Conservation of mural paintings in Tajikistan

Conservation methodology and techniques are transferred in order to foster local experts.
A portable X-ray fluorescence analyzer is used to analyze the elements contained in the paint layers of a mural painting.

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation dispatched the first mission of the “Conservation of the Mural Paintings of the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan,” a part of an exchange program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, from July 23 to August 5. The mural fragments to be conserved had been detached from archaeological sites in Tajikistan by Russian experts over a period of years (cf:
 Since the number of experts on conservation is insufficient in Tajikistan, these mural fragments are placed in the storage of the National Museum without being appropriately treated. Therefore, there are numerous problems and the fragments need to be treated for conservation and future exhibition. In this project, the conservation knowledge and techniques that the Center has accumulated will be transferred to Tajikistan in order to foster Tajikistan experts on conservation.
 One of the major issues associated with the mural paintings is the use of synthetic resin that had been impregnated into the fragments during their detachment. This synthetic resin was used to protect the mural fragments at that time but has yellowed and hardened the soil that had adhered to the surface, making it difficult to see the mural paintings now. Activities of this mission included a cleaning test to remove the discolored synthetic resin and hardened soil from the mural fragments.
 Investigation of the paint materials is also important in understanding the painting techniques and the route by which materials used for the mural paintings were procured at the time. Thus, a portable X-ray fluorescence analyzer was used for elementary analysis, and some of the pigments were identified. As a result it was revealed that the currently black areas were once green and that various shades of red paints were used to produce different colors.

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