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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Samurai Armor

by Conservation

3/31/2016

conservation , behind the scenes , object conservation , Samurai Armor , textile conservation , textiles

Another sleeve from a set of samurai armor is in the textile conservation lab this week.  The sleeve is made of many layers of different materials, all suffering their own unique and intermingled aging processes.  From inside to outside the layers are undyed jute, undyed linen, blue and yellow silk brocade, and metal chainmail loops and plates, with suede leather edges tied with silk cords.  The materials can’t be separated for treatment, and sometimes this results in some interesting conservation acrobatics!  Here, the conservator is treating the innermost layer of material of the sleeve.  A small flashlight inside lights the area to be treated while she uses a curved needle and tweezers to stitch in the small space. 

Japan; Suit of Armor, 18th century, Helmet bowl 16th century; iron, doeskin, lacquer, fabric, and fur; Museum Purchase; 1892.2784