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Subject: Symposium on the preservation of religious textiles

Symposium on the preservation of religious textiles

From: Foekje Boersma <boersma-ryan>
Date: Sunday, December 12, 2004
The Preservation of Religious Textiles
The Hague, The Netherlands, venue still to be appointed.
September 10, 2005

This symposium will focus on the conflict of the preservation of
religious textiles, which are still in use. It will furthermore
discuss their role once religious textiles have been transferred to
a museum. The presentations will focus on ethical dilemma's,
politics, resources, etc., rather than looking at conservation
techniques and methods. In a poster session more attention will be
given to conservation projects of (individual) textiles.

    R. Lugtigheid (SKKN, the Netherlands)

    Report on research project into the state of preservation of
    textiles in the Dutch churches.

        Following the Second Vatican Council in 1967 a lot of
        religious textile has fallen into disuse. As a result, many
        beautiful brocade and silk garments ended up on draughty
        attics in cardboard boxes: out of sight, out of heart. In
        2003 a Dutch pilot project started under the auspices of the
        Roman Catholic Church, the Old-Catholic Church and the
        Foundation for Ecclesiastical Art and Artefacts in the
        Netherlands (SKKN): this research project investigates
        conditions in which textiles are being kept in Dutch
        Churches and their current condition. The aim of this
        project is to propose solutions to improve conditions in
        order to safeguard this fragile ecclesiastical heritage. The
        findings of this research will be presented on this day.

    M. Vroon (Aachen Germany)
    Report on the inventorisation project of ecclesiastical

        Ms. Vroon will report on a joint project by several textile
        conservators of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. They are
        regularly confronted with the task of making inventories of
        religious textiles. In order to enable comparison of the
        outcome of these separate projects, it was decided to unify
        work forms. After several brainstorming sessions, revising
        and fine-tuning, there is now a work form and a detailed
        list of specific textile terminology, for example
        chasuble-shapes, necklines, embroidery stitches, etc. The
        advantages are discussed as well as the future plans for

    A. Klint and M. Bergstrand (The National Heritage Board of
    Saving by using, to preserve the cultural heritage of churches
    by making use of it.

        This presentation focuses on the preservation of
        ecclesiastical textiles in Sweden. Religious textiles have
        been used and preserved in Swedish churches since the Middle
        Ages. Since the 17th century the National Heritage Board
        looked after the interests of the State Church according to
        law and regulations. This paper discusses how the
        intervention of the National Heritage Board has sometimes
        resulted in objects ending up in museums, the only
        possibility at hand to preserve them. Nowadays the interest
        is strong in keeping the objects in the churches even if
        they are no longer in use and the Swedish church no longer
        is a State Church. The question is raised what will happen
        when these objects are removed from their liturgical
        context? Instead of forcing the church to function as a
        museum the National Heritage Board encourages preventive
        conservation through a teaching program thus letting the
        church personnel participate in saving the cultural

    E. Alexandri,T. Koussoulou, S. Rapti (Technological Education
    Institute of Athens, Greece)
    The Epitaphs in the Greek Orthodox Church: preservation
    proposals when there are still in use.

        In this presentation attention is given to the Epitaphs used
        in the Greek Orthodox Church, its iconography and
        manufacture. As these textiles are often still in use, they
        require special care for their preservation. Ethical
        considerations are made regarding use, display and storage
        of the objects. Preventive conservation methods for Epitaphs
        still in use and display proposals will be analysed in this

    M. van Roon (the Netherlands)
    Vandalism or respect? Recycling textiles in the Catholic Church.

        Religious textiles often represented great value. The
        materials, silk and gold thread, were precious and
        embroidery was labour-intensive. In the past silk and
        embroideries were therefore recycled regularly. Silk of
        ladies' dresses, which were out of fashion, were used to
        make ecclesiastical vestments. Embroideries of worn
        chasubles or copes were removed and re-used on new
        vestments. In the process, originals were damaged
        irreversibly, but thanks to this in our eyes sometimes crude
        action, many items have survived that otherwise would surely
        have been lost.

    T. Heady (USA) Senior Conservator- Textiles
    The preservation of religious textiles from Tibet.

        Ms Heady will talk about the preservation and conservation
        of Tibetan Thangkas, which are still used in the Monasteries
        today. This paper deals with the issues of use and
        preservation in Tibetan culture and how these objects are
        used and preserved in the museum environment. Storage issues
        are discussed. A summery of past treatments and ideas will
        be listed as well as what the present day thoughts about
        handling and treatments are.

    J.M. Cohen (Dutch Jewish Museum)
    The preservation of Jewish textiles.

        Ms. Cohen will address the use and reuse of ceremonial
        Jewish textiles, which are bound to religious rules. The
        donation of textiles to the synagogue is custom in Jewish
        religion. In the nineteenth and twentieth century, religious
        objects in use were gradually considered more as artefacts
        or objects with a historic value that were interesting to
        display--sometimes causing tension. She will conclude with
        today's opinions.

    M. Kite (UK) Senior Conservator--Textiles at the Victoria and
    Albert Museum in London
    The preservation of religious textiles in museum context.

        Ms. Kite will focus on the changing role of religious
        textiles in a museum setting. She will present the history
        of the conservation of some of the worlds most important
        vestments, which have been in the museum's collection for
        quite some time. The different methods of display and how
        they now will be presented to the wider public will be
        discussed. Understanding of the function and meaning of
        these vestments and of the iconography depicted on them was
        an essential part of the most recent conservation and a
        necessary precursor to the practical conservation work being
        carried out.

Pre-registration before 1 March 2005 will allow you to attend the
symposium at a lower fee, Euro 70. After 1 March 2005 the cost will
be Euro 80. The fee covers the symposium's attendance, lunch and
post-prints of the presentations.

In early 2005 you will receive the final programme.

The symposium is planned in such a way that participants for the
ICOM-CC 14th Triennial Meeting (12-16 September 2005, The Hague) can
stay in The Hague. A list of hotels will be released by ICOM-CC in
early 2005--please refer to the ICOM-CC 2005 website/information for
an accommodation list.

Request a registration form from

    f.boersma [at] helicon-cs__com
    lugtigheid [at] skkn__nl
    fritsregter [at] hetnet__nl
    +31 0 20 693 15 44 (phone/fax)

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:27
                Distributed: Thursday, December 16, 2004
                       Message Id: cdl-18-27-017
Received on Sunday, 12 December, 2004

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