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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Islamic Pottery

by Conservation


behind the scenes , Islamic , Pottery , Iraq , X-ray , objects conservation

ceramic plate pieced together


This week in the objects conservation lab: This plate dates from the 9th-10thC Iraq. It is part of our collection of Islamic pottery that has been coming into the lab over the past two years due to failing adhesives that were used to repair the objects decades ago. As with previous objects from this collection, this plate appears to be made from many fragments from multiple ancient objects that were plastered and painted over to create one single object. This practice was common and is seen in similar collections of pottery worldwide. In order to gain a better understanding of how the plate was put together we took the plate to our friends at Ethicon Endo Surgery to be X-rayed. The X-ray on the right reveals that the plate is broken into many smaller pieces that are not visible to the naked eye. You can also see darker striations of a higher density material that are not visible when looking at the surface. In the photograph on the upper left, a black light is used to make foreign material fluoresce, in this case it shows a modern paint used to disguise repaired cracks. With the information gathered from these scientific techniques our conservator will start to plan an appropriate treatment so the object can go back on display! 


Image Credit:

Abbasod Period, Iraq, Plate, 9th Century- 10th Century, earthenware, Given in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Williams by their children, 1948.92