16.01.2012 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Stone Conservation Workshop, Borobudur, Central Java, Indonesia, 11-12 January 2012 funded by the Federal Republic of Germany

As part of the ‘Emergency Safeguarding Operation for the Borobudur Temple Compounds’, UNESCO – in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy – invited two stone conservators from Germany to the Borobudur Temple. During their ten-day stay, Drs Hans Leisen and Esther Von Plehwe Leisen, led a Stone Conservation Workshop on 11th and 12th January 2012 to around 25 participants. The participants consisted of staff mainly from the Borobudur Heritage Preservation Office and other staff from offices throughout Java.

The two-day workshop gave the participants the chance to learn from Prof. Dr. Leisen and Dr Von Plehwe-Leisen’s wealth of experience in stone conservation and their research from their studies in Cambodia, Egypt and throughout Europe. The morning of the first workshop began with an introductory session from Mr Nahar Cayandaru from the Borobudur Heritage Conservation Office followed by lectures on Stone conservation in general, stone types and weathering mechanisms, Stone Conservation Procedures and Mapping and Deterioration patterns.

The second day of the workshop was more practical based. The participants were able to watch the stone conservators make recordings from the original stones that surround the Borobudur monument itself. The participants were shown how to make ultra-sound measurements (which can test the type of stone or the stone’s degradation), water uptake measurements (which give signs of each stones porosity) and also drilling resistance measurements (which can also test the type of stone and its internal strength). The participants could see how these measurements were performed first-hand. During the afternoon, the students were shown the results of these experiments and also watched a lecture about the stone conservation practices at the Angkor Temples in Cambodia, which have been undertaken by Prof. Dr. Hans Leisen and Dr. Esther Von Plehwe-Leisen. To close the workshop Pak Marsis Sutopo thanked Prof. Dr. Hans Leisen and Dr. Esther Von Plehwe-Leisen for coming to Indonesia to share their knowledge with the Borobudur Heritage Conservation Office and the other participants.

The two-day ‘Stone Conservation Workshop’ was the final part of the visit from the German stone conservators who have been studying the condition of the stones and the bas-reliefs at Borobudur Temple Compounds for ten days. Throughout their time in Indonesia they have been assisting the staff from the BHCO with their studies of the temple and also took their own measurements to find out how best to preserve the 9th century temple.

During their time in Indonesia, Prof. Dr. Hans Leisen and Dr. Esther Von Plehwe-Leisen have also visited other temples in the Central Java and Yogyakarta regions. Staff from the BHCO and the BP3 Yogyakarta accompanied Prof. Dr. Hans Leisen and Dr. Esther Von Plehwe-Leisen to Mendut, Kimpulan, Sambisari and Prambanan temples giving them chance to see other examples of monuments from the same period.

The stone conservators’ ten-day research and workshop facilitation mission to Indonesia was made possible thanks to the generous financial contribution from the Federal Republic of Germany, to the ‘Emergency Safeguarding Operation for the Borobudur Temple Compounds’ project.

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