Ï The project on restoration of the Buddha's head continues in Turkmenistan
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The project on restoration of the Buddha's head continues in Turkmenistan

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The project on restoration of the Buddha's head continues in Turkmenistan

The State Museum of the State Cultural Center of Turkmenistan hosted a presentation of the interim results of the conservation and restoration work on the Buddha's head, conducted as part of a joint project with specialists from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles, California). 

The American Museum delegation is once again in Ashgabat on a working visit. According to Susanna Gansicke, head of the Department of Antiquities Conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum, an assessment of the artifact's condition was conducted to determine the best approach to its conservation and restoration. However, there is still a significant amount of work ahead for the specialists.

The foreign colleagues are conducting research in the laboratory of the State Museum on a daily basis. The experts involved in the project, conservator Fabio Colombo and Giuseppe Salami, Professor at the University of Padua in Italy, 3D computer visualization specialist, plan to restore the missing parts of the Buddha's head using 3D printing. 

The fragment of the sculpture, found in Ancient Merv in 1960 and dated back to the 5th century, is a part of a stupa - a Buddhist architectural and sculptural cult structure erected in Merv, a city that was located on the Great Silk Road over one and a half thousand years ago. According to researchers' assumptions, the stupa was destroyed. Therefore, to preserve the statue's head, Buddhist monks buried it in the ground. 

Today, the task of the specialists is to stabilize the fragments of the head for their further connection. The American experts have conducted an inspection, photo documentation and photogrammetry of the Buddha's head. Some structures have already been recreated using 3D printing. The specialists will have several more visits to Turkmenistan before achieving the final result. 

The outcome of the work will be the display of the Buddha's head at the State Museum of the country.

This is the 30th project of the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation program. The implementation of the project started in January 2023.