Buddhist Wall Paintings at Nako Monastery, North India: Changing of the Technology Throughout Centuries

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Tatjana Bayerova;


Studies in Conservation, Routledge, Volume 63, Number 3, p.171-188 (2018)


ABSTRACTThe technical study of wall paintings from the Buddhist temple complex at Nako, Western Himalayas, was one of the basic preconditions required for designing an appropriate conservation strategy. The complex, composed of four temples from the eleventh–twelfth century, offered a unique possibility to carry out a comprehensive research of technology and painting materials used in early and later western Tibetan Buddhist wall paintings as well as a comparative assessment with murals from other sites in the Western Himalayas. The study was based on extensive fieldwork and an integrated analytical approach comprising a wide range of non-destructive and micro-destructive methods. Answering the question of the coevality of paintings in the smaller temples with other original murals, the precise characterisation of binding media, the detection of the yellow dye gamboge and natural minerals posnjakite and brochantite identified for the first time in Himalayan murals, the clarification of technology of metal decoration, and the making of raised elements are some of the most exciting results which emerged from the research.