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BOOK ON CONSERVATION OF CULTURAL HERITAGES

 

Conservation is a field of both science and art.  It is gaining increasing importance world over as there is greater awareness and a sense of urgency about the need to conserve and preserve cultural heritages.  This issue of the newsletter takes a look at some of the books available in our library on this subject.  IGNCA has a conservation in our library on this subject.  IGNCA has a conservation laboratory, where restoration work is done of objects in our archives.

Conservation Of Historic Buildings by Bernard M. Feilden: Historic Buildings have the qualities of low energy consumption, loose fit and long life, so the lessons learned from their study are relevant to modern architecture which should aim at the same qualities.  They teach us that buildings work as spatial environmental systems and must be understood as a whole.  There is no dichotomy between modern buildings and historic buildings - they both are used and abused.  This book is based mainly on the personal experience.  It surveys the principles of conservation in their application to historic buildings and provides the basic information needed by architects, engineers and surveyors for the solutions of architectural conservation problems in almost every climate as conservation work is multi-disciplinary involving many skills, which contribute to a balanced solution.

Early Advance In Conservation Edited by Vincent Danields: documents conservation processes, which were developed and used before it became common to publish information of this type.  It also details ways of dealing with former methods of conservation that have not 'stood the test of time'.  It is a useful work of reference for methods to be adopted and not to be adopted.

 

Preservation Of Historical Records: Old documents that have survived are durable, whether inscribed on clay tablets or written on parchment, vellum, or rag paper.  Resisting deterioration they have come down through the centuries intact, many being almost as legible as when written or printed.  Twentieth-century conditions reverse those of the past.  The volume of material is immense.  The selection what to retain and what to discard is a complex process.  The materials themselves are fragile; whether comprised of paper made from pulp in the past century, or tape, or disks, they are subject to eventual deterioration due to such factors as humidity and heat as well as frequency of handling.  This book has produced an enlightening analysis of the problem and sensible recommendations for its solution.

Conservation Of Documents In Libraries, Archives And Museums by R.S. Singh:  There is an unhealthy gap between the custodians of conservation material and the scientists who have an excellent technical expertise on the subject.  A meeting ground must be developed for an interdisciplinary approach to develop better conservation practices.  The main purpose of this book is to collect available data on paper; its physical and physico-chemical qualities,  factors of deterioration and methods of conservation which are not available in any single work on conservation of works of art and a restorer is at a loss to know how to proceed; what to test; what are the hazards and what are various tests he should undertake are some of the issues dealt with.

Conservation Of Manuscripts And Documents-Problems And Prospects: is a compilation of seminar (Lucknow, 1990) papers.  The papers discuss problems of conservation of manuscripts and documents, as they exist in different types of institutions - museums, libraries, oriental research institutes, private collections etc. and recommended solutions.  It emerged during discussions that lack of a conservation laboratory is a major problem.  But even after the establishment of the conservation laboratory, there are certain difficulties faced by the conservator.  The recommendations of the seminar throw light on how best the entire scene for the conservation of manuscripts and documents of India can be improved.  The conclusions arrived at the seminar were presented to various government, universities, institutions, library departments, etc. in country.

 

NDT On Art: 'NDT on ART' is the short form for Non-Destructive Testing on art.  A series of six International Conferences on "Non-Destructive Testing and Microanalysis for the Diagnostics and Conservation of the Cultural and Environmental Heritage" were hosted between 1983 and 1999 by Central Institute for Restoration (I.C.R.) and Italian Society for Non-Destructive Testing Monitoring Diagnostics (AIPnD).  This book besides giving very useful information to operators and researchers in the NDT sector, acts as a stimulant and contributes to keeping at its best the level of interest in all the conservation experts.  Thus, the historical and scientific "vectors" converge as much as possible in the same methodological direction, so as to realize the maximum reciprocal interaction and advantage.  These are many possibilities for the development of new non-destructive procedures and equipment in the restoration field.  However, scarce commitment is given, by the academic world, to the practical-technological field of conservation, deemed unproductive on a scientific basis.  This book is a basic guide in the subject.

Conservation Of Metals In Humid Climate:  is a publication of the proceedings of a Seminar (December 1987).  Some of the papers in the book include: 'Conservation of Metals-Problems and Prospects;'  'Methods of treatment of Iron Object;' 'Treatment of corroded Copper Coins;' 'A note on the problems of Decay of Metal Objects with Special Reference to Indian Museum Collections;' 'Conservation of Metal objects in Thailand;' 'Training in Metal Conservation;' 'Conservation of Metallic cultural property under high humidity in Japan;' and 'Conservation of Metals - some rather ignored aspects.'  The book is edited by O.P. Aggarwal.

The Organic Chemistry Of Museum Objects by John S Mills and Raymond White: The knowledge of the chemical structures of the materials is important for a conservator, because structures determine physical properties, reactions with other components of the biosphere, and responses to the various sources of energy.  There has been a decline in the use of many natural products, and less research is now carried out on them both in industry and by the universities.  Increasingly, museums and galleries have to carry out needful research themselves.  Often much information is available but results of relevance to objects of art and archaeology are scattered through the literature of many disciplines in several languages.  Furthermore, the absence of commercial or technological importance for many of these results means that they often do not find their way into recently published books on relevant topics, such as coatings technology.

 

Conservation of Wall paintings in India - Achievements and Problems: is also the result of a seminar (Lucknow, 1994).  There are several important, but unresolved, problems connected with the practices of conservation of murals of India.  The questions whether or not to reintegrate with surrounding areas which had once fallen but have now been filled in, the status of conservation of wall paintings and its problems as they exist and the choice of materials for conservation, are among those discussed in the book.  Although there are problems, there have been achievements also.  Case studies of the restoration work done at a various sites have been presented so that the techniques adopted could be discussed.  This volume is like a compendium of problems on the one hand and achievements on the other.  Contributors are the top most scholars and conservators of India.  It has been edited by O.P. Aggarwal.

The Conservation Of The Indian Heritage: This book is a collection of articles contributed by a vast array of scholars-Foreign and Indian.  What is good about this book is that it not only discusses the problems before the country but also offers remedies and solution.  Broadly, the book sets out to follow four major tasks - the need to think in broad interdisciplinary terms when considering conservation in the Indian context, to call attention to some of the steps which are being taken to counter these threats, and to stress the relationship and interdependence of the two main aspects upon one another.  It is edited by Bridget Allchin, F.R. Allchin and B.K. Thapar.

Heritage Conservation: Preservation And Restoration Of Monuments by N.L. Batra: aims to impart a great deal of knowledge for dealing with the different types of problems of conservation and gives an insight into what is required for safeguarding our cultural property.  Beginning with an introduction to the subject, it takes one through an insight into the history of conservation, concept of conservation in the past and present types of buildings, techniques of conservation both for structures and the excavated remains, the material used in the ancient buildings, methodological studies of various kinds of buildings posing different problems and preparation of project schemes and their execution.  The volume's target users are archaeologists, organizations and private bodies entrusted with the care of ancient buildings.

Conservation Of Manuscripts And Paintings Of South-East Asia by O.P. Aggarwal:  Normally, when the conservation of objects is discussed in an article or in a books, it is in terms of individual materials like metal, stone, textile, glass or paper - rarely is it in terms of a region.  However, the materials and the techniques employed for producing works of art in different parts of the world many differ from each other considerably.  For a conservator to be successful, it is necessary that he or she should understand these nuances of Asian art.  Lack of knowledge of the importance of various parts of these paintings may lead to disastrous results.  In this book an attempt has been made to point out the peculiarities of various items and the procedures for their conservation.  The problems are of importance not only to South and South-East Asia but also to many Western museums and institutions, since the materials discussed in these pages are to be found in collection throughout the world.  It should be mentioned that interest in their conservation is rather new and there are still numerous problems, which need to be solved.

 

Museum And Protection Of Monuments And Antiquities In India by H. Sarkar: This book is devoted mainly to be problems of the protection of India's cultural property through a broad-based museum movement and by means of legislative measures.  It deals with the history of India's museums movement, its achievement and shortcomings and also suggests measures to steer it on an even keel.  The book is divided into eleven chapters.  There are appendices reproducing the important documents published by the International Council of Museums and the UNESCO.

Conservation And Restoration Of Cultural Heritage by Arun Ghose: It is known that oil paintings are complicated, multi-layers structures.  They are further complicated because of the materials used in them vary from painting to painting, from one period to subsequent period and also from one school of art to another school of art.  it is, therefore, only expected that the causes of deterioration of oil paintings will depend on its particular structure and on the materials used.  The first three chapters of this book deals with lining and structural repair, cleaning of paintings and in-paintings techniques.  To these are added two more, dealing with scientific examination and preventive conservation.  For the serious readers the appendix on adhesives in restoration of paintings could be of much use.  A survey on contemporary materials and techniqes used in the examination and lining of paintings in different museum laboratories in the world adds much value to the publication.

 

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