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Title: Silk facing of ancient Chinese manuscripts
Author: Wang, Jianlan
ISNI:       0000 0001 2412 3601
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2014
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The thesis has profiled silk facing treatments to manuscripts in the Stein Collection in the British Library, via its unique historical background, compared with the lamination technique that was prevalent in conservation in the last century in libraries and archives. The correction of the previous inappropriate preservation methods might have not aroused enough attentiveness, or critical attention, in the conservation arena. IR and Raman spectroscopy were widely applied in this project, for the characterisation of the different silks removed from the manuscripts, in comparison with new silk from commercial suppliers, revealing the ageing of silk, its fragility and stiffness, which causes mechanical abrasion toward the scrolls of ancient manuscripts. Silk's absorption of moisture, and exposure to light, exacerbate this problem. The characterisation of a series of vegetable and animal derived glues emphasises the poor record-keeping of the conservation studios. The non-native and pipeline-processed starches show almost the same pattern in both IR and Raman spectroscopy. Animal glues also show different patterns from the starch-based glues in both IR and Raman spectroscopy. The problems of applying gelatine-base glue in the conservation process are also discussed. The dye-transfer phenomenon has been confirmed: the yellow dye from the manuscripts (which were dyed by water-soluble huangbo extracts) transfer to the glue paste and then to the silk materials, thus causing the discolouration of the manuscripts. Finally, solid-state NMR characterisation with magic angle spinning was used to characterise the silks and glue pastes. The SEM and EDAX study provided the evidence for the existence of fungi and/or bacteria on the glues al1ached to the manuscripts, data being provided from a strong collaboration with Dr. Cristina Silva Pereira from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. Preliminary studies have confirmed that the silk and glue carry Aspergillus niger, Neurospora crass a and Penicillium chrysogenum. This observation provides unimpeachable evidence that long-term damage will occur to the faced manuscripts if the facing is not removed. Currently, the desire for digitisation of manuscripts in the Stein collection in the British Library also enhances the case for the removal of the silk facing materials. The sill<, glue, water and dye, compose a complicated matrix which influence the lifetime and stability of the manuscripts by interaction with the external environment, thus it is believed that the removal the silk facing materials is reasonable, and should be performed if economically viable
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available