Intl workshop on ‘Lahore Fort Picture Wall’ to begin on Jan 15

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LAHORE: A three-day international workshop will be held at the Lahore Fort from January 15 to 17 to highlight the cause for the conservation of the 1,450-feet long and 50-feet high picture wall outside the fort that comprises of some of the best specimens of decorative glazed tile and wall painting in the region.

A prototype preservation was carried over a 45-feet high and 30-feet wide panel on the western segment of the picture wall by Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA). The project engaged experts from Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France and Sri Lanka. The preservation process was started in 2016 and completed in December 2017. The three-day workshop was held as a follow-up on the prototype.

The picture wall reflected the high­est standards of17th-century Mughal period craftsmanship and was one of the key reasons for the addition of the Lahore Fort to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. The Punjab government, AKTC and WCLA were jointly holding this event, which would bring together national and international experts from various disciplines, including conservation, architecture, engineering, material sciences, history, archaeology, planning, anthropology, and heritage enthusiasts. Notable policy makers, federal and provincial government departments, as well as key donor representatives would also attend the workshop.

The purpose of this collaborative effort was to review the work carried out on the prototype on a panel of the picture wall and to generate professional discussion on a framework for further intervention. After the conclusion of the workshop, work on the remaining wall would be started by WCLA and Aga Khan Cultural Service-Pakistan (AKCSP) with the agreement of all experts.

AKCSP CEO Salman Beg said that they had carried out preliminary documentation of the picture wall in 2015-2017 as part of the larger Lahore Fort Conservation Project. In November 2016, AKTC and AKCSP organised a preliminary workshop to review the documentation process and to deliberate upon the stages of work to be included in developing the prototype of the 45-feet high and 30-feet wide panel on the western segment of the wall.

The selected panel reflected all types of surface decorations found on the wall. Work on the prototype was carried out between February and December of 2017 and included six international missions to Lahore, comprising of microbiologists, surface conservators and material scientists from Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France and Sri Lanka. In reviewing the prototype panel, the current workshop aimed to facilitate a dialogue on the way forward.

WCLA Director General Kamran Lashari said that this was a big initiative in which AKCSP had helped WCLA with their expertise and technicalities. This project would not have been possible without them, he added. He also said that all the methodologies and techniques used in this process were according to international standards, keeping in view the sensitivity of the World Heritage Site.

It is important to mention here that the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany contributed a generous grant assistance for the prototype conservation of the panel. Prior documentation work was made possible with financial support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy.