PAST PROJECTS  |  2015 - 2016

Henisku

Emergency Conservation Measures to protect a dilapidated shrine and its structure.

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Introduction

In 2015, members of the Achi Association visited Henisku, a small village just behind the Fotula pass and on the way from Lamayuru to Mulbekh. Situated right next to an abandoned Lonpo House and underneath the old castle, the small temple was in an alarming condition. The roof was fairly damaged with loss of the majority of the wall paintings as a result. Some remains of figurative depictions of a huge central Buddha and a smaller Avalokiteshvara surrounded by seated, small sized Buddha’s and Bodhisattvas on the main wall and few left-over lines of a big mandala at the north wall could be found. The once beautiful paintings where in a bad condition and showed different kinds of damages like cracks, loss of plaster, hollow plaster areas, flaking paint layer, faded colours and different deposits on the surface.

Conservation

After the previous year's survey on the temple and a talk to the villagers, the Achi Association decided on a campaign to rebuild the roof and thus ascertain a future use of the temple.

Before starting the work on the temple's roof, it was necessary to secure and stabilize the fragmentary wall paintings. The wall painting conservators Angela Mitschke and Noor Jahan carried out the conservation measures: filling cracks, grouting hollow plaster areas, consolidating flaking paint layer and facing endangered parts of the wall-paintings. Supported by local masons and under guidance of architect Hilde Vets, Achi Office Manager Jigmet Namgial rebuilt the top of the walls, providing an even level for the beams of the roof. The old beams were replaced by new ones and the ceiling was completed with a layer of new boards. The roof was rebuilt per local tradition in mud and adobe bricks. With the addition of a new door, the little temple was completed again. The interior of the temple is now protected from all weathers and allows the worship of the valuable wall paintings. A restorative treatment of the paintings will follow as and when funding is available.

The participants included Hilde Vets (architect), Jigmet Namgial, Angela Mitschke & Noor Jahan (art conservators) and local workers.

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Discussion with villagers of Henisku to understand challenges of conservation in the village.

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Relaying of the Roof

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The relayed roof structure.

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Wooden door into the roof-less temple room.

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Cleaning of wall paintings and mud slurry from painted layers of the wall paintings.

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The temple after ful conservation and stabilization.

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Image showing completely dilapidated and fallen roof of the main temple room.

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Cleaning of surrounding areas of debris by illage volunteers.