Conservation is vital to the preservation and understanding of the art and cultural treasures at MEAA. Sometimes close examinations can also lead to important discoveries which help better understand the objects and the cultures in which they were made.

For example in 2014 during the conservation of one of MEAA’s metal objects – bronze bell with clapper (BATEA 967, c.2100BC, China) – the conservator found traces of fabric inside the ling bell. It was an interesting discovery given that ling bells were often hung on military flags and banners as tools to alert soldiers.

BATEA967
There are many different types of bells in China. Although all are simply translated as bells in English, each type of bell has a specific name in Chinese. Small bells with a clapper, such as this one, are called “ling”.

There are mainly two types of conservation:

Preventive conservation

This includes any measure that prevents damage or reduces the potential of deterioration of objects:

  • environmental control (relative humidity, temperature, light & UV levels etc.)
  • display design
  • pest management
  • storage, packing and shipping method, correct handling etc.

Remedial conservation

This involves a treatment to an object or specimen to bring it to a more acceptable condition or state in order to stabilise it or enhance some aspects of its cultural or scientific value – Collection Trust

Other conservation measures include digitization, policy making etc.