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Project

Category

Partner project
Individual project

Start

2017

Status

Active

PROFOUND STUDY OF HYDROUS AND SOLVENT INTERACTIONS IN CLEANING ASIAS LACQUER

PROFOUND STUDY OF HYDROUS AND SOLVENT INTERACTIONS IN CLEANING ASIAN LACQUER

The PHySICAL project focusses on the scientific study of the interactions of organic solvents with lacquer surfaces to formulate “best practices” for cleaning Asian lacquers. The emphasis is put upon possible changes in chemical as well as physical aspects of the lacquer through solvent and aqueous cleaning. Thereby special attention is imposed to the lacquer collection of the Royal museums of Art and History, Brussels, Belgium (RMAH), by evaluating the current condition of the lacquerware and proposing “best practises” for safe cleaning and hence long-term preservation. The work progressed with the production of Asian lacquer mock-up’s and artificial ageing tests.

The Py-GCMS methodology for analyzing Asian lacquer was further refined by optimizing the pyrolysis temperature and the gas chromatography method, as well as by the evaluation of different derivatisation methods: Thermal Hydrolysis and Methylation (THM) and in-situ, post pyrolytic trimethylsilylation (TMS). Both have advantages and drawbacks, but (THM) was finally chosen as the main derivatisation method, while (TMS) is used to specifically analyse carbohydrates present in the Asian lacquers.

Seven solvents were chosen for the first extraction tests (as an aim to define the efficiency and risk of using solvents during cleaning), to evaluate which compounds are extracted from the aged Asian lacquer surface. Results showed that polar solvents extracted quite some compounds from the aged surface and might be too strong for cleaning. Apolar solvents extracted less compounds, and are hence the safest option, but could be less effective in cleaning . More solvents will be added to these tests in the near future based on the results of an international survey which was recently launched, and also the application of solvent mixtures must be evaluated.

 

PRINCIPAL RESEARCHER
PROJECT TEAM
  • Delphine Mesmaeker
  • Steven Saverwyns
  • Frederic Lynen
  • Nathalie Vandeperre
  • Maarten van Bommel
  • Henk van Keulen
  • Michael Schilling
  • Marianne Webb
PARTICIPATING INSTITUTIONS
  • Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK/IRPA), Brussels
  • Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH), Brussels
  • Ghent University (UGhent)
  • University of Amsterdam (UvA)
  • Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE)
  • Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), Los Angeles

 

 

POSTER PRESENTATIONS

 

ORAL PRESENTATIONS
  • Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science (NICAS) colloquium, 7 July 2022, online. Jonas Veenhoven, Differentiation between primary and secondary pyrolysis reactions to improve the identification of Asian lacquer macromolecules.
  • International conference “Nanban. Far East. Close Art” 4-5 October 2019 Warsaw, Poland. Elise Andersson, Jonas Veenhoven and Paul van Duin. Material and cross-section analysis of Japanese Namban lacquer.
  • 9th meeting of the Users’ Group for Mass Spectrometry and Chromatography – MaSC, Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI), 3-7 juni 2019, Ottawa, Canada. Jonas Veenhoven, Steven Saverwyns, Henk van Keulen, Maarten van Bommel and Frederic Lynen Canada, GCMS identification of de-polymerized leachable molecules in organic solvent extracts from unaged an artificially light aged Asian lacquer films for evaluating cleaning procedures.
  • Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Art and Science (NICAS) colloquium, 31 May 2018 Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Jonas Veenhoven, Analysis optimization using THM-Py-GC/MS on artificially light aged Asian lacquers.
  • Netherlands Institute for Conservation, Arts and Science (NICAS) project day, 13 November 2017 Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Jonas Veenhoven, PHySICAL-Profound study of Hydrous and Solvent Interactions in Cleaning Asian Lacquer.

 

Funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO).