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Mural found in north China ancient tomb

Mural found in north China ancient tomb. Science & Technology World


Archaeologists have found murals dating back more than 900 years in a tomb in north China's Shanxi province.

The tomb, from the Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234) is in Zhangzi county.

The colorful murals are largely painted on a white background. The upper part features acts of filial piety, said Zhang Guanghui, a research fellow with Shanxi provincial archaeological research institute.

Beneath, the murals depict people working and cooking. Flanking the gate of the tomb, there are images of herdsmen and cattle.

The pictures are adorned with floral, animal and cloud motifs, Zhang said.

"We have seen several tombs with murals from the Jin Dynasty, but such well-preserved ones are a rarity," he said.

The tomb was found last April and reported as robbed. Artifacts and the bodies are missing, making it difficult for Zhang and his team to identify the original occupants.

"Judging from the murals, however, we can deduce that the owners may have been aristocrats. They were certainly rich," he added.

The tomb is now under the protection of the Museum of Shanxi.


Archaeologists unearth stunning Egyptian tombs with murals


An ancient tomb belonging to Amenhotep, guard of the temple of Egyptian deity Amun, has been discovered in the southern city of Luxor by an American research team, the Egypt's antiquities ministry said on Tuesday.

The ministry says the tomb, found near the southern city of Luxor, dates back to the New Kingdom of the 18th Dynasty (1543-1292 BC) — the most famous of ancient Egypt dynasties.

The tombs were found earlier this month near the Sheikh Abd el-Qurna dig site, situated at the feet of the Theban mountains, between the famed valleys of the Kings and Queens over the town of al-Qurna.

Incredible photographs distributed by the ministry show a tomb with bright green and brown paintings with hieroglyphics with murals that depict both celebrations and everyday activity, and despite their age are still remarkably vibrant and colorful.

Antiquities Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty said in a statement that the tombs do sadly appear to have been looted at some point and the sarcophogi containing the bejeweled mummies were missing.

'The tomb contains many stunning scenes with bright colours painted on plaster,' Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Eldamaty said in a statement.

'Many of scenes represent the tomb owner and his wife in front of an offering table and a view of a goddess nursing a royal child as well as scenes of the daily life,' he added.

The tomb was discovered by a team of American archaeologists alongside an Egyptian inspectors' team in the city of Luxor, 700 kilometres (435 miles) south of Cairo.

However, the temple guard's final resting place had been vandalised for unknown reasons.

The T-shaped tomb 'was deliberately damaged in ancient times,' said Sultan Eid, the ministry's general director for the Upper Egypt region.

'The name and titles of the tomb owner, some hieroglyphic texts and scenes in addition to the names of the god Amun were deliberately erased,' Eid added.

The first tomb was discovered on March 2, and the second was discovered on March 10.

The second tomb is believed to be that of Sa-mut and his wife, Ta-Khaeet.

The first tomb meanwhile is believed to be that of Sa-Mut's father, Amenhotep.

Luxor, a city of some 500,000 people on the banks of the Nile in southern Egypt, is an open-air museum of intricate temples and pharaonic tombs.

Eldamaty said in a separate statement that a royal rest house belonging to King Thutmosis II, also from the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom period, had been discovered in the Suez Canal province of Ismailia.


Harvard uses projection technology to shine light on faded Rothko murals

Harvard uses projection technology to shine light on faded Rothko murals Science & Technology World

 

Fans of the abstract work of American painter Mark Rothko are in for a treat later this year. Harvard Art Museums has announced a seven-month exhibit called Mark Rothko’s Harvard Murals, set to open in November featuring six panels Rothko made for Harvard in 1961 and 1962, as well as a series of related studies. Besides the opportunity to see works that have not been displayed for more than a decade, visitors will be able to see the murals in a new light, thanks to new digital restoration technology.

The idea for the commission of the works came from Wassily Leontief, a Nobel Prize-winning professor of economics, at the time chair of the Harvard Society of Fellows. In January 1964, the large canvas murals went up in a dining room on the 10th floor of Harvard’s Holyoke Center, now called the Richard A. and Susan F. Smith Campus Center, where they stayed until 1979.

During that period, exposure to light caused the color on large surfaces of the pieces to fade. The first steps to tackle the issue were taken in 1988 for an exhibit of the murals at Harvard’s Arthur M. Sackler Museum. At the time, the conservators discovered the fading could be traced to an organic pigment called Lithol Red, which Rothko had used in all murals. But they had to find a method that did not involve retouching, since this could deform the original works by effacing the artist’s brush strokes.

A multidisplinary team, including art historians, conservation experts and scientists at the Harvard Art Museums (the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies and the Center for the Technical Study of Modern Art) and the MIT Media Lab’s Camera Culture research group worked together on the challenge and arrived at a light-based technique that uses a noninvasive, digital camera-projector system driven by custom software.

They made a chromatic comparison between the colors on the canvases now and the colors of the original pieces as recorded on photographic film stock. This part of the job involved a collaboration with the Imaging and Media Lab (now Digital Humanities Lab) at the University of basel, Switzerland, to digitally restore faded Ektachrome color transparencies of the murals made in 1964. They also took color measurements of the sections not affected by light and time. This data enabled the experts to create what they call a "compensation image," which is then overlaid on the mural via a digital projector to restore the color, pixel by pixel.

This novel approach means the actual pieces remain intact and only their appearance is restored. Viewers will also have the chance to see the murals with the faded colors as the projector lights will be switched off for some of the visiting hours. They will also get a taste of the original installation, which the new one will replicate. Related studies on paper and canvas will bring the number of pieces on display to 38 items. The extra material will provide insight into Rothko’s creative process.

The exhibition will run between November 16 and July 26, 2015 in the Harvard Art Museums’ special exhibitions gallery.

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