Conservation and exhibition of wall paintings unearthed at the Hulbuk site in the Republic of Tajikistan
From September 11 to October 2, wall painting fragments that were unearthed at the Hulbuk site were conserved and exhibited at the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan. These wall paintings were presumably produced in around the 10th to 11th century and few similar paintings exist. Thus, these paintings are scholarly materials with considerable value in terms of the art history of Tajikistan and other countries in Central Asia. Since 2010, the Institute has been extensively restoring these wall painting fragments with the cooperation of the Institute of History, Archeology, and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan. As of last year, work was done to piece the fragments back together and then reinforce and stabilize them.
This year, the fragments were mounted to facilitate their safe exhibition. First, a backing was created and then attached to the back of the wall painting fragments. Fragments were then arranged on a mounting board 91 cm wide × 182 cm tall based on line drawings done when the fragments were excavated. Seventeen wall painting fragments were re-assembled to depict a single image. Decorative mortar matching the texture of the wall painting fragments was added around those fragments. Nuts and bolts were used to fix the fragments in place. This construction allows the fragments to be safely removed from the mounting in the future so that they can be transported to other museums for exhibitions.
After the exhibition, a ceremony was held to showcase the conserved paintings. The ceremony was attended by personnel from the Institute as well as Saidmurod BOBOMULLOEV, Director of the National Museum of Antiquities, Rahim MASOV, Director of the Institute of History, Archeology, and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences, and KAMADA Takashi, Japanese Ambassador to Tajikistan. Plans are to continue exhibiting the wall painting fragments in a hall at the National Museum of Antiquities, where other items unearthed from the Hulbuk site have been assembled.
This conservation project was undertaken in part with a Sumitomo Foundation grant for Projects to Preserve and Conserve Foreign Cultural Properties.