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Subject: Balata


From: Mark Vine <100436.3447>
Date: Wednesday, July 7, 1999
This enquiry is placed on behalf of an individual without access to
the list. Some 30+ years ago he worked with the Macusi and Wapisiana
(pronounced Wopisharn) tribes deep in the South American jungle.

In thanks for services rendered he was presented by tribal elders
with a number of balata figures, 5" high figures each typifying
everyday scenes of American Indian life.

Balata is prepared by the Indians by placing the raw rubber in
boiling water, the supple rubber (browny yellow in colour) is then
moulded into shape as though it were plasticine.

For the last 30 years the figures have remained in cabinets on view
but are now oxidising badly, several of the figures are becoming
brittle and we have been asked whether it is possible to coat the
figures with some form of protective sealant, and if so what might
be used or what alternate treatments might anyone recommend.

The figures were recently inspected by ethnographical experts who
regarded them as being of significant ethnographical importance
worthy, when in a more stable condition, of museum display.
Any recommendations would be appreciated.

Mark Vine
Conservation Resources
+44 1865 747755
Fax: +44 1865 747035

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:6
                  Distributed: Wednesday, July 7, 1999
                        Message Id: cdl-13-6-015
Received on Wednesday, 7 July, 1999

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