Figure paintings were found on the wall of an ancient tomb unearthed in Qunyi village，Hunan province.
An international academic seminar on preventive protection of ancient Chinese mural paintings was held in Xi’an on Oct 16. More than 30 experts from China, Italy, Germany, Japan and South Korea attended to share views on mural painting protection.
Since the first half of the previous century, large numbers of mural paintings have been discovered in ancient tombs in Xi’an and regions nearby. There are 1,200 sq m and 500 sq m of mural paintings in the collections of the Shaanxi History Museum and Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, respectively. At present, Shaanxi has more than 2,000 sq m of mural paintings dating from the Tang Dynasty.
Du Xiaofan, professor from the Beijing office of UNESCO believed the development of protection and research of Chinese ancient mural paintings depends on how much weight Chinese academics give it. That is why Chinese mural painting protection and research has gaps at the international advanced level.
A Japanese expert said that Chinese mural painting protection has turned to preventive protection, which is a recently popular conception that has never been proposed before in China.
A photo of ancient murals in Xuankong Gumiao.
Experts at the meeting reached agreements on many principles of protection. The ancient mural paintings should be protected at the site where they are discovered. During the protection process, measures to deal with possible problems should be considered in advance. They shared views on research and experience on mural painting preventive protection and restoration through 10 report meetings.
The expert from Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, Yang Junchang, said that protection and renovation techniques for Chinese mural paintings are roughly at the same level with international standards. However, the difficulties are site protection, restoration of relics and a shortage of talent.
After the report meetings, experts will visit the Shaanxi History Museum and go on a field investigation of mural paintings in the tomb of Han Xiu who was a senior official in the period of Emperor Xuanzong in Tang Dynasty.