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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Statue of an attendant of Mithras wearing Phrygian cap and cloak; Parian marble; later restored as Paris.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 2ndC (?)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 137.16 centimetres
  • Bibliography

    • Sculpture 1722 bibliographic details
  • Location


  • Exhibition history


    1976-1985, Royal Scottish Museum

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    30 September 2002

    Treatment proposal

    Clean and examine.


    The statue is in a good condition although extremly dirty with ingrained staining and loose dirt. The sculpture is a composite object, constructed of ancient Roman and 18th century restored fragments. The head and the body are antique and belong together as the piece has what looks like an ancient break across the neck.

    The sculpture has over 100 restored fragments, which were counted to record the extent of the restoration. The main restored fragments are the arms, (right arm, from below the elbow with apple, left hand with crook, the base and over 100 fragments placed over the whole of the statue.) These smaller marble inclusions make up the ends folds on the drapery and the ends of hair.

    Treatment details

    The sculpture was vacummed to remove loose dirt from the surface and any built-up dust embedded within deeply craved areas such as the hair and folds of drapery.

    The marble must have been cleaned in its history (probable at the museum), as there are residues in the form of large dark stain patches, probable from a past cleaning treatment. This type of staining can occur when a poultice or cleaning pack, in this case Sepiolite (magnesium silicate clay) is applied to the marble but then insufficiently removed. This over time could result in the uneven absorbtion of dirt particles in the areas where the clay was not removed. The overall appearence of the statue is visually unsightly and cleaning the sculpture will be the conservation treatment.

    The sculpture is constructed from a fine grained marble which has probably been polished or reworked at the time of restoration, leaving a very smooth surface.

    To access the level of cleaning required to make the sculpture have a unified appearence deionised water cotton wool swabs were used to clean the marble. This was effective at removing only the water soluble lightly ingrained dirt, but had no effect on the dark greasy patches over most areas.

    Cleaning tests were carried out on the dark patches to see if they could be lightened or removed completely. Laponite RD (sodium magnesium lithium silicate) poulticed were placed over intereaving tissue, in localized areas for approximately 10 minutes. this softened the dark patches which could then be removed with deionised water or gently steamed.

    After cleaning the statue, the 18th century plaster fills were removed mechanically as they had weakened over time and become very discoloured. The break fills were replaced using Microballoons (silica or phenolic resin) in 20% Paraloid B72 (ethyl methacrylate copolymer) in Acetone and IMS 50:50 mix.The fills were retouched out using acrylic paints. The statue was coated with Polyethylene Glycol was in deionied water.

    About these records 

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

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Object reference number: GAA80105

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