style. The frame is made of beautiful silk fabric having rich colors and patterns. Brocade can be added to any Thangka painting upon request. The diagram to the right (click the image for a larger view) shows the different components of a typical brocade frame.
The silk fabric protects the edges of the Thangka, and also makes it easier to hang. A thin silk cover protects the painting when rolled, and may be gathered up to display the painting when hung on the wall. It is generally thought that silk brocade renders a Thangka more attractive and more religious.
The technique of silk brocading was first developed around the 9th century AD as a way to protect paintings during transport across the treacherous Himalayan mountains. Nepalese artists, seeking to meet the exploding demand for Buddhist art in Tibet, developed Thangka techniques so that paintings could be easily rolled and carried in large numbers. Due to these clever techniques, Buddhists throughout the Himalayan region were able to obtain beautiful supports for their practice.
We have many gorgeous silk fabrics to choose from. Our inventory is always changing based on what is currently available in the market. Below are several beautiful styles that are available right now. You can click on any of the small images to see a larger view, and you can click here to see all of the fabric photos together on one page for comparison.
If you like one of the patterns shown above, please let us know when you place your order. If for some reason we are unable to get it for you we will send you photos of similar fabrics that are available. Over a thousand different colors and designs are available in the market, so we are confident we can find the perfect match for your painting.
And for those who prefer the very finest fabrics, we offer a special deluxe brocade option. Our artists will search the marketplace for extraordinary high quality silks to complement the colors of your thangka. We will provide photos of several designs for you to choose from. In addition, for this option the endpieces of the base rod are gold-gilded copper, instead of the regular brass. To see an example of a thangka brocaded in this style please click here. The cost for the deluxe option varies according to thangka size and fabrics chosen, but it is usually around US $100.00.
In general, we are always happy to send photos of alternate designs and colors. Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions or special requests.
The price for brocading standard-size Thangkas typically ranges from $10 to $50. Larger paintings take longer to sew and require more silk fabric, thus the framing costs are a bit higher. We have included the appropriate price for brocading each of our Thangkas in the individual eBay listings. Please look for Brocade Cost in the table at the top of each listing.
In addition, please note that the shipping cost will increase due to the added weight of the brocade fabric and the doweling. The appropriate cost for shipping the Thangka with brocade can be calculated by using the link given in each eBay listing. Look for Shipping Cost with Brocade in the table at the top of the page.
Framing the Thangka is a laborious process and it requires great skill to end up with a straight-hanging piece of art. Further, a Thangka may be easily damaged during the brocading process and the silk fabric is expensive. Thus, all of our brocading work is performed by a specialized tailor with many years of brocading experience. We guarantee that your frame will look stunning and the work is usually completed within one to two business days (very large Thangkas may take a bit longer).
To add brocade to your Thangka painting, simply notify us when you place your order and we will be happy to assist you. You can include a note with your order, or send us a message through eBay, and we can include the appropriate amount in the PayPal transaction. Please also let us know the fabric pattern you prefer.
If you choose to have your thangka brocaded, we will send you a photo of the finished painting before shipping. We will not dispatch your order until we have received your confirmation that you are satisfied with the brocade work.
In the below, we show you step-by-step how to put the thangka's cover up and drape it beautifully for hanging and display.
Click on any image for a larger view.
The final result - The thangka with the cover up for hanging and display.
Step 1 - The thangka comes with the cover down for safe storing and transport.
Step 2 - Grasp the silk cover with both hands and hold it straight and flat, allowing the ribbons to fall to each side.
Step 3 - Carefully fold the bottom 1 - 2 inches of fabric up and toward you, holding the cover straight.
Step 4 - Tuck the folded fabric behind the cover, and now fold upward on the underside of the cover.
Step 5 - Continue to alternate folding the cover forward and back, like you are creating a fan with the fabric.
Step 6 - Continue folding all the way up until the top of the painting is exposed.
Step 7 - Straighten the folded fabric firmly against the painting.
Step 8 - Concentrate on holding the very center of the folded fabric, while noting the red string above you that runs between the two ribbons, right below the upper hanging dowel.
Step 9 - Tuck the center of the folded fabric up underneath the red string.
Step 10 - Pull the fabric through and allow it to fall naturally.
Step 11 - Drape the fabric elegantly while hiding the red string from view.
The final result - Your thangka is now ready for display.