In July 2014 the GCI and the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France (C2RMF) held the third Recent Advances in Characterizing Asian Lacquer workshop at the C2RMF laboratories at the Louvre in Paris. Seventeen conservators and scientists from around Europe worked in teams throughout the week, using the specialized sampling and analytical techniques and data evaluation tools presented in the workshop to study samples of lacquered objects from their own collections and to present their findings.
The techniques presented at the workshop reflect research developed by the Characterization of Asian and European Lacquers project, carried out in collaboration between the GCI and the J. Paul Getty Museum. This research has led to important new discoveries about the range of materials used in the creation of lacquer objects and to great technical advances in characterizing and understanding these materials. The workshop makes these advances accessible and productive for conservators and scientists through a highly customized program of precision layer-by-layer sampling techniques, high- and low-tech analytical procedures, and specialized data evaluation tools that are capable of uncovering detailed information about lacquer composition.
The workshop also provides a unique opportunity for scientists and conservators to collaborate in the hands-on study of lacquer objects and to address their own research questions. Group discussions throughout the week bring a variety of perspectives to the conversation and generate valuable insights on technical, historical, and interpretation issues from workshop participants and instructors.
The Paris workshop is the third in the Recent Advances in Characterizing Asian Lacquer workshop series; previous workshops were held at the Getty Center and at Yale University. The project has reached over fifty conservators and scientists, and there are plans for future workshops in Europe and Asia.
Recent Advances in Characterizing Asian Lacquer is part of the GCI's Research into Practice Initiative, which seeks to facilitate the practical application of new research to conservation problems.