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Sunday, 22 August 2010

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Report on Sigiriya frescoes handed over to President

A comprehensive report on the current state of the frescoes at the Sigiriya rock fortress, a world heritage site was handed over to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for further evaluation on Friday.

The President said that he would visit the Sigiriya Fortress in the near future to assess the current situation, Director General of the Archaeological Department Prof. Senerath Dissanayake told the Sunday Observer.

He said the Government is considering bringing down a renowned Italian expert to the country to restore the frescoes to its original state.

Some of the frescoes were badly defaced when an insane man sprayed paint on the frescoes and it created a commotion in the country in 1967. The then Government brought down world-renowned Italian expert, Luciano Maranzi who after much effort restored the damaged frescoes.

The Director General said the 22 frescoes at Sigiriya need a complete facelift as the original colours had been fading gradually since 1930. The protective coating on three or four frescoes had come out with the passage of time, he said. However, he denied reports, that the frescoes had been damaged in the recent past due to neglect or as a result of sunlight falling on them towards evening.

According to newspaper reports the cloth cover to prevent sunlight falling on the frescoes had been removed on a directive issued by the Cultural Ministry. There were also certain reports that suggested that building toilets near the Lion's paws were stalled following public agitation.

Asked whether the spraying of insecticide to drive away bumble bees that often attack visitors to the Rock Fortress had an effect on the frescoes, as alleged in some newspapers, the Director General said that the bumble bees leave the rock every two months and regroup a few months later and added that nobody had sprayed any insecticide to drive them away.

 

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