Research Project for the Conservation of Mural Paintings of the Ajanta Caves – Second Mission Report
The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are conducting joint research on the conservation of Mural Paintings of the Ajanta Caves under the framework of ”Networking Core Centres for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage” funded by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. The mural paintings of the Ajanta Caves have been damaged by rainwater entering the caves through cracks in the basalt, bat excrement, (whitening and blackening), artificial factors, and have discoloration issues due to the yellowing of the shellac (varnish coatings) used for previous restoration work and cracks and floating in the colored layers. In the second mission undertaken in September, 2009, all of the mural paintings in the second cave were subject to high-definition digital photograph recording and colorimetry to record in detail the conservation status of the mural paintings. We photographed and measured the murals together with the Indian specialists, aiming at sharing knowledge and technical exchange on digital documentation for conserving cultural heritage.