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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: 16th century Iznik plate

by Conservation


ceramics , islamic ceramics , Islamic Art , Islamic , behind the scenes , objects conservation

This week in objects conservation: this 16th century Iznik plate is in the lab receiving treatment. This disassembled plate has extensive dark brown staining along its break edges where the porous unglazed ceramic has absorbed grime and adhesive residue over the years. When the edges are joined together a distinct dark line can be seen, which can distract from the beautiful floral design. Our objects conservator is using a poultice to draw out the discolored grime to create a more seamless repair. The poultice is a mixture of a synthetic clay powder and water which forms a clear gel that is applied to the break edges. As the poultice dries it draws the staining out of the ceramic and can then be brushed off the surface. In the photos you can see that after the first application the poultice is full of grime being removed from the ceramic edge. Another few rounds of poulticing will be carried out before the plate is reassembled and ready for display. Check back to see how it is coming along!

Poultice applied to stained surface: 

After removal of poultice:

Dish, 1550-60, Turkey, earthenware with underglaze polychrome painting, Given in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Williams by their children, 1948.135