Traditions & Practices >Devasiriya Mandapam

Restored murals at Devasiriya Mandapam

INTACH Chitrakala Parishath Art Conservation Centre (ICKPAC), Bangalore, is currently involved in the conservation of 300-year-old mural paintings in Tamil Nadu. These paintings reportedly dating back to the Nayaka period are on the ceiling of the Devasiriya Mandapam, also called the thousand-pillared hall, in the Sri Thiyagarajaswami Temple at Tiruvarur, about 60 kms from Thanjavur. These vibrant paintings depict the legend of Muchkunda Chola 'the monkey-faced king', who is said to be responsible in bringing the idol of Lord Thiyagaraja to Tiruvarur. The painted area is about 6500 sq ft (including a painted panel of a later period on the rear wall of the hall depicting the story of Manu Needhi Chola). Colors (predominantly red, yellow and white, black, and green) used in these paintings are of mineral origin and the ground is lime plaster. Since the support is granite slabs juxtaposed to each other, the major deterioration problems can be attributed to this arrangement. The deterioration problems are loss of pigment due to water seepage from the roof; deposition of soot, dust, dirt, cement splashes due to human interference (place used as a godown, workplace for preparing paper and bamboo decorations for temple festivals, etc); and growth of biodeteriogens. The conservation work undertaken involves cleaning, soot removal, removal of microbial growth, consolidation of both the ground (lime plaster) and pigment layers, reattachment of the loosened plaster and reintegration. All these steps are being done keeping in mind the minimal intervention theory and by adhering to ethical conservation practices.

To learn more about the restoration project :Click here

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