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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Pottery Puzzle 2

by Conservation


behind the scenes , conservation , Pottery , Islamic Art , objects conservation

paper template and notes to reconstruct ceramic plate


This week in objects conservation: Pottery Puzzle 2.  At the time of the last post, this 9th c. Islamic ceramic plate was thought to be made of 135 fragments.  After a thorough cleaning that removed all of the overpaint, more joins were discovered.  These were carefully taken apart, and the final count is an amazing 153 fragments! Now, a paper template has been made to number the fragments and help devise a strategy for the reconstruction. The reconstruction is practiced using very small pieces of tape to hold the fragments together. This way our objects conservator can establish an order for putting the fragments back together that ensures each piece fits perfectly, and no piece gets “locked out” of the puzzle. Due to the number of pieces, this part of the conservation process is likely to take a while to complete. Once the order is established the plate will be reconstructed and it will be ready for the next step in its conservation treatment. Stay tuned to track the treatment from start to finish!


Image Credit: Plate, Abbasid Period (9th Century – 10th Century), earthenware with amber and manganese-purple painting over white slip and transparent lead, Given in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Williams by their children, Cincinnati Art Museum, 1948.92.