NHK Science View Aug. 2, Thu. Reviving the Asuka Beauties: Restoration of the Takamatsuzuka Tomb Wall Paintings

The Leading Edge: Reviving the Asuka Beauties Restoration of the Takamatsuzuka Tomb Wall Paintings


Asuka Beauties 1972

The Takamatsuzuka Tomb was erected 1,300 years ago in what is now the village of Asuka in Nara Prefecture. On its four walls are painted the Azure Dragon, the White Tiger, the Black Tortoise and a group of women in vibrant hues called the Asuka Beauties. It was one of the greatest discoveries in the history of Japanese archaeology, but mold and dehumidification have since led to the murals’ deterioration. Can the power of science and technology restore and preserve this priceless artistic and cultural treasure for future generations?


Funori functions as both an adhesive and a surfactant that, like soap, removes stains


In March 2010, Fukunaga-san used her terahertz scanner at the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties to study one of the tomb paintings for the first time.

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