During the recent war in Syria, the city of Palmyra was bombarded and pillaged as part of the battle for territory. Within the walls of this ancient city were several ancient artefacts of priceless value. Sadly, many of these precious items were destroyed and damaged in the fighting. In a bid to rebuild and paint over the mistakes of the past, twenty salvageable pieces were rescued and shipped to Prague for regeneration.
As part of the custody deal, the expert curators and restoration artists of the Czech National Museum in the capital were tasked with making them as smart as they could. The work to bring these objects back to life was undertaken under the watchful eye of the general public. An intriguing process of art and design has been played out in real life over the past few years. Now, the work is complete, and the rare artefacts are able to safely return home.
According to the director of Prague’s National Museum, Michal Lukes, (ArtNews) the damage is caused by not only fighting but by deliberate destruction through malice and breaking pieces off to sell. In the chaos and excitement of war, undoubtedly people let their impulsivity get the better of them. According to the museum, the works they were requested to renew were smashed with a hammer.
No strangers to the restoration of ancient relics, Prague’s National Museum has previously been tasked with mending works rescued from Sudan and Afghanistan. At the end of May, the museum will close its exhibition and safely return everything they were given in much better condition. Maybe we can learn from this exchange of culture and expertise, with plenty of works out there that might be better with the cleaning and preservation that institutions can provide.
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