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THE MURAL PAINTINGS OF QORQOR MARYAM (13TH C. AD?): FROM THE MATERIAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ANALYSIS TO A CONSERVATION PROTOCOL [Abstract ID: 0203-03]
In the course of a multidisciplinary research project on the process of the creation of Ethiopian painting we have studied murals of the rock-hewn church, Qorqor Maryam. Unlike the other churches of the Gäralta area, the murals are painted directly on the sandstone, without any ground layer. The historical interest of the paintings, their unusual technique and their poor state of preservation led us to launch a technological and conservation survey. The rock-hewn church of Qorqor Maryam was carved out of an Addigrat sandstone formation. The paintings were applied with a very fluid medium and the colors do not form homogeneous layers. The technical study indeed shows that the pigments are embedded in the sandstone rather than on its surface. Therefore, the state of degradation of the paintings is directly linked to that of the sandstone, which is currently under study, along with a climatic survey. The paper will focus on the results of the technical study of both paintings and sandstone, leading to the presentation of the conservation issues: the condition survey of the paintings, the rate and type of degradations of the sandstone and the influence of the inner climate.