From April 18th to 20th, 2011, Germany’s Technical University of Munich’s Professor Erwin Emmerling and Dr. Catharina Blaensdorf, went to Wafangdian of Ziyang County in Ankang City, Shaanxi Province while accompanied by Director Zhang Yilan of Xi’an Cultural Relics Preservation and Restoration Center, Deputy Chief Engineer Bai Chongbin, Associate Researcher Ma Linyan, and others. During the stay, they conducted a site visit on the murals at the north of Ziyang, a provincial cultural relic preservation unit, and made preparations to allow a smooth start for “Sino-German Cooperative Project for Preservation of Murals at the north of Ziyang, Shaanxi province", a key cooperative project in science and technology in 2011 by the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau.
The mural from the Qing Dynasty can be found in a building, which was discovered in north of Ziyang in Ankang, Shaanxi, and is the largest mural so far found within Shaanxi Province. The mural’s area is about 100 square meters. The mural was created in the years between Daoguang’s and Tongzhi’s reigns during the Qing Dynasty. It contains rich contents as it has an important value as a form of reference for research in the history of commerce and trade halls, architectural history, art history, history of folklore culture, and so on. It is understood that in China, there are only five such well-preserved building murals. However, due to the soaking rain, damp walls, combined with wall deformation, various types of mural disease damages in varying degrees exist on the mural. Therefore, preservation of the mural is urgently needed.
After visiting the site, German experts concluded that the mural in Ziyang has highly historical, artistic, and scientific value, and the current preservation condition and disease characteristics are also typical. Therefore, they recommended this project to be one of the key works of Xi'an Cultural Relics Preservation and Restoration Center and Technical University of Munich from 2011 to 2013 for Sino-German Science and Technology Cooperation Protection.
During the visit at the site, the Chinese and German experts discussed in detail about the three-year work plan of preservation and restoration of the mural in Ziyang, and the specific work schemes in 2011. They also identified the basic idea of project implementation, technical routines, expected results, and so on. The two sides agreed, during project implementation, to organically combine Sino-German science and technology cooperation and mural preservation engineering, and to proceed in a three-year cooperation in many aspects in mural site survey, environmental protection real-time monitoring, history and art history studies, mural production process and materials studies, reinforcement materials studies and screening, assessment methods and means of application, effective implementation of preservation and restoration projects, and so on. (Translator: Mamie Huang)