Hanging Sacred Cloth: The Practice of Displaying Thangkas
Together with other religious objects, the rolled lengths of cloth decorated with Buddhist imagery known as thangkas made their way to Europe first after the short British invasion of Tibet in 1903–4 by Lt Colonel Sir Francis Younghusband (1863–1942) and then later during repeated expeditions by the Italian Tibetologist and explorer Professor Giuseppe Tucci (1894–1984), between 1926 and 1948 (Fig. 1). Thereafter, uprooted from their cultural context, these objects began to be exhibited for extrinsic purposes, resulting in modifications to their display. This article discusses various approaches used to curate thangkas and thangka fragments in a very different, Western, environment.