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THE PAINTED CHURCH OF BIRBIR GIYORGIS: AN URGENT CHALLENGE FOR CONSERVATION [Abstract ID: 0203-01]
The church of Birbir Giyorgis is situated east of Säqota in the Kebele Asserazos, in Säqota Wäräda, Lasta. In the vicinity of Säqota, on the old salt route from Mäqälä to Gondär, are two well-known churches, the rock-hewn church of Wəqre Mäsqälä Krestos and the cave church of Sayda Kidanä Məhrät. What is less known is the church of Birbir Giyorgis, with its painted walls, from plinths to drum, all around the mäqdäs. The paintings are dated, 1766 EC, the donor, Wag šum Gigar, is pictured on the West wall lying under a splendid of St. George. The paintings, however, are in a very poor state of maintenance. They are painted in the Ethiopian fashion on squares of cloth being glued to the wall. However, the cloth is fraying, the walls have long and deep cracks, the colours are fading. A substantial process of preservation and conservation is required to save this work of art, the glory of an 18th century fully painted church in Lasta.In my paper I will show the paintings on the four walls and point out the problems of preserving the building and the paintings.