Thangka applique is a technique in which Thangkas are not painted but made from small pieces of silk fabric that are sewn together. The art form dating back to the 13th century depicts Buddhist deities accented in scriptures. The art of applique first started among the Huns of Central Asia to embroider saddle blankets, later spreading to the east, it became the religious art of Tibet.
This fabric work is a combined masterpiece of artists as well as skilled tailors. The artists sketch the design with exact proportions and measurements of each deity. These sketches are then used as blueprints by tailors to create Thangkas. These are generally displayed on special religious occasions and celebrations while kept stored for the rest of the year. The giant thangka that Norbulingka artisans have ever created is 14 feet long, and it is now being hung in the Deden Tusklakhang Buddha Temple inside the institute. The costs of Thangka applique ranges from Rupees 49,000 to 82,000.