Compensation for small losses to lacquer and inlaid decoration using paper fills painted and glazed in situ

User menu

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Raina Chao;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 61, Number sup3, p.149-154 (2016)


This paper describes and illustrates an innovative technique for compensation of small losses to East Asian lacquer and inlaid mother-of-pearl decoration using paper fills painted and glazed in situ. The procedure involves tracing the loss on Mylar® polyester sheet, cutting Japanese tissue paper to the size and shape of the loss, and adhering the paper fill to the surface. The paper fill is then painted in situ to integrate it with the surrounding surface decoration and glazed with a transparent medium, which is cured under silicone-coated Mylar® to match the planarity and gloss of the surrounding surface. This basic procedure can be adapted to suit the needs and solvent sensitivities of individual objects. The technique offers the ability to preserve or adjust old fills and to match an irregular surface or surface decoration. It is easily reversible and gives the final surface a semi-translucent appearance. Moderate surface stability and solvent resistance in the surrounding lacquer are necessary for the technique. The case studies presented in this paper demonstrate that the technique yields good results and is a useful addition to the arsenal of options for lacquer compensation.