A Masterpiece Restored: LACMA's Tibetan Painting of Yama and Yami

Why Conserve Yama and Yami?

This thangka, one of the largest Tibetan paintings outside Tibet, was acquired by LACMA in 1971; however, the painting’s poor physical condition made it extremely vulnerable to further damage and it was never put on view. The painting showed buckling, creasing, water stains, and soiling. There was also considerable loss of pigment, and the pigment that remained showed signs of active flaking. It was decided to conserve the work of art, making it possible to return this masterpiece of Tibetan painting to LACMA’s galleries. A paper conservation specialist commissioned by LACMA worked for 18 months to complete the project.

Paper Conservation Department (2007)

Before treatment: Yama's face with pigment loss.

Before treatment: Detail with water stain.