Sri Harmandar Saheb Ji

Namita Jaspal

Wall paintings: Tough decision making

Beautiful wall paintings of sacred Sri Harmandar Saheb Ji were flaking off and crumbling when a professional advice was at last sought in 2013.

Till 2013, these paintings were retouched or repaired by random staff or artists.

They would just touch up the white areas left by flaked off paint. More damaging has been such touch up over entire background with synthetic colours that were different in compatibility with the original paint media.

Here are some pictures showing the damage and earlier touch-ups:

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Main ideas behind decision making –

  1. Minimum intervention
  2. Maintaining the aura of peace and spirituality for which the temple stands.
  3. Following the basic code of ethics for conservation like use of original pigments, comparability and reversibility of the treatment material used.

In the picture below is an example where a little more than bare minimum intervention was required to go with the ambience and to restore the peaceful aura of the temple. Here the extra thing that we did was like redoing the white base so that the patchy effect of earlier repairs or restoration attempts was reduced. This picture shows condition before intervention and during conservation (nearing completion)

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(Kindly share your views and queries in the comments)

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