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NATIONAL » TAMIL NADU

Published: September 23, 2015 00:00 IST | Updated: September 23, 2015 05:33 IST  KANCHEEPURAM, September 23, 2015

Ancient murals discovered

Mural technicians displaying a mural discovered on a wall at Sri Devarajaswamy Temple, Little Kancheepuram —Photo D. Gopalakrishnan
Mural technicians displaying a mural discovered on a wall at Sri Devarajaswamy Temple, Little Kancheepuram —Photo D. Gopalakrishnan

Restoration process unravels inner layer of work

Restoration of murals at Sri Devarajaswamy temple, Little Kancheepuram, has led to the discovery of similar murals from an earlier period.
While working on the first circumambulatory corridor – `Kachivaiththan Thiruchuttru – of this ancient temple in the early part of August, a team of experts engaged in preservation of antiques stumbled upon a fine inner layer of murals beneath the one they were restoring, near the `Kachivaiththan Mandapam, one of the halls of place of worship, also known as Varadaraja Perumal temple.
Suspecting the presence of murals from an earlier period beneath the lime surface, they ensured the inner layer of the murals were unveiled by separating the outer layer, in the presence of R. Kannan, Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments Department, on Tuesday.
Subsequently, the team led by S. Sampathkumar, retired modeller-cum-conservationist, Archaeological Survey of India, and J.D. Jaganathan, retired Laboratory Assistant, Museum Department, separated the upper layer painting of Sri Vishnu with his two consorts in standing posture, by applying mild chemicals on the tempera mural to transfer the pigments on to a piece of cotton.
Later, they removed the upper layer of the lime surface carefully to unveil the older wall painting.
A close look at the unveiled painting revealed that the artwork might have been created using the fresco-secco method. Using this method, images were drawn on the nearly-dry and firm lime plaster, said one of the team members, S.Madhan, who holds a doctorate in mural paintings.
Mr. Kannan said that initial observation of the inner layer painting revealed that they might have been drawn using vegetable colours.
The separation exercise carried out on September 22 at Sri Devarajaswamy temple was similar to the one executed at the Big temple, Tanjore where the 13th to 16th Century Vijayanagara period murals were separated to unveil the earlier Chola period wall paintings.






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