THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
4 June 2010
To all National Spiritual Assemblies
Dear Baha'i Friends,
With gladdened hearts, we hasten to share with you the attainment of a significant milestone in the restoration work being undertaken on the Shrine of the Bab. Following an extensive and exacting search for a suitable manufacturer--a search that ended successfully in Portugal--a contract has been signed for the production of eleven thousand gilded tiles to cover the dome of that exalted Sepulchre, replacing the set which, after nearly sixty years' exposure to the elements, had suffered irreparable erosion. Stringent laboratory tests on the replacement tiles indicate that they will be fit to adorn the superstructure of the Shrine for no less than two centuries. The rigour of the manufacturing process, drawing on leading technology, is necessitated by the excellence demanded of the final article. Each tile will be fashioned from pure porcelain, in place of the clay used originally; moulded into one of more than seventy unique shapes and sizes; fired in computer- controlled kilns at temperatures of up to 1,400 Celsius; gilded with a reinforced finish prepared using a solution containing the most refined gold; subjected to scrutiny for imperfections; and upon approval, individually wrapped to preserve it during transportation. The first consignment is scheduled to reach the Holy Land by September. Our confidence in the tiles' durability is matched by our satisfaction that the cost involved does not exceed what is reasonable for so complex an act of craftsmanship, whereby an expanse of no less than two hundred and fifty square metres will regain the lustre intended by the Guardian for the august edifice that embosoms the sacred remains of a Manifestation of God. Only one original tile will remain: beneath it, placed there by Shoghi Effendi himself, is a fragment of plaster from the prison cell in Mah-Ku that once confined the Martyr-Herald of the Faith.
[signed: The Universal House of Justice]