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Subject: Masks


From: Dale Kronkright <dkronkri>
Date: Friday, January 15, 1999
Louise Bacon <bacon [at] horniman__demon__co__uk>, on behalf of
Sophie Julien writes

>I am involved in a project dealing with the Horniman Museum's
>collection of Nigerian skin covered masks (sometimes known as
>Ekoi masks) and am posting this query in the hope of contacting
>and entering into discussion with anybody with experience of
>similar material, or carrying out research on skin.

Over the past 5 years, my staff and I have been investigating some
of the physical properties, deterioration and preservation of
painted brain-tanned skins from Spanish Colonial New Mexico
(1698-1820) and Pueblo and Plains Native American artists.  We've
made some interesting observations about osmotic swelling that we
are trying to correlate to temperature of shrinkage, as an
indication of state of preservation and rate of ongoing
deterioration at various exhibition and storage temperatures.  We
have really nothing to offer you regarding Ekoi masks, but I would
be interested in entering into a dialogue where we could exchange
our experiences and observations.  We, too, are interested in the
materials and techniques of manufacture and are building a data base
of pigments identified on Southwest and Southern Plains painted
Native American and Colonial Spanish objects utilizing polarized
light microscopy and micro chemical confirmation. We are also are
experimenting with the possibility of extracting tanning agents and
casting the extract on a salt plate, to be characterized with our
Nicolet Protege FTIR.  Insights into techniques to isolate lean
pigment mixtures bound to individual collagen fiber bundles for
light microscopy would be most welcome.

Dale Kronkright, Senior Conservator
Museum of New Mexico Conservation Department
P.O. Box 2087
Santa Fe NM, 87504-2087
505-827-6358, ext 634

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:58
                 Distributed: Friday, January 15, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-58-002
Received on Friday, 15 January, 1999

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