Architectureslider

Picture Wall comes alive – Conservation of Lahore fort picture wall

Issue | 47
Text & Visuals | Wajahat Ali & Zeina Naseer Butt

The Picture Wall (PW) is one of the principal features of the Lahore Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is 1,510 feet long with an average height of 50 feet and forms the northwestern façade of the Lahore Fort. Built circa 400 years ago during the Mughal era, the Wall stands out as an example of the high¬est standard of craftsmanship. Together with the Shah Burj Gate (Hathi Pol), the PW forms the original private entrance to the Fort. It is one of the largest murals in the world embellished in cut glazed tile mosaic work, filigree work, fresco, painted lime plaster and cut brickwork. The wall is exquisitely decorated with imagery of hunting, battle scenes, angels and demons, human figures, animals, birds, as well as geometric and floral patterns. It is mainly responsible for the Lahore Fort’s World Heritage status.

The conservation of the PW was initiated by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC), and its country affiliate, the Aga Khan Cultural Service-Pakistan (AKCS-P).  A 11m wide and 17m high segment of the western part of the wall was selected for the prototype conservation. This resulted in an international workshop in January 2018. The outcome of this prototyping and the conclusions of the workshop set restoration principles and standards for the conservation of the entire wall. The first section completed is the 240 feet long western facade. This was done in collaboration with the Walled City of Lahore Authority from July 2018 to March 2019, with generous funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the Government of Punjab, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

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