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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Porcelain ladle with curved handle. The ladle has cream crackled glaze. There is a leaf and five small protruberances moulded near the end of the handle. A pair with PDF.199.

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 18thC-20thC
  • Materials

  • Ware

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Depth: 125 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Published PDF date : 18thCRoom 95 label text:

    PDF 165

    Ladle with crackled glaze

    This porcelain ladle has applied moulded decoration on the handle. Although thousands of these ladles were originally made they are relatively rare now in museum collections.

    Underfired porcelain, incised and with transparent glaze
    Zhangzhou ware 漳州窯
    Zhangzhou, Fujian province 福建省, 漳州
    Qing dynasty, about AD 1700–1911


  • Bibliography

    • Medley 1980 p.28, no.81 bibliographic details
  • Location


  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    3 April 2009

    Reason for treatment

    Permanent Exhibition

    Treatment proposal

    Dismantle, clean, reassemble and fill chips.


    The object was previously reconstructed and the old adhesive has yellowed and is highlighting all the joins. Some specks and small patches of yellow adhesive residue were also visible on the inside and underside of the bowl. An acrylic paint has been used to fill chips and overpaint some of these joins.

    The previous restoration used a steel dowel to strengthen the broken handle.

    Surface dirt has obscured the moulded decoration on the handle, especially around the protruding bumps, which this conservator believes are “feet” or “rests” for when the ladle is placed overturned on a table (or during firing in the kiln). The surfaces of these “feet” are unglazed.

    The rim of the bowl is unglazed and was very dirty as a result. The rest of the object has a white crizzled glaze.

    Treatment details

    Although the old joins were stable and well-made (flush joins with no lips), the yellowing of the adhesive and overall 'dirty' appearance of the object required it to be dismantled, cleaned and reassembled with additional fills where necessary (e.g. chips).

    For treatment to proceed, the old, round “PDF” paper label affixed to the underside of the bowl was removed by swabbing the edges with a cotton swab lightly wetted with IMS (industrial methylated spirit) and lifting the label with a scalpel. The label was placed over a join and obstructed the current treatment. At the conclusion of treatment, the label was re-affixed to the underside of the bowl, but not over any joins.

    Cleaning of unglazed areas:

    The aim of cleaning was to lessen the grimy appearance of the object but not to clean to a pristine condition nor remove all traces of time and use. Several spot tests were undertaken to determine the most suitable solvent to clean the unglazed surfaces. Solvents and detergents tried include acetone, IMS, deionised water, saliva, diluted Synperonic A7, and a 70:30 mixture of deionised water and IMS. Swabbing with deionised water swabs and saliva swabs were effective in removing the surface the dirt. Synperonic A7 was found to be slightly more effective than deionised water and saliva. And acetone, IMS, and the IMS/deionised water mixture were not effective. Therefore, swabbing with saliva and deionised water was used to clean these areas and lighten the staining.

    Dismantling the bowl:

    Dismantling of the bowl was accomplished by isolating the area with laboratory sealing film around a wad of cotton wetted with acetone creating a localised acetone environment. These were left on for 45 minutes. The joins in the bowl were softened and fragments could be separated apart.

    Dismantling the handle:

    The overpaint and adhesive around the join on the handle was softened and could be removed using a scalpel, however, drops of acetone was fed into the join to release the steel pin from the slot in the bowl section. The pin could not be removed from the handle.

    Glazed surfaces and join edges were cleaned by swabbing with acetone to remove old adhesive. Any remaining dirt or soot on the edges not removed by acetone were cleaned with 70:30 IMS:deionised water.

    Stain removal along a crack near the handle junction:

    Laponite wetted with Synepronic A7 was used to remove the stained crack near the junction of the bowl to the handle. After several tries, this procedure was not effective in lightening the staining. Ariel ® detergent mixed in deionised water was used to wet the barrier tissue underneath the Laponite poultice. The poultice and Ariel was applied every day for a week. The stain has significantly lightened but was not removed.

    Reconstruction of the object:

    The object was reconstructed using Paraloid B-72 (ethylmethacrylate copolymer) in acetone.

    About these records 

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Porcelain ladle with curved handle.  The ladle has cream crackled glaze. There is a leaf and five small protruberances moulded near the end of the handle. A pair with PDF.199.

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Object reference number: RRC38583

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