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Restored ancient tomb murals to go on display in Nara

An image of the "Azure Dragon" mural from the Takamatsuzaka tomb in Nara Prefecture is seen in February 2017. (Photo courtesy of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties)

ASUKA, Nara -- Murals that have been extracted from two ancient tombs here will go on public display in July -- following a painstaking restoration process -- the Agency of Cultural Affairs announced on June 12.

The paintings, which were drawn on walls inside the Takamatsuzuka and Kitora tombs many centuries ago, will be exhibited in the Nara Prefecture village of Asuka between July 15 and 21, and July 15 and Aug. 13, respectively.

In 2007, the stone chamber in the Takamatsuzuka tomb, on which the murals were drawn, was dismantled due to factors such as mold growth. A project to restore murals was then launched, and the lengthy process has now reached the final stage. Among the various paintings, a mural of the Chinese mythological character, "The Azure Dragon" has had all the dirt removed -- making its outline clearly visible.

Admission to see the Takamatsuzuka tomb murals is free of charge, but the daily capacity is about 400 people. It is necessary to reserve places in advance, and if demand exceeds the capacity, a lottery system will be used to allocate tickets. The first application window is between June 13 and 18. For further details, visit www.takamatsuzuka-kofun.com (available in Japanese).

In addition, a mural of the Chinese mythological character "The Vermilion Bird" from the Kitora tomb will go on public display at the Kitora Tumulus Mural Experiential Museum between July 15 and Aug. 13. Admission is free, but a lottery system will be used if demand exceeds the capacity, which is about 700 people per day. For further details, visit www.kitora-kofun.com (also in Japanese only).

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