Teotihuacan mural paintings “Reticulated Jaguar” and “Procession of Characters”, dated from 200 to 500 AD, were intervened by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) experts, with the objective of removing artificial support installed 50 years ago, which added weight.
Murals from Zacuala and Conjunto del Sol, Teotihuacan, were detached from their original walls because of deterioration presented, at late 1950’s decade. After adding a support, they became part of National Museum of Anthropology (MNA) heaps.
Recently, they were intervened at Mural Painting Workshop of INAH National School of Conservation, Restoration and Museography (ENCRyM) by 8th semester students, coordinated by restorers Margarita Lopez Fernandez, Irlanda Fragoso and Roxana Govea.
After performing analyses, it was concluded that artificial supports were harmful for the 1,500 years old frescoes’ stability and were not adequate for transportation. Processes performed allowed reducing their weight in more than 50 per cent.
“Reticulated Jaguar” from Zacuala Conjunct, measures 1.93 by 1 meter. Chroma includes blue, green, red and yellow, and its symbolism is related to sun, fertility, water and war.
“Procession of Characters”, from Conjunto del Sol, shows several individuals participating in a religious act; red and pink colors outstand. It measures 2.21 by 1.36 meters.
By their complexity, chroma, techniques and designs, “Teotihuacana frescoes are among the best examples of mural painting in the world. They had great knowledge regarding the use of lime”, declared restorer Margarita Lopez.
Change of supports of both paintings implied a detailed study by ENCRyM experts, As well as Sergio Gonzalez Garcia and Laura Filloy Nadal, from MNA, related to supports created for this kind of paintings through time. This will help defining new criteria for mural painting treatment and artificial support when needed.
Pictorial layer of these murals was mounted on synthetic resins and metallic structures that produced tension in it, and made them heavier.
ENCRyM experts, after protecting pictorial layers with double veils (with non woven paper and cheesecloth), turned them over and eliminated the old supports.
“Reticulated Jaguar” had to be removed from the support applying heat and soft lever movement, while “Procession of Characters” required substituting the metallic structure for a lighter one. Both frescoes underwent treatment on specific areas of the pictorial layer. The ENCRyM academic concluded that murals will return soon to MNA.