British Museum blog

Trips to Xiamen Museum and Lanzhou conference on paper conservation

Valentina Marabini, British Museum

Examining the condition of a painting

The conservation studio at Shanghai Museum is often asked to conserve paintings for other Museums, which has given me the opportunity to observe the staff here working on a number of different, challenging objects.

I was kindly invited to join the conservators on a trip to the Xiamen Museum to return 15 conserved paintings and collect 10 new paintings in need of conservation. I was fortunate to be able to see the Xiamen Museum paintings before conservation – in quite poor condition and to follow the conservation assessments.

At Shanghai airport on the way to Xiamen Museum

An international conference on paper conservation across East Asia that I went to in December gave me an opportunity to learn more about the spread of expertise across the region in greater detail.

The conference took place in Gansu province, Lanzhou. Its theme was the research and conservation of paper from the Silk Road. The first gathering of this conference took place in Beijing in 2006, and was followed by a second and third event in Japan and Korea respectively.

Langzhou National Museum

This symposium was held by Unesco, the Chinese Academy of Cultural heritage, Gansu Provincial Museum and Gansu Archaeology research Institute, and united conservators from the five Asian countries of China, Japan, North and South Korea and Mongolia to share and discuss the conservation of paper relics.

On this occasion particular focus was put on the different techniques used in traditional paper-making in each country, and modern solutions for preserving the region’s paper heritage were presented by the various expert guests. A special exhibition also gave me a chance to see unearthed paper relics from the Silk Road itself.

The hectic city of Shanghai

Back in hectic Shanghai, the environment in which I work is unique with an intense daily rhythm of tasks. The experience of learning from the wonderful professionals in this field really is a privilege.

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#onthisday in 1831: Charles #Darwin embarked on his journey on the HMS Beagle. Here's the ship's chronometer 
#history #ship Merry #Christmas to all! For our final #BMAdventCalendar here’s a drawing of Christmas Day A drawing of Christmas Eve, with angels bearing the infant Christ to earth #BMAdventCalendar Born #onthisday 1790: Jean-Francois Champollion, who deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs using the Rosetta Stone Dreaming of a white #Christmas? Here’s a wood-engraving of snowflakes #BMAdventCalendar We've reached the final gallery space in our #MuseumOfTheFuture series looking at all of the galleries in the British Museum. This is Room 95, the Sir Joseph Hotung Centre for Ceramic Studies. The Chinese ceramics featured include the Sir Percival David Collection. Porcelain was first produced in China around AD 600. The skilful transformation of ordinary clay into beautiful objects has captivated the imagination of people throughout history and across the globe.
Chinese ceramics, by far the most advanced in the world, were made for the imperial court, the domestic market or for export. Sir Percival David mostly collected objects of imperial quality or of traditional Chinese taste. Within this gallery of almost 1,700 objects are examples of the finest Chinese ceramics in the world, dating from the 3rd to the 20th century. Some are unique creations, while others were mass-produced in batches of several hundred at a time. Technological innovations and the use of regional raw materials mean that Chinese ceramics are visually diverse. The gallery was newly opened in 2009 and features touchscreens instead of paper labels.
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