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World’s largest picture wall conserved by WCLA, AKTC

Thursday, 2019, May 2
World’s largest picture wall which is located at Lahore Fort has been completed by Walled City of Lahore Authority and AKTC
Shahab Omer

LAHORE: The conservation of the western side of the world’s largest picture wall which is located at Lahore Fort has been completed by Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) in partnership Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), Pakistan Today has learnt.

It is pertinent to mention here that the conservation work was started in January 2018 in which experts from different countries of the world worked.

It was further learnt that the process of conservation included the stabilisation and consolidation of the picture wall’s structure, as well as its decorative elements, and warranted the expertise of both heritage crafts as well as conservators. It also included archaeological excavation in order to expose the original Mughal era floor level which is seven feet below the present ground level.

It was learnt that the prototype conservation of a 35 feet long section was initiated in February 2017 and confirmed in an international workshop in January 2018 while the physical conservation of the western façade of the picture wall was carried out from July 2018 to March 2019, with funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the Government of Punjab, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

The WCLA Deputy Director Media and Marketing Tania Qureshi said, “The total length of the picture wall is 1,510 feet and 50-70 feet high whereas the western side which is conserved is 240 feet long and 50 feet high with 635 decorated recessed panels composed on three levels.”

Commissioned in 1624 by the fourth of the great Mughals, the emperor Jahangir, and completed by his son Shah Jahan in 1631, this Picture Wall is unparalleled for the dazzling brilliance of its gorgeous, glazed-tile mosaic ornamentation. This wall is ornamented with the several scenes of battling elephants, rearing horses, angels from ancient Persian mythology, lions, leopards, camels, graceful flying birds, tigers hunting deer, spotted dragons, and men playing polo, hunting lions, and leading tame antelope on leashes.

WCLA Director-General Kamran Lashari said, “This conservation project is among the best specimens of conservation in this region. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture, the cultural agency of the Aga Khan Development Network our partner without whom the Picture Wall could not have been conserved, have an enduring history and attachment with Lahore and Pakistan. We have an on-going partnership with AKTC for the Lahore Fort and Wazir Khan Mosque with a significant financial contribution from the Government of Punjab”.

“We are looking to further enhance our partnership with AKTC by finalising a PPP framework agreement which looks at greater Lahore and beyond as advised by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. The Royal Norwegian Embassy deserves special mention for their more than 25 years supports to heritage conservation. In Lahore, I can say without fear that the impetus for the conservation of monuments started with the Shahi Hammam which was fully funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. The embassy has supported work on Wazir Khan Mosque as well their contribution has been by far the most generous for the conservation of the picture wall. Additionally, the German embassy has also supported conservation of the wall by providing funding for work on the prototype,” Lashari concluded.

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