Islamic Copper-Based Metalwork From The Eastern Mediterranean: Technical Investigation And Conservation Issues

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Publication Type:

Conference Paper


La Niece, Susan;


Conservation and the Eastern Mediterranean: Contributions to the 2010 IIC Congress, Istanbul, p.35-39 (2010)


Fine copper alloy vessels are an important class of metalwork made during the Islamic era (which began in ad 622) in the lands bordering the Eastern Mediterranean. Many of these vessels are decorated with silver, gold and black inlays that are easily damaged or lost. Candlesticks and other multi-component pieces frequently suffer because of the weakness of the original joining techniques used. Elemental analyses (by atomic absorption and inductively coupled mass spectrometry) of the collections at the British Museum have already been published, and an extensive programme of X-ray fluorescence analysis, Xradiography and microscopic examination is building on that information. Drawing on the current knowledge of the technical aspects of this copper alloy metalwork, this paper outlines findings relevant to the conservation, display and interpretation of these impressive vessels.