The second winter-spring workshop of the ‘Pilot Youth Training Program’ was held in Dehradun in February. The group continued with their training in measuring and drawing of architecture and was introduced in damage assessment, maintenance and conservation of earthen heritage.
In the beginning of August flash floods and mudslides hit Ladakh, killing hundreds of people and destroying hundreds of houses. The cloudburst near Leh caused the most victims and damage, but also a lot of other areas in Ladakh and the neighbouring regions were affected. In Wanla and Kanji the overflowing rivers destroyed bridges and roads, but no one came to harm. The main buildings survived the thunderstorms.
Kanji: Early in the year, Konchok Norbu completed the reconstruction of the painted valance frieze on all walls in the Tsuglag-khang.
On the west wall, the remaining earthen fillings were primed and inpainted and some details of the reduced paint layer were inpainted on the west and the south walls.
The reconstruction of the sculpture basement in front of the north wall was continued and some missing ornaments on the sculptures’ pedestal as well as the missing fingers and curls of the sculpture of Chenrezik Yigedrupa were reconstructed and inpainted.
The team benefited from the presence of the conservation scientist Christine Bläuer and examined and assessed some details of painting technique.
At the three walls of the entrance facade of the temple the plaster was repaired and the walls white washed. Also the east facade plaster underneath the waterspout was repaired and whitewashed.
The third campaign of the ‘Conservation Manual of the Kanji Village’ was undertaken by the PhD student Désirée De Antoni.
Wanla: The ‘Pilot Youth Training Program’ continued with lessons pertaining conservation, maintenance and basics of conservation science and geology. Practical lessons concentrated on the documentation and the conservation plan of the footpath to the temple and its religious structures. Also a group of schoolchildren from Wanla participated. Some students of the core group received their first hands-on training in conservation and cleaning of wall paintings and sculpture.
The inpaintings of the lantern murals in the Avalokiteshvara temple were completed. On gallery level, the missing areas of the south east wall and the north west wall were consolidated and cleaned. On ground floor level some parts of the painted woodwork and the sculptures in the side niches were cleaned. The painting technique was examined.
Team at sites:
Deldan Angmo, Sandeep Bisht, Christine Bläuer, Désirée De Antoni, John Harrison, Ina Heine, Wolfgang Heusgen, Susan Müller, Konchok Norbu, Ernesto Noriega, Martina Oeter, Heike Pfund, Konchok Phanday, Joyoti Roy, Barbara Sedlaczek, Alexandra Skedzuhn, Konchok Thinlas, Hilde Vets, Katharina Kohler
Kanji: In the interior of the Tsuglag-khang inpaintings were executed on the east and west walls. The bottom section of the murals was examined in order to determine its original appearance. Detached pieces of the sculptures were reattached and loose parts were secured. The paintings on the sculptures’ pedestal were partly uncovered and missing plaster areas filled. In some areas the paint layer needed to be fixed. The colour of the new part of the ceiling was adjusted to the adjoining historic ceiling. On the façade of the entrance the fillings were coloured to fit into the surroundings.
The second campaign for the ‘Conservation Manual of the Kanji Village’ was undertaken by the PhD student Désirée De Antoni.
Wanla: The conservation and surface cleaning of the Avalokiteshvara tempel's lantern was completed and inpaintings were carried out. The wooden ceiling was cleaned.
On gallery level, a part of the south-eastern wall was consolidated and cleaned, and some inpaintings were carried out. One of the small sculptures situated on the gallery was cleaned.
On ground floor level and gallery level mapping of plaster cavities was carried out in preparation for necessary stabilization work. The scaffolding, which was situated in the centre of the temple in order to work on the wall above the main beam was removed.
Cracks had occurred on the roof, which were restored last year. They were filled with new plaster.
An architectural survey of the passageway chorten at the foot of the ridge was undertaken by the architects Dagmar Ley, Dieter Bauer.
The ‘Pilot Youth Training Program’ commenced with the first winter-spring workshop in Dehradun in February and was followed by the first field work campaign and a village workshop in summer in Ladakh.
Team at sites:
Deldan Angmo, Sandeep Bisht, Susanne Bosch, Désirée De Antoni, Susan Eilenberger, John Harrison, Wolfgang Heusgen, Christian Luczanits, Bernadette Mannuß, Holger Neuwirth, Ernesto Noriega, Konchok Norbu, Claudia Pfeffer, Konchok Phanday, Joyoti Roy, Alexandra Skedzuhn, Konchok Thinlas
Kanji: In the Tsuglag-khang the remaining conservation work of the paintings was finished and the inpainting of the murals was continued. Konchok Norbu executed some more painting reconstruction work of the upper border motives of the paintings. Konchok Thinlas took down the provisional lamp table in front of the sculptures’ pedestal and reconstruction work of its missing parts was begun. On the façade stabilization work was carried out to secure the historic plaster. In autumn Konchok Thinlas and the local carpenter laid the wooden floor inside the temple.
The students Susan Eilenberger, Ina Heine, Susan Müller, and Claudia Pfeffer undertook a survey of the condition of two other temples in the village and the student Giulia Bravo carried out the first fact-finding campaign for the ‘Conservation Manual of the Kanji Village’.
Wanla: The part of the double roof behind the lantern was restored. For this purpose the earthen roof load and the broken wooden construction were removed. The roof was then reinforced by two aluminium joists. After the reconstruction of the truss and the renewal of the roofing, the temporary posts in the main niche could be removed. The work was accompanied by a readjustment of the coffered ceiling.
While the roof was open, heavy rainfalls occurred and dampened parts of the wall above the main beam with its plaster and paintings. Emergency measures were necessary to ward off further damage and some areas of plaster had to be stabilized by grouting.
The painting conservation team began with the conservation of plaster and paintings in the lantern. A test area for inpainting was carried out.
On gallery level the left part of the north western wall was cleaned, consolidated and some inpaintings were executed.
On ground floor level parts of the north western wall and the north eastern wall were cleaned.
The students Susan Eilenberger, Ina Heine, Susan Müller, and Claudia Pfeffer undertook a survey of the condition of the passageway chorten, located at the foot of the ridge.
Ernesto Noriega went to Ladakh and to Dehradun to prepare the ‚Pilot Youth Training Program’, which was planned to commence in spring 2009.
Team at sites:
Susanne Bosch, Giulia Bravo, Ina Heine, Wolfgang Heusgen, Susan Eilenberger, Bernadette Mannuß, Susan Müller, Konchok Norbu, Ernesto Noriega, Martina Oeter, Roland Pabel, Claudia Pfeffer, Heike Pfund, Konchok Phanday, Philipp Schubert, Barbara Sedlaczek, Konchok Thinlas, Sven Trommer
Kanji: The team of painting conservators concentrated their work in the Tsuglag-khang on the wall painting conservation. The conservation work was followed by a surface cleaning with solvents. Additionally, some necessary conservation work on the exterior wall paintings and some maintenance work on the architecture was executed. The old access hatch to the roof was closed with flat stones and mortar. The team also worked on the graphic and the photographic documentation of the wall paintings and sculptures.
Wanla: In the Chugchig-zhal Temple the team proceeded with the cleaning of the wall paintings on ground floor level, evaluated the success of the last year’s work on the wall paintings above the main beam and carried out the mapping of damages in the lantern.
The architectural team continued the investigation of the historical construction and the structural damage of the temple. The roof section above the veranda was restored.
Fundraising and the planning of the ‘Pilot Youth Training Program’ were continued.
Team at sites:
Wolfgang Heusgen, Bernadette Mannuß, Kamila Markov, Martina Oeter, Roland Pabel, Konchok Phanday, Joyoti Roy, Philipp Schubert, Konchok Thinlas , Sven Trommer
Kanji: Conservation work was continued on south and east walls and a part of the upper geese frieze was reconstructed. Wooden elements of the temple architecture were assessed and conserved. The new roof added late 2005 resisted the catastrophic rainfalls of this summer well.
Wanla: Restoration and conservation work was continued on gallery level, south wall. The roof above the back of the temple was opened up deep enough to fully reveal its structure and the construction of the wall resting on the main beam on gallery level. The roof sections next to the lantern were restored.
Andreas Küng took samples from the temples in Kanji and Wanla to gain a deeper understanding of the materials examined in situ in 2005.
A preliminary mission for the ‘Pilot Youth Training Program’ took place in Ladakh. The team was accompanied by the social geographer Dr. Verena Knippel. The aim was to evaluate the feasibility of the project in different locations.
Team at sites:
Gerold Ahrends, Susanne Bosch, Yvonnè Erdmann, Wolfgang Heusgen, Bernadette Mannuß, Yvonne Mohr, Konchok Norbu, Ernesto Noriega, Martina Oeter, Roland Pabel, Heike Pfund, Konchok Phanday, Steven Post, Joyoti Roy, Philipp Schubert, Alexandra Skedzuhn, Konchok Thinlas, Sven Trommer
Kanji: Over winter, a serious leakage occurred on the south side of the roof, which was apparently caused by a blocked water spout. This resulted in additional damage which affected an area with a width of about 20cm from top to bottom of the south wall. In response to the newly damaged areas on the south wall, a second roof was constructed in September/ October.
The conservation measures were continued on the south and the west wall. For the first time, the local Thangka painter and school teacher Konchok Norbu joined the team in Kanji. He reconstructed a part of the missing upper border motives. Inpainting was carried out on the west and the north wall. The three sculptures were cleaned. In addition their painting technology and state of conservation was investigated.
Wanla: On ground floor level the team continued the cleaning of the south-east wall. On gallery level necessary conservation measures and surface cleaning was carried out on the wall above the main beam. An inpainting test area was also executed on this wall.
The restoration of the roof began by removing the surplus load of earth. About one third of the roof’s surface was worked on and a new mud layer was applied to render the surface impermeable.
The team was accompanied by Andreas Küng of the “Expert Centre for Monument Conservation” at the Federal Polytechnic School (ETH) Zürich. He carried out in situ microscopic analyses of paintlayer and prime coating materials. Sponsored mainly by a member of the patronage committee, the young Czech-Swiss director Vladimír Jedli?ka accompanied the team in July and August to shoot a portrait film on the Achi Association’s work in Ladakh.
Team at sites:
Christian Luczanits, John Harrison, Wolfgang Heusgen, Bernadette Mannuß, Kamilla Markov, Yvonne Mohr, Konchok Norbu, Martina Oeter, Heike Pfund, Konchok Phanday, Steven Post, Barbara Sedlaczek, Alexandra Skedzuhn, Alexandra Stajkoski, Konchok Thinlas
John Harrison surveyed two Drikung temples in remote places, Urbis and Potoksar, and stayed in Drangtse in order to prepare complete and accurate drawings of the so called Old Temple. Mauro Bertagnin and John Harrison carried out further investigations at Skurbuchen castle and began with the filling of gaps in the walls.
The team of painting conservators was joined by Yvonné Erdmann, Bernadette Mannuß, Yvonne Mohr, Heike Pfund and Alexandra Skedzuhn. This allowed the team to split into two groups working simultaneously in Kanji and Wanla.
Kanji: Mauro Bertagnin and John Harrison visited Kanji and repaired the roof where a water leakage had been noticed the previous year. The painting conservation team concentrated on the cleaning and securing of the murals.
Wanla: The architectural team opened a small portion of the temple roof in order to study the layering of the structure. The aim of this investigation was to help in preparing plans for the reduction of the roof load. The painting conservation team concentrated on securing the loose plaster parts on the wall above the main beam.
The Patronage Committee started its activities, meeting two to three times a year.
Team at sites:
Mauro Bertagnin, Yvonné Erdmann, John Harrison, Wolfgang Heusgen, Bernadette Mannuß, Yvonne Mohr, Holger Neuwirth, Konchok Norbu, Martina Oeter, Heike Pfund, Konchok Phanday, Steven Post, Barbara Sedlaczek, Alexandra Skedzuhn, Konchok Thinlas
Kanji: The wall painting conservation team continued the work. Further investigation on the façade revealed that more paintings are beneath the white wash (‘Karsi’). They also discovered a multicoloured base decoration on the conserved parts of the interior walls.
Wanla: The architectural team, accompanied by the undergraduate student of architecture Nicole Klaesener, started a thorough analysis of the foundations and the overall condition of the walls. Excavation at the exterior of the walls was required to obtain more information.
The proposed work was discussed with the village goba, the president of the tsokspa (oeskyong) and mistry Kunchok Murup. The latter had worked with Behl and had undertaken some investigation work and repairs for Achi in previous years.
The Lamayuru monks’ committee gave permission to remove, after a puja had been performed, the mani walls built against the external walls of the temple and to move a statue inside the temple to inspect the floor and the lower walls of the apse. They found that the temple completely rests on solid rock and not, as previously suspected, partially on a manmade stone foundation, and that some of the threatening looking cracks in the lower parts of the walls must have remained unchanged for centuries. This strengthened the theory that most of the structural problems of the temple must originate in the roof, and possibly the intermediate gallery.
The opening of the roof itself was held back because unexpected problems had occurred: the villagers had started building two small structures, a lamp-house and a habitation for the custodian monk, between the temple and the monks’ house, severely affecting the unique silhouette of the Wanla temple complex on top of the ridge. The architects convinced the villagers to level the constructions they had begun and to rebuild them instead in a discreet corner within the rocky surroundings of the temple. The painting conservation team carried out first cleaning tests on one of the heavily soiled walls on ground floor level (south east wall).
For the first time, Mauro Bertagnin joined the team in Ladakh and together with John Harrison, Lama Konchok Phandey and Edoardo Zentner he visited the majority of the Achi Association sites. During a brief stay in Skurbuchen, they inspected the castle. The building, probably dating back to the 16/17th century but extended and adapted during the 19th century, showed cracks which led the villagers to fear a partial collapse. Further investigations were carried out and a possible intervention the following year was contemplated.
The Board of the association was restructured, accepting Mauro Bertagnin as a member of the Board and nominating Edoardo Zentner as Vice-President. Georg Moersch decided generously to assist as an advisor of the Achi Association. Charles and Anneke Zijderveldt created a Patronage Committee with the task to foster the association’s network.
Team at sites:
Mauro Bertagnin, John Harrison, Christian Luczanits, Martina Oeter, Konchok Phanday, Steven Post, Barbara Sedlaczek, Konchok Thinlas, Hilde Vets
Anneke and Charles Zijderveldt joined the project, putting their many years of experience in project management, PR and fundraising at the disposal of the Association. In May and June 2002 John Harrison undertook the architectural restoration of the Kanji temple. The measures included the extension of the foundation around the building, the repair of damaged wall sections, the complete replacement of the roof and a slight raising of the central pillar. Due to lack of sufficient funding in time, the painting conservation could not be continued this year.
Team at sites:
John Harrison, Konchok Phanday, Konchok Thinlas
Due to organizational problems the architectural restoration of Kanji had to be postponed. In July a painting conservation team consisting of Barbara Sedlaczek, Alexandra Stajkoski, and Katja Piech worked in the temple in Kanji and the Guru Lhakhang at Phyang. They focused their work on executing test samples on areas with different types of damage. In Kanji above the door they were able to uncover a good deal of poorly preserved original painting that was previously not visible. On the façade of the temple next to the entrance they uncovered quite well-preserved paintings, which are more or less contemporary with the interior paintings. One of them shows an image of Manjushri.
Team at sites:
Konchok Phanday, Katja Piech, Barbara Sedlaczek, Alexandra Stajkoski
In spring 2000 Kanji was visited briefly and further surveys were carried out by Holger Neuwirth, Wolfgang Heusgen, Gerald Kozicz and Christian Luczanits. In autumn 2000 the painting conservators Martina Oeter, Barbara Sedlaczek and Steven Post and the architect John Harrison visited Kanji again to survey the condition of the paintings and test different conservation methods. These studies enabled the finalization of a conservation concept for the Kanji temple and its murals. The work was planned to begin in summer 2001 with the architectural consolidation of the building. The conservation of the paintings should begin immediately after the architectural restoration. John Harrison visited Wanla again and was able to clarify important questions regarding the monument’s structural problems. He also conducted architectural surveys of Bodkharbu and Skurbuchen.
Team at sites:
John Harrison, Wolfgang Heusgen, Gerald Kozicz, Christian Luczanits, Martina Oeter, Holger Neuwirth, Konchok Phanday, Steven Post, Barbara Sedlaczek
In spring 1999 the Avalokiteshvara temple in Wanla was visited by Mr. Benoy K. Behl, a photographer, who with the assistance of the Indian army 3rd Infantry Division, undertook some repairs (ref. Hindustan Times 08.08.1999, Indian Express 11.11.1999). Unfortunately he made no report of the work.
In September 1999 Edoardo Zentner, John Harrison (architect) and Deborah E. Klimburg-Salter (art historian) visited the Guru Lhakhang of Phyang and the Avalokiteshvara Temple at Wanla again. In Wanla they were accompanied by Delden Lama, assistant to Togden Rimpoche, the monk resident at the temple, and the village carpenter Mistry Kunchok Murup, to investigate the Behl restoration.
They further surveyed the Drikung monuments of Kanji, Kanji Lhachuse, Bodkharbu, Skurbuchen, Lehdo, Shara and Tangtse. John Harrison wrote a short report on the architecture of these buildings. As the temple in Wanla had just been restored by Mr. Benoy K. Behl, the Achi Association decided to focus its attention firstly on the small Kanji Temple, which was found to be in immediate danger (one wall had separated from the others).
In an initial architectural and art-historical survey the Guru Lhakhang of Phyang, the Senge Lhakhang of Lamayuru, the Avalokiteshvara Temple at Wanla and the temple in Sumda Chung were visited by Holger Neuwirth, Wolfgang Heusgen (architects) and Christian Luczanits (art historian). Of the buildings surveyed, the Wanla temple was identified as the monument which should be given priority concerning immediate conservation measures. For each of the monuments visited a short report on its condition and necessary conservation measures was carried out.