NRICH Completes Conservation Treatment of 17th Century Mongolian Buddhist Scriptures, Fully Restoring Damaged Texts

NRICH has completed conservation treatment of Mongolian Buddhist scriptures from the 17th century. This restoration work was commissioned by the Institute of History and Archaeology at the Mongolian Academy of Sciences (MAS). In 2019, the two organizations signed an MoU to promote research and conservation on cultural heritage in Korea and Mongolia.
The scriptures were unearthed from arid soil. Their paper and bark pages were crumpled and torn into pieces, with contaminants on the surfaces rendering texts illegible. To tackle this issue, NRICH removed contaminants by applying appropriate amounts of moisture and also unfolded crumpled pages. The torn parts of paper pages were reinforced using mulberry paper, whereas those of bark pages were joined or consolidated using cellulosic resins. With these treatments, the scriptures were restored to almost their original state. Moreover, infrared imaging allowed for clear identification of unreadable characters, thereby enabling research on the content contained within the scriptures.
The restored scriptures were returned to Mongolia in August 2021, and based on the results of NRICH’s conservation treatment and scientific examination of these artifacts, the Mongolian Academy of Sciences (MAS) is currently working on a translation of the scriptures.
Also the MAS plans to showcase the scriptures through the academic research papers and exhibitions.

1. Mongolian Buddhist scripture (paper) before conservation treatment
2. Mongolian Buddhist scripture (paper) after conservation treatment