Restoration under way on Qusayr ’Amra wall paintings

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Italian conservation institute behind work at Unesco World Heritage Site in Jordan

The cleaning of the murals, many of which had been damaged by floods in 1994 and obscured by previous repaintings, has restored details of the extensive figurative cycle of secular scenes. Photo: © Federica Leone

Around 26% of the 380 sq. m wall paintings at the Unesco World Heritage Site of Qusayr ’Amra in Jordan have been restored by the Italian Higher Institute of Conservation and Restoration, in collaboration with the World Monuments Fund (WMF) and the Department of Antiquities of Jordan.

A campaign to conserve the exterior and decorations of the eighth-century Umayyad palace, which contains exceptional examples of early Islamic art, was launched in 2008 after its inclusion on the WMF Watch list.

Conservators discovered a Kufic Arabic script referencing Walid ibn Yazid or Walid II, who ruled as an Umayyad caliph from AD743 to AD744, which provides a more accurate dating of the palace. The cleaning of the murals, many of which had been damaged by floods in 1994 and obscured by chemical products and repaintings from previous treatments, has restored details of the extensive figurative cycle of secular scenes such as courtly life, hunting, dancing and craftsmen at work, as well as signs of the zodiac in lapis lazuli and other precious pigments.

The murals depict courtly life, hunting, dancing and craftsmen at work, as well as signs of the zodiac in lapis lazuli and other precious pigments. Photo: © Federica Leone

 

 

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