hermitage museum foundation

Penjikent Restoration


The Mural:

This scene of a funeral in ancient Tajikistan consists of eight fragments that were mounted on rosin mastic as part of an original effort to reconstruct the painting in 1950. The image is heavily damaged and the entire surface is covered with dust and soot. Fortunately, the museum has extensive reconstructive sketches and notes by the restoration expert P.I. Kostrov from which to work.

The History:

Discovered during the 1948 excavation of Pendjikent, this mural offers a fascinating glimpse into the customs of pre-Islamic Tajikistan and is valuable from an artistic, historic and anthropological point of view. The mural was removed from the ruins of the city in 1950 and was one of the first artworks to be worked on in both the field and the laboratory using pioneering methods developed by Kostrov and his colleagues in the Hermitage Chemical laboratory. The goal then was preservation; however advances in restoration technology will allow us to restore the work to something much closer to its original conditioning. Tasks include preparing a new base, cleaning, reconstructive sketching and color restoration.


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