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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Wax Treatment

by Conservation


behind the scenes , conservation , object conservation , bronze , sculpture


This 10th C bronze sculpture of Sri Devi is a new acquisition in the lab for treatment before going on display in December. The bronze came to us with a heavy coating of wax on the surface. Wax is commonly applied on bronzes to protect the surface from corrosion and to maintain a shiny surface. When too much wax is applied details can be covered, making them look less defined. Wax can also hide pockets of active corrosion that if left untreated can cause damage to the surface. The wax on this sculpture will be removed with a solvent gel and mechanically scraped out of recessed areas to bring out more surface detail. Once the wax is removed and any active corrosion stabilized, the sculpture will be coated with a much thinner acrylic resin that will seal and protect the surface while allowing the intricate details to stay visible.


Image Credit: Processional Image of Sri Devi, Late 10th Century-Early 11th Century (Chola Dynasty), bronze, H. 11 1/8 in. (28.3 cm), Alice Bimel Endowment for Asian Art, 2017.55.