- Permanent Exhibition
- Repair/ Repositioning of arm
In conversation with the curatorial team, it transpired that there was a belief that the hand had previously been incorrectly positioned, and that the two hands should be close together and may have been previously holding a lotus flower. Holes in the hands corroborated this idea. A position was found where the angle of the arm could fit one above the other, and a hole in each hand could line up. In consultation with the curator (Tim Clark) it was decided that this was most appropriate.
Old animal glue on the arm joints was removed using a Laponite HD poultice with water and a microspatula. Poulticed areas were swabbed with de-ionised water to remove any Laponite residue. There was some black filler material on the inside of the join which prevented the repositioning of the arm, in agreement with the curator, this was removed using acetne and a scalpel.
As there was very little contact between the arm join area, a bulked fill adhesive was required. Although other options were considered, it was felt that something strong was required to hold the arm in place. As such an epoxy filler, Bencon 22, was used. In order to allow the join to be reversible, layers of Japanese tissue and rabbit skin glue (around 10% in deionised water) were attached to either end of the join and allowed to dry. The idea being that the tissue and animal on either side can be taken down with water, thus releasing the epoxy repair. Small twists of Japanese tissue were inserted from the centre to the edge of the arm, which should allow water to wick into the centre (see images on Odin).
The Bencon 22 paste was mixed and used to bulk and join the arm area in the agreed position and allowed to cure for 48 hours. The full area was not filled with the Bencon paste, so areas which required further bulking were filled with Paraloid B72 in microballons (20% w/v) which was coloured to a light grey colour using dry pigments (Ivory black). One dry, this was further coloured using Liquitex acrylic paints to a more sympathetic black in keeping with the fill of the rest of the area.
(To remove fill, first remove Paraloid fill with acetone, then use moisture to release animal glue/Japanese tissue/ epoxy join.)
*Later note: Further research by project curator Akiko Yano indicates that the hands might in fact sit side by side
AK: “I was thinking more about the alignment of Kannon’s hands. Maybe, possibly, the hands might have been aligned more like side by side, rather than on top of the other...... Might the tiny holes in both hands have worked to secure a metal string (or something) coming from either sides of the (missing) lotus flower through each hand? "
Conservation comments: ""That seems entirely plausible, of the examples of the similar statues you sent, the side-by-side hands does seem to fit quite well and matches up with the idea of the lotus and the holes in the hand. I think the figure has gone through a number of repairs and changes throughout its life where the positions at the top of the arm might have been manipulated, as well as at the elbow. I can see filler material in both these areas (top of the arm running across from the armpit and at the elbow), in fact I see this on both arms. The arm came to me broken at the top of the arm, so could be repositioned at a different angle there. However, in order to achieve this side-by-side lotus position, the position of the forearm would also need to be changed at the elbow to allow for the proper angle. I wouldn’t propose at this stage taking down the join at the elbow and re-positioning. There is quite a lot of fill material at the elbow, so I imagine it is in a bit of poor condition under the elbow and it certainly wouldn’t be a small job. It might also be prudent to consider an analytical request to science to get more information on the fill material itself; see if we can identify what it is and draw some conclusions about when it might have been added to the object before we consider removing it. "
Loose paint flakes relayed using Primal B30 (as per previous treatments) diluted to 50% with deionised water. Area wetted out with White Spirit (petroleum distillate) and adhesive introduced using a fine tipped brush.
Excess adhesive, and adhesive residue from previous treatments removed using acetone on cotton swab.
Mobile feet filled with Japanese tissue and Klucel G (hydroxypropyl cellulose) fill (5% in IMS) pulp to prevent movement. Tissue is brown in colour and was left visible on base of feet.
Statue cleaned using vacuum and soft brush, and Groomstick (modified natural rubber) in areas where surface was stable enough.
Metal cleaned with Industrial Methylated Spirits (IMS) and Acetone on cotton swabs.