Home > Digital Library > Index of Newsletters > Vol. II No. 2 July - September 1994


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Conservation of Paper


Ms. Ritu Jain

Ms. Ritu Jain has done has M.A. (Conservation of works of Art) from National Museum Institute, New Delhi. Her topic of dissertation was "Stains and Spots on textile with special reference to Chamba Rumal’. Presently working as Conservation Assistant at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi.


Certain basic things about the deterioration and conservation of paper are well known and would not be repeated in this paper. Instead some basic issues and problems faced by conservators will be discussed for instance the problem of conversion of papers with short fibers or with high ligin content into more durable ones, or how to make acidic inks like iron gall ink or verdigris pigment passive. Fungus which is one of the most important factors of deterioration poses many problems. Suitable methods of climate control need to be found out, effective fumigation techniques, removal of fungal stains and above all how to tackle with the problem of foxing. Another question is how safe is bleaching. However, simple conservation techniques cannot be applied for cleaning certain pigments like gaugoli or lac dye. Acidity is one of the worst enemy of paper which can be removed by de-acidification. But how successful we are to provide methods, which are fully satisfactory. Amount of bulk of books in libraries can only be de-acidified using mass de-acidification but those are still in experimental stages. Chemical reinforcement still needs introduction in India as we rely on mechanical reinforcement. Lamination with cellulose acetate is no more used. What are the alternatives? Leaf casting is a recent innovation and needs more attention. Microfilming is one of the methods of preservation gut only if proper storage conditions are provided. Another recent development is digital image analysis. How far we will be able to use them is an important question. Use of natural product is again a major field needing our attention. Research need to be undertaken in all these fields in order to provide solutions to these problems otherwise our intellectual heritage, which are our pride will deteriorate further because of lack of knowledge and expertise.


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