domingo, 15 de diciembre de 2013

Saving the murals of El Tajin (México)


Delicate decorative murals that cover the walls, mouldings and cornices of Building I at the World Heritage Site of El Tajin, located in the Mexican state of Veracruz, and which constitute the most complete set preserved in situ within this archaeological complex, have been stabilized after four years of intensive work by specialists.
Supported by women and men from nearby communities who were trained in these preservation efforts, the team from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) managed to preserve the human characters and fantastic zoomorphic figures that were  being enveloped by salt flakes.
Rising moisture
These salt flakes were due to rising moisture in the building and constituted a significant danger to the ancient murals, explained Dulce Maria Grimaldi, head of the conservation project.
Much of the visual data was in danger of being lost, especially the important elements such as eyes and claws, as well as feathered headdresses and tails worn by various characters and which provides vital clues to their identity. Therefore, a substantial part of the project consists of the meticulous, photographic and drawn record of each of the figures that appear in the murals.
High status building
The murals of Building I were created over a thousand years ago, between 900 and 1100 AD, just after the architectural complex was built. The polished floors of the building and exquisite murals reflect the high status of its inhabitants.
This building is located in an elevated area of the ancient city, where water is percolating down from the surrounding hills. Together with the composition of the original stonework and the unfortunate use of cement in previous interventions, salts and moisture stains have migrated into the murals.
The conservation efforts that sought to solve the underlying problem need not be repeated if regular maintenance work is continued as part of the management of El Tajin, and can ensure the long term preservation of the murals in Building I.
Further investigation into the murals will also allow a more detailed interpretation for both scholars and visitors alike.

Source: Past Horizons:
http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/12/2013/saving-murals-el-tajin

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