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Subject: Iron armatures in Chinese ceramics

Iron armatures in Chinese ceramics

From: Robert Parthesius <parthesi>
Date: Thursday, November 28, 1996
Lisa Bruno <lbruno [at] hotmail__com> writes

>For the recent reinstallation of the Chinese Galleries at The
>Brooklyn Museum, I treated a tomb model of a Horse and Rider.
>...
>An iron armature has been fired into the ceramic at the horse's
>front and back legs.  The armature is completely mineralized and has
>caused the ceramic to break at both legs.

I was very interested by your message over iron armatures in a
chinese horse. As a matter of fact I had a similar case last year
for which I could not really find an explanation.

I treated a tomb model of a grey clay horse with rider, unglazed but
with rests of polychromie, with 4 broken legs. It belong to a group
of figures dated by TL between 300 to 900  AD.  It is suppose to
come from North China. By examination I saw some traces of iron on
the break edges of the legs, my first thought was the iron had been
used to repair the legs an but on X-ray we saw that square iron bars
were going from leg to the other through the body in a U shape both
at the front and the back legs. The disintegration of the iron had
been causing some damage on places along the legs. After searching
in the literature I saw this technique is mentioned in the articles
S. Koob is naming. It comforted me in the idea they were iron
armatures backed with the object.

I. Garachon,
Rijksmuseum,
Amsterdam

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:52
                Distributed: Wednesday, December 4, 1996
                       Message Id: cdl-10-52-006
                                  ***
Received on Thursday, 28 November, 1996

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