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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Shrine Time

by Conservation

4/7/2022

behind the scenes , objects conservation , CAMConservation

This week in objects conservation: We take another look at the progress being made on our 17th C Jain Shrine. Last month we saw a small area where the thick grimy coating had been removed and the beautiful colors and gilding had been exposed, now we will take you through the process of coating removal. First, before coating removal can begin, fragile paint and background layers are consolidated to ensure that the paint remains stable during coating removal. Next our conservator applies a specially formulated solvent mixture to a small cut piece of an absorbent microfilament fabric, this is placed on the surface and allowed to sit for several minutes. The coating removal can be monitored by a visible color change in the fabric as it absorbs the solubilized coating from the surface. Next the fabric is removed, and a hand rolled cotton swab is lightly rolled against the surface to remove any remaining coating. It is a delicate process that works in small areas at a time to ensure that the paint layer remains undisturbed throughout coating removal. Keep an eye on our blog to check on our progress on this exciting treatment!

Before coating removal: 

Evolon turning yellow, indicating coating is being absorbed:

After coating removal bright green paint with small black spots is visible:

Jain Shrine, early 17th Century, Patan/Gujarat/India, carved wood painted and gilded, The William T. and Louise Taft Semple Collection, 1962.459