Used in 1847 during the defense of Chapultepec Castle from North American invaders, the historical flag of the National Guard of the Matamoros de Morelia Battalion was completely restored after 16 months of hard work with a technique fully developed by experts from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).


Restorer Lorena Roman Torres, responsible of the Textile Workshop of the National School of Restoration, Conservation and Museography (ENCRyM) was in charge of the meticulous work that achieved the recovery of the flag that presented an advanced stage of deterioration in the 80 per cent of its surface.

“The conservation state of the piece was so compromised that any manipulation or exposition to wind could have powdered it” mentioned the expert when explaining that the flag was confectioned in 1847 with 3 silken clothes united in a vertical way –one of the item’s features- which colors begin with the red followed by white and the green at the bottom.

“Original cloth remains were covered with nylon and silk muslin pieces upon their arrival to the school, probably added in the early 20th century to try to protect it from deterioration.

“The delicate material was destroyed and fragments were pulverizing. Silk was dry so any attempt of applying usual restoration techniques could have devastated the fibers”, remarked the restorer.

The special adhesive used was completely developed in Mexico by ENCRyM specialists, based on a Prehispanic technique. A vegetal resin called in Nahuatl “Tzauhtli” has great features for consolidate and restore textiles and other natural fibers.

The flag was confectioned with fragment of 19th century simple silk weft. The red cloth eas integrated by 6 fragments, white and green by 2 pieces each. On the white part, an eagle devouring a serpent, standing on a cactus was painted with oil, with the legend “Batallon de la Guardia Nacional Matamoros”.

“We could say that a 15 per cent of the red part, 25 of the green and a bigger fragment of the white, conserved thanks to the oil painting, arrived to the workshop” mentiones restorer Roman.

After being dismounted, each section was intervened individually. Humidity was applied to original fragments in order to align and orient them.

Three portions of the flag were mounted on a dyed crepeline frame with Tzauhtli. Finally, work was conducted on the coat of arms and legend”.

After consolidation, other crepeline cloths were placed to protect the flag, guarding it from light, dust and other environmental agents. “Since Tzauhtli is in experimental stage, it was applied to crepeline and not on original fragments. A second crepeline layer dyed in the color of each fragment was added.

The flag used to identify the Michoacan participation in the defense of sovereignty during North American intervention of 1847 was handed over to Colegio Primitivo y Nacional de San Nicolas de Hidalgo, Universidad Michoacana, that safeguards it since 1884.