February 2nd, 2010, 06:17 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Hanooz Dilli dur ast
x-post from the Monument restoration thread. Originally posted by Zenith:
HUMAYUN’S TOMB TO GET BACK ITS CROWN JEWELS
ASI And Aga Khan Trust Will Rebuild The Tiles On Eight Canopies Of The Sixteenth Century Monument, In The Original Colours And Using The Original Blueprints
Richi Verma | TNN
World heritage site Humayun’s Tomb is all set to regain its lost architectural marvels. The eight canopies on the dome of the 16th century monument — which originally had striking blue, yellow and green colour tiles — will be restored as per the original Mughal design and architecture.
Experts said that the process of rebuilding the tiles was a very long process and involved detailed studies aimed at understanding the original design and composition of the Mughal-era tiles.
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) director-general K N Shrivastava said: ‘‘We are going to reconstruct the original blue tile work on the canopies of the monument. Since the monument is a world heritage site, we will have to keep Unesco updated about the plan and also about the progress of the conservation work. Under the principles of conservation, monuments have to be conserved according to the original design and shape. Reconstructing the lost blue tile work is a structural requirement of the tomb.’’
According to ASI officials, the smaller canopies on the roof of the tomb were originally decorated with ceramic tiles in lapis blue, turquoise blue, green, white and yellow as was the tradition at that time. ‘‘These striking colours were highlighted by the contrasting milky whiteness of the marble dome in the background. During the early 19th century, most of the original tiles started peeling off. Only traces of them remain today,’’ said a senior ASI official.
Experts said that traces of tile work that remained have helped reveal the original pattern, and laboratories in Roorkee, Oxford and Barcelona have tested the tile samples. ‘‘An international workshop — co-sponsored by Unesco and ASI — on conservation of Humayun’s Tomb tile work was held in April 2009 to discuss, debate and find possible solutions for conservation of tiles on the tomb’s canopies, including restoration of the missing tile work,’’ added officials. About 40 participants from nine tile producing countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan participated in the workshop.
According to historians, tile work is a significant element in several Lodhi and early Mughal period structures and remnants of tile work can be seen on several monuments in Delhi. However, the tile-making traditions followed by the Mughals have been lost over the centuries and hence very little in conservation terms could be done when the tiles have fallen, vandalised or simply gone missing.
Tile work is a significant architectural element, and it also protects the underlying surface. The loss of tile work severely disfigures the historic architectural character/integrity of the monument.
‘‘Conservation of existing tile work should be a priority at all sites and efforts should be made to minimise further loss of the original tiles. Any new tile work that will replace missing tiles should match the original ones in colour, texture, composition and other physical and chemical properties and the conservation work should respect the original patterns,’’ said Ratish Nanda of Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC).
AKTC will also train youths of Nizamuddin Basti to produce Mughalstyle tiles and to preserve tile-making traditions in the country.
The conservation work at the Humayun’s Tomb is part of a publicprivate partnership between the ASI, AKTC, Central Public Works Department (CPWD), Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Aga Khan Foundation.
Some months ago, ASI and AKTC officials had removed a thick layer of cement concrete from the roof of the mausoleum. The concrete was putting a pressure of about 10 lakh kilos on the structure. This layer that had been added to the monument during the British rule to prevent water seepage also blocked the water drainage channels on the roof, leading to accumulation of rainwater causing considerable damage to the monument.
Making History Again
The eight canopies on Humayun’s Tomb were originally covered with ceramic tiles in lapis blue, turquoise blue, green, white and yellow
Tile-making techniques used by the Mughals have been lost over the centuries and very little in terms of conservation has been done when the tiles have been vandalised, fallen or simply gone missing
Traces of the original tile work on the canopies of Humayun’s Tomb helped reveal the original pattern of the tiles
Built in Mughal emperor Humayun’s memory in 1562 by his widow Hamida Begum, Humayun’s Tomb was the first structure to use red sandstone on such a large scale and also the first garden-tomb in the Indian subcontinent. It was given Unesco world heritage status in 1993
Times of India