(20 Nov 2023) Manuscripts and artworks from Southeast Asia are varied and to some extent differ significantly from those found in other parts of Asia. For example, palm leaves, bamboo slats, tree bark, ivory and metal sheets, fabrics, and paper made from mulberry tree bark or from bamboo shoots have been popular materials used for writing and illumination of texts. Manuscripts as well as artefacts were often lavishly decorated with gold, lacquer, mother-of-pearl, ivory, precious and semi-precious stones, glass and mirror-glass. Paints made from minerals and plants, gum, tamarind seed, and other aqueous media have been used for the fine line and minute detail in paintings and manuscript illustrations. Such works require specialised care and conservation techniques, and in the past years conservators, researchers and curators have been working together to find the best methods for the preservation of such rare and unique objects. Numerous case studies have been shared online, giving detailed accounts of the composition of the objects, grades of deterioration, conservation techniques used to restore items and to make them presentable and safe to handle, as well as preventive care and storage in libraries, archives and museums.
A few case studies on Burmese artifacts, Thai manuscripts and paintings are shared in this blog post. Read the full article here.