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Conservation for mural paintings
of Takamatsuzuka and Kitora Tumuli

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 The mural paintings of Takamatsuzuka and Kitora tumuli are the only two plaster based mural paintings in tumuli,remained in Japan. They are significant in archaeological value and rare examples of paintings in the 7th to 8th century in terms of art history. Thus,they were designated as National Treasures.

Takamatsuzuka tumulus,special historic site :
It is the mounted tomb which was probably constructed at the late Kofun period (tumulus period) between the end of the 7th century and the beginning of the 8th century. An excavation research was conducted in 1972,then paintings drawn on plaster were discovered in which divine creatures,male and female figures,constellations,sun and moon were drawn. The mural paintings had been managed and conserved on the site for over 40 years,but the stone burial chamber was dismantled in 2007,and currently conservation work is being conducted in the facility nearby the site.

Kitora tumulus,special historic site :
Estimated time of its construction is a little before that of Takamatsuzuka tumulus. The mural paintings were discovered by fiberscope in which four divine creatures,zodiac signs,and astronomical chart were drawn. An archaeological excavation was conducted in 2004,and all plaster layers were removed from the walls for emergency treatment and later conservation policy. The mural paintings had been reassembled and exhibited in the Center for Preservation of Kitora Tumulus Mural Paintings since 2016.

 Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultura l Properties (TNRICP) and Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Propert ies (NNRICP) ,as part of the same Independent Administrative Institution National Institutes for Cultural Heritage have conducted the conservation projects of the mural paintings of both tumuli,commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.TNRICP has been concentrating on the field of conservation science,in close cooperation with NNRICP. It is our pleasure to show some of the project results.

May 2019
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties
  (Photos: SHIRONO Seiji)
©Independent Administrative Institution National Institutes for Cultural Heritage Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties