detail wall painting
Conserving the Buddhist Wall Paintings at Mogao

Detail of the wall paintings in Cave 85 of the Mogao grottoes, where the GCI is collaborating with the Dunhuang Academy on a wall paintings conservation project. The rock temples of Mogao were created by carving into the soft conglomerate rock cliff face and plastering the walls with a mixture of local clay, sand, and hemp fibers. To prepare the surface for painting, a second layer of finer clay plaster was applied, and over this, a thin white colored ground was added. Line drawings were made over the ground to outline the figures; mineral and organic colors were added later. Photo: Francesca Piqué.