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Subject: Egyptian ivories

Egyptian ivories

From: Terry Drayman-Weisser <tweisser<-at->
Date: Friday, May 29, 2009
Susan White <smwhitewhite [at] aim__com> writes

>Recently I have been given two rather extraordinary ivories which I
>believe likely date from the first millennium and were likely made
>in Egypt. ...

As you know, it is very difficult to answer your questions without
seeing the objects.  I suspect that the ivories may be from
Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq, where you can have a strong
Egyptianizing style.  They could have been made in Egypt, but they
also could have been made in Iraq either by an Egyptian or by
someone influenced by Egyptian style.  I am sure you are aware of
the extensive looting that has taken place in Iraq, so the first
questions I would ask (and perhaps you have already done this) are
whether the objects were acquired relatively recently and whether
the owner has legal title. Without this, you may not want to get
involved with cleaning them.  Assuming that the owner does have
legal title, I would approach any cleaning very conservatively, as
you have, until you know the nature of the accretions. Even cleaning
off some of the accretions selectively, as tempting as it may be,
could lead to a loss of important information, especially
morphology, structure and context.  Many of the ancient Mesopotamian
ivories were decorated with color, inlays, and thin gold sheet
likely held in place with an adhesive.  I hope this is of some help,

Terry Drayman-Weisser

                  Conservation DistList Instance 23:4
                   Distributed: Sunday, June 7, 2009
                        Message Id: cdl-23-4-005
Received on Friday, 29 May, 2009

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