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Subject: Ink inscriptions on stone

Ink inscriptions on stone

From: Susan Weld <weld>
Date: Thursday, November 12, 1998
We are involved in a collaboration to produce digitized images of a
large number of ink inscriptions on stone (ca 2000 BP).  The
inscriptions, excavated in the 1980's, were painted with hair brush
on stone tablets of varying smoothness.  I will visit the storage
site this December to make preliminary arrangements for photography
and digitization.

I need advice on several issues:

    1.  My colleagues have not yet given me information on the
        chemical composition of the ink.  If the analysis has not
        been done yet, what methods should I suggest?  Is there a
        way to get this information without harming the artifacts?

    2.  As to future storage options, what kind of box and
        chemically inactive storage material would be best?  The
        tablets are quite thin and rather fragile, and the storage
        area is unlikely to be climate-controlled.

    3.  Does anyone have experience in restoring Chinese ink on
        stone?  In a pilot effort, a few years ago, we tried
        different light sources and infrared film without improving
        our results.

    4.  Our pilot efforts also revealed that "fading" of the
        inscriptions seems to be due to actual flaking of dried ink
        off the stone.  How can this kind of flaking be prevented?
        Is there any process that could detect areas where the ink
        has flaked off, thus improving legibility?

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:44
                Distributed: Tuesday, November 17, 1998
                       Message Id: cdl-12-44-013
Received on Thursday, 12 November, 1998

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