Our Conservation team's expert handiwork is now on display at the Museum of East Asian Art

on Tuesday, 05 August 2014. Posted in Conservation

The Museum of East Asian Art in Bath currently has an exhibition showcasing some of their exquisite Chinese Metalwork and the conservation work carried out on the objects by conservators here at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre. The aim of the exhibition is to show that by carefully cleaning and looking after objects we can ensure they will be treasured for generations to come.

The objects on display are highly decorated often involving the use of, gold and silver or other coatings such as lacquer and enamelling. The presence of additional materials and decorative coatings makes the conservation of such objects more complex and so poses more of a challenge. Each of the treatments needs to be picked carefully to ensure the work carried out on one of the materials does not adversely affect any of the others.

The objects from the museum had accumulated a layer of dust and dirt which is normal for objects on display but some were also showing the beginning signs of deterioration through corrosion. In particular, one small gilded bodhisattva had a thick layer of corrosion surrounding its base which was disfiguring and put the object at great risk. The successful removal of the corrosion will not only protect the object from further deterioration in the future but has revealed delicate, incised decoration previously not visible.

Also on display at the museum are the tools and equipment used in many conservation treatments with the opportunity to examine objects under a microscope. A short film will be on show discussing the conservation treatment of two of the objects on display. For a sneak preview of some the conservation work carried out for the exhibition watch the video here: http://youtu.be/jifVvxDTPQg

Gabrielle Flexer, a contract conservator with the Conservation and Museums Advisory Service will be giving a talk on the evening of the 5th of September entitled Care and Conservation of Decorative Metal Objects at the Museum of East Asian Art, Bath. The talk will focus on the common materials and manufacturing processes of decorative metal objects and how this affects their conservation. We will explore a range of conservation cleaning techniques, how the treatments are adapted to match the specifics of an object and how best to clean decorative metals in the home.

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