A Survivor with a Setback

The Animalistic Vase was brought to The Center because it was broken into over twenty pieces and minute fragments. It had previously been extensively repaired with adhesive, and the joints restored with painted plaster. Before treatment began, it was difficult to determine just how many losses there were, but it appeared that all main fragments were present and the losses were minimal. On the surface, there was archeological evidence, as well as evidence of use and wear with related scratches and abrasions.

Before Treatment
Animalistic Vase
Precolumbian
Terracotta with slip decoration
16” x 9” x 8.5”

The conservator began with a gentle cleansing of the ceramic surfaces, preserving all archeological evidence. Old adhesive residue on the edges of shards was removed with a solvent, and the older plaster fills were removed with conservator’s tools. Before anything could be glued back together, a dry-fit process was undertaken to determine an appropriate adhesion order and clamping system. A protective thin layer of acrylic resin was applied to the shard edges, and then the broken fragments were affixed to each other with a higher concentration of the same resin. The break lines and losses on the surface were filled with a tinted mixture of natural pigments, acrylic resin, and glass micro-balloons; finally, these fills were inpainted with reversible acrylic paints, applied in tiny dots with a thin brush. Despite the long and complex treatment, the vase remained fragile after treatment and required great care with handling and display.

 After Reassembly: Verso (l) and Recto (r): 

After Inpainting, Verso (l) and Recto (r): 

Justin Gilman

The business end of Twin. In charge of landing interesting new projects, making clients happy, and coffee. A maker of beautiful music and master of oral sound effects. A secret Jim Henson nerd. Will always find ways of working smarter. Will never participate in karaoke.

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