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Mexico's National Institute of Archaeology and History announces Mural Painting Conservation Project
The elaboration of a glossary is also part of the project, as well as a file with a general diagnosis by area, in conformity to what was established in the Management Plan of the pre Hispanic site. Photo: Mauricio Marat/INAH.

MEXICO CITY.- The National Institute of Archaeology and History (INAH) is promoting the Mural Painting Conservation Project in Teotihuacan. This project is taking place in situ and in archives, indeed a tremendous labor, as Ph.D. Maria Teresa Uriarte affirms, “it’s not wild to state that this ancient city was one of the most decorated (with murals and paintings) of the ancient world.”

“We know that the building were completely polychrome, and many of its floors also have remains, since floors were painted as well” signaled the specialist in Teotihuacan culture and pre Hispanic mural paintings. Therefore the transcendence of the initiative by INAH which is being lead by restorer Gloria Torres Rodriguez and archaeologist Claudia Lopez Perez of INAH.

With the purpose of the project being the detection of the murals’ theme, many of its resources are being transferred to the registry of the murals. This registry is also including the murals’ remains in situ (monochrome and polychrome), mural fragments and those found in archaeological excavations, and those that fell and were mounted on synthetic supports. These works of art where made between the years 200 and 700 AD.

The elaboration of a glossary is also part of the project, as well as a file with a general diagnosis by area, in conformity to what was established in the Management Plan of the pre Hispanic site.

In this sense, one of the fundamental contributions, informed archaeologists Claudia Lopez, is the enquiry that investigators can make of the database, “we will provide elements with which they can interpret the murals through the iconography. The designs, shapes and styles will be referenced through the glossary”.

According to archaeologist Claudia Lopez, “through a detailed analysis of some murals’ fragments we have seen that they correspond to scenes that are usually found in a specific room of an architectonic compound, for example, the Reticled Jaguar of Tetitla or scenes that haven’t been reported yet. These signal the guidelines we must follow to build the complete mural, scenes or details that have been lost”.

For her part, restorer Gloria Torres details that in 1973, investigator Arthur Miller alluded to 358 mural paintings (without consideration of the monochromes) which were exposed on monuments, principally in Quetzalpapalotl, Jaguars, Feathered Snails, the Puma Mural, the Sun, West Plaza, Superpuestos, Citadel, Atetelco, Tetila and Tepantitla.

As a matter of fact, Torres Rodriguez explained that an emergency conservation of the murals in situ has been made. This conveys specific processes of restoration that avoid the detachment and consequent loss of the damaged sections of the painting.

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