Analytical Examination and Conservation of East Asian Lacquer Works from European Collections
The study summarises results of a comprehensive research regarding scientific examination of coatings and foundations of selected exceptional pieces of East Asian lacquer works from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, which helped to prepare and subsequently conduct the relevant conservation treatment. Particularly, a Japanese Namban cabinet from the collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna (KHM, Kunstkammer), two Japanese lacquer cabinets and two Japanese lacquer chests from the Imperial Furniture Collection, Vienna, two lacquer cabinets from the Liechtenstein City Palace, Vienna, three lacquer boxes, a table and a cabinet from a private collection, Austria, and a series of lacquer panels from the Chinese Pavilion at Drottningholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden, were examined in past years. These comprehensive investigations by means of optical and SEM microscopy and (Py)-GC/MS techniques helped to identify both the stratigraphical layout and the detailed composition of the studied coatings, and revealed that the objects of East Asian origin were often restored and covered using European materials as well as pieces of East Asian artefacts were incorporated in European furniture pieces.
KeywordsEast Asian lacquers European varnishes Optical and SEM microscopy Pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS)
The authors wish to thank all the colleagues of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (special thanks to Shuya Wei), the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, the Liechtenstein City Palace, Vienna, the Imperial Furniture Collection, Vienna, and the Drottningholm Palace, Stockholm, involved in this research for their assistance and co-operation. In addition, we want to thank The Getty Conservation Institute and especially Michael Schilling and the RAdICAL team for their support. The Austrian Science Fund (FWF, Project No. L187-N11) is gratefully acknowledged for the financial funding.
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