Over the last couple of days I have begun the practical element to my major project, for which I am working on Cantonese folding fan c.1840.

It was very likely made as an export item, and features figures in the mount’s design which have applied ivory faces and textile costumes. The sticks are made from bamboo and feature black lacquer and gold detailing. Initial treatment of the object has involved surface cleaning the sticks using cotton wool and a small amount of distilled water, and surface cleaning the paper mount with a soft squirrel-hair brush. The ivory faces have been cleaned under the microscope, using cotton swabs and a a minimal amount of distilled water, which has made a great improvement visually, as seen below:

 

 

The gold detailing on the black lacquer sticks has equally benefited from surface cleaning, as the gold is much more vivid and bright:

Much of the media on the fan is flaking and vulnerable to mechanical loss, therefore the next step after surface cleaning is finished will be to consolidate the pigments. For this I am investigating the possibility of using JunFunori, or Funori, but testing will be required before any treatment is carried out.

Further posts will be published as the project progresses, but for now it is promising to be a very interesting and challenging project!