British Museum Technical
Research Bulletin
Volume 7

All articles have been anonymously peer-reviewed by specialists outside the British Museum

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The contents of the seventh volume of the British Museum Technical Research Bulletin reflects the diverse collections held by the British Museum. The investigations they describe include not only studies made directly on objects but also encompass research that aims better to understand the history, technology and treatment of objects.

A group of four Egyptian funerary portraits, a twentieth-century Bulgarian headdress, a Roman unguentarium and a highly decorated North American skin coat were all investigated during conservation treatment, taking the opportunity to analyse their component materials being taken while they were in the studio. These studies were not limited to the analysis of the materials and techniques, but also allowed practical, aesthetic and ethical issues associated with the collection and its preservation to be highlighted.

Contributions also examine the way in which existing conservation practice can be developed, adapted, tested and re-evaluated in response to the challenges of individual objects and improvements in materials and techniques. Other papers allow the significance, authenticity or history of objects to be reconsidered, as in the case of a Yongle Buddha that proved to have separate elements dating to different periods, or an ironwood chair from KwaZulu-Natal that held an important place in the history of nineteenth-century collecting and display of African crafts.

Although most of the articles focus on the study and treatment of objects from the British Museum collection, many result from a close collaboration with colleagues outside the Museum. International, interdisciplinary teams were behind both the reassessment and analysis of an Egyptian royal heart-scarab from the Second Intermediate Period and the extensive study of mining and metal processing practices in Mauryan India based on surveys, archaeological evidence and the analysis of vessels or waste.

Bulgarian kukeri mask, 1970-71. Eu1971,01.316


 The study and conservation of four ancient Egyptian funerary portraits: provenance, conservation history and structural treatment Nicola Newman, Lynne Harrison, David Thomas, Joanne Dyer and John Taylor

 Maker, material and method: reinstating an indigenously made chair from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa Catherine Elliott, Caroline Cartwright and Philip Kevin

 A Bulgarian kukeri mask: a diplomatic gift and the conservation of its polyurethane foam decorations Clare Ward, Nicole Rode, Marei Hacke and Judy Rudoe

 A traditional Chinese method for weakening silk for use in the conservation of silk paintings Vincent Daniels, Marei Hacke, Jin Xian Qiu and Valentina Marabini

 Analytical study of the first royal Egyptian heart-scarab, attributed to a Seventeenth Dynasty king, Sobekemsaf Gianluca Miniaci, Susan La Niece, Maria Filomena Guerra and Marei Hacke

 Scientific analysis of a Buddha attributed to the Yongle period of the Ming dynasty Quanyu Wang and Sascha Priewe

 Examination and experimentation: conservation of an archaeological glass unguentarium for display Julia Barton, Andrew Meek and Paul Roberts

 Simple sophistication: Mauryan silver production in north west India Paul Craddock, Caroline Cartwright, Kirsten Eckstein, Ian Freestone, Lalit Gurjar, Duncan Hook, Andrew Middleton and Lynn Willies

 An unusual decorated skin coat from Canada: aspects of conservation and identification Pippa Cruickshank, Caroline R. Cartwright, Jonathan C.H. King and Antony Simpson