A three-day meeting in Berlin brought together experts from around the world to discuss the current practices for mural painting conservation and led to the adoption of new Guidelines.

Within the framework of the UNESCO/Republic of Korea Funds-in-Trust Project for the Preservation of the Koguryo Tombs and Mural Paintings in the DPRK, the UNESCO Expert Workshop: Conservation of Mural Paintings – Research, Access, Conservation was organized in Berlin (Germany) at the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, on 2–4 June 2015. This workshop brought together over 34 international mural painting conservators and experts from 13 countries from Europe, Asia and the United States of America, and notably brought together experts from the Republic of Korea (RoK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The workshop was not only an opportunity to reinforce the DPRK’s national capacities with regard to conservation, but also to gain insights into the conservation and management of the World Heritage property ‘Complex of Koguryo Tombs’ in the light of international conservation standards. Furthermore, the Workshop provided a platform where experts of the RoK and the DPRK could share experiences and discuss various issues related to the conservation of their shared heritage. The Workshop also contributed to promoting the visibility of the UNESCO/RoK FiT Project on the Koguryo tombs among the international community.

Invaluable exchanges occurred around interesting cases studies concerning mural painting conservation, in particular with regard to World Heritage properties and other important mural paintings. As a result of these discussions, the Workshop released a new set of General Guidelines on the Conservation of Mural Paintings, with a special focus on paintings in damp environments. This marked an important step forward and acted as a welcome, specific complement to the Principles for the Preservation and Conservation-Restoration of Wall Paintings established by ICOMOS in 2003. The new Guidelines will be a useful guidance tool for many experts specialising in the conservation of mural paintings and will be available on the World Heritage Centre’s website.

The Workshop was jointly organized by the World Heritage Centre and the Rathgen Forschungslabor of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, in close cooperation with Museum für Asiatische Kunst Berlin and the German Chapter of ICOMOS.

Berlin Guidelines for Mural Painting Conservation