Conservation and restoration of the wall paintings of Kitora Tumulus, a special historic site

Wall paintings of Kitora Tumulus (painting of the astronomical chart on the ceiling) after having detached the northern half

 The National Research Institute of Cultural Properties, Tokyo is engaged in research project for the conservation of the Kitora Tumulus, a Special Historic Site. This is a project that has been entrusted to the Institute from the Agency for Cultural Affairs. In this project, the interior of the stone chamber is inspected regularly and its wall paintings on the plaster are being detached.
 Particularly, the painting of the astronomical chart on the ceiling has been detached sequentially ever since a part of the painting had fallen and was found on the floor in July 2007. Initially, only small areas of the painting where the risk of exfoliation was very high were detached. However, with improvement in the tools used to detach paintings, it is now possible to detach a square piece of the wall painting about 10 cm on a side. As a result, the northern half of the astronomical chart has been detached as of the end of June 2008. The paintings will continue to be detached on a regular basis. As for the painting of the astronomical chart on the ceiling, our goal is to detach the entire painting within this fiscal year.

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