Japanese ancient wall paintings shown to media

Pool Photo/ Jiji Press
Mural of “Asuka Bijin” beautiful women

ASUKA, Nara (Jiji Press) — Colorful wall paintings found inside an ancient tumulus in Nara Prefecture were shown to the media before Japan marked the 50th anniversary of their discovery Monday.

The murals including those of “Asuka Bijin” beautiful women were found inside the Takamatsuzuka Tomb in the Nara village of Asuka, western Japan, on March 21, 1972, during research by the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara and others.

The tumulus was built between the late seventh and early eighth centuries. The murals are a designated national treasure.

Later, the murals were found to have been severely damaged, with mold growing on the surface.

In 2007, the Cultural Affairs Agency disassembled the tumulus’ stone compartment and transferred the murals into a provisional facility for repair in Asuka. The repair work finished in March 2020.

This time, the agency let the media enter the facility’s repair work room to look at the murals preserved there for the first time in 10 years. Inside the room, temperatures and humidity are kept at fixed levels.

The pubic is regularly given an opportunity to view the paintings through the window glass from outside the room.

“The repair work has finished, but there is no change in the situation in which (the murals) are in a very fragile condition,” said Sachio Yonemura of the agency’s tomb mural division.

Yonemura added that extreme care should be taken to preserve and manage the paintings.

The government plans to establish a facility to preserve and exhibit the murals.