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Lahore Fort’s Picture Wall conservation kicks off in partnership with Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

Friday, 2017, June 9
By Mariam Shafqat


The Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) has started the conservation of some parts of the Lahore Fort’s Picture Wall as part of the Picture Wall Prototype (PWP) Project, in partnership with Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

According to WCLA focal person Tania Qureshi, the objective of the PWP project is to work out a strategy for conservation of the Lahore Fort Picture Wall (PW) by restoring a selected area of the wall. It could provide an enabling platform to discuss the special conditions and requirements of the conservation of the entire Picture Wall in an international workshop to be held in June 2017, she added.

Tania said that the workshop would review the prototypical interventions made during the earlier months with the aim of defining a satisfactory course for the completion of the conservation work.

She maintained foreign experts on conservation had been taken on board for this project. This project was initiated in November 2016. Earlier, in September 2015, the documentation of the Picture Wall was started with financial support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and facilitated by WCLA.

She added that the first phase of the project involves complete documentation of the 350’x50’ western section of the Picture Wall.

Tania said that so far, the architectural documentation of the facade using Electronic Distance Measurement devices has been completed and high resolution rectified photography is in progress.

“The site has also been recorded as part of a demonstration for 3D laser scanning, which will be used extensively in future phases of documentation”, she added.

Kamran Lashari, Director General WCLA, said the Picture Wall is the world’s largest mural and tile mosaic wall which was built in the Mughal era. “This is the real beauty of Lahore Fort and unfortunately it remained neglected previously,” he said. “I am hopeful that with this conservation project, we will be able to save the fading colours of the wall.”

Consultant and Senior Architect at Agha Khan Trust for Culture Rashid Makhdum said that the prototype project will enable us to check out the results of the conservation, which we aim to match with the international standards. “This is a very delicate and a serious task as it is a world heritage site”, he added.

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According to Rashid, extensive documentation of the monument was carried out by a technical team. He said that using laser electronic measurement and photo-ortho rectification technologies, an accurate highly detailed scaled record was created, depicting the walls present condition. “This documentation was done according to high standards of precision, in compliance with the relevant international legal and technical requirements”, Rashid said. “Now after all these studies we are moving forward with the conservation”, he added.

According to the details provided by WCLA, established as the world’s largest mural, the 1450’x50’ Picture Wall was exquisitely decorated with glazed tile and faience mosaics, embellished brickwork, filigree work and frescos during the Mughal period in the reign of Jahangir in 1624 AD and completed under Shah Jahan’s reign in 1632 AD.

Each individual mosaic gives an insight into the life and entertainment in the royal courts, such as battles scenes, royal portraits, mythical creatures, dance and music and geometric patterns.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 9th, 2017.

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