A rare royal tapestry rescued from Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, after a massive fire broke out in April, has been restored and is ready for public display. Days after the fire at the cathedral, the tapestry was evacuated from the blackened interior of the gothic monument and was stored in two parts in trunks. Those trunks protected the water-logged rug from the molten lead falling from the roof. Even after it was rescued from the cathedral, the tapestry had already soaked up huge amounts of water and increased its weight by thrice.
Later, it was then handed over to France's Mobilier National, which oversees the country's collection of valuable furniture and artworks, for restoring the relic. The restorers used a wind tunnel to help dry the tapestry and then freeze it to kill off any fungi and parasites that might eat away at the weaving. But before bringing it to the Mobilier National, it was loaded into a large container whose temperature was gradually lowered to -35 degrees Celsius over a 24-hour period. The tapestry stills shows traces of humidity and other stains, along with some moth damage and rips in the weave.
The tapestry was finished under the reign of King Louis Philippe of France in 1838 and was donated to the cathedral in 1841. The 25-metre long rug was used to roll out on historical occasions including the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1980. The internal pillars and walls of Notre-Dame were covered with tapestries during the Renaissance as the Gothic style fell out of style.
In April, after the fire in the cathedral was doused, donations poured in from around the world, from ordinary worshippers to high-powered magnets. But, as per foreign media reports, it had also opened gates for fraudsters to fool donors into handing over cash and taking advantage of the tragic incident. It was reported that the scamsters unleashed their plots, falsely claiming they were helping to rebuild the centuries-old cathedral.