Conservation of wall paintings from the early Islamic period excavated in southern Tajikistan

Fragments (partial) excavated at the Khulbuk site Left: before efforts Right: After surface cleaning and fragments were pieced back together
Backing work underway

 From November 6 to December 5, wall painting fragments in the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan were conserved on-site. The wall painting fragments that are being conserved were excavated in 1984 from the palace ruins at Khulbuk in southern Tajikistan. The Khulbuk site dates to the early Islamic period. The fragments have been kept in the repository of the National Museum of Antiquities but for a long time they were not properly conserved. Serious conservation efforts began in 2010.
 The wall painting fragments are extremely fragile. Pigments from multi-colored layers are merely resting on the fragments, and the plaster base coat has been severely fragmented. Following up on last year’s work to reinforce the multi-colored layers, work was done to stabilize assembled fragments by piecing them back together and attaching a new backing. Approaches such as filling in the gaps in fragments that were stabilized last year were tested with the goal of exhibiting the fragments in the future. The wall painting fragments are easier to appreciate once they have been stabilized and pieced back together with the gaps filled. Plans are to examine ways to exhibit the fragments in the future.
 This conservation project was undertaken with a Sumitomo Foundation grant for the preservation and conservation of foreign cultural properties.

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