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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
035. (Objects) Between the ephemeral and the immortal: considerations about the process of conservation of Ticuna’s barkcloth.

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Masks representing immortal mythical creatures of the forest are part of female initiation ritual known as the "Festa da Moça Nova” of Ticuna Indians who are currently settlemented between Brazil, Peru and Colombia. This ritual, documented since the nineteenth century, persists in some communities today with few variations. The masks are produced exclusively by men and its use is unique in the rite of passage of girls to adulthood. The masks and the girls share a metamorphic process where at the end of the ritual, both start a new life cycle. However, the ephemerality of these objects is daily witnessed. The preservation of these materials is a race against time, where conservators seek to prolong the life of objects that are produced for a ritual and are often discarded after its use. From the standpoint of its patrimony, we can acknowledge the Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (MAE) from University of São Paulo (USP) as the holder of one of the largest, most meaningful and best preserved collections of the Brazilian indigenous cultural heritage. From 1942 to 1965, the ethnographer-photographer Harald Schultz distinguished as one of the greatest collectors of the indigenous ethnological heritage. The collection of Ticunas's masks and costumes consists of six hundred ninety-one barkclothes objects collected between 1955-1960. During his expeditions, Harald Schultz also recorded their field experiences in photos and films and his production is still of great importance to understand the continuity of processes and cultural resistance. Plant materials which are modified to provide raw materials for the manufacture of objects and the ways in which these objects were used can be elucidated with the information recorded during these expeditions. These photos and videos help us understand the biography of these objects that are lying inside of our storage areas. This poster explores the research project that is currently ongoing at MAE/USP. We identifed three types of barkcloth used for making objects in this collection. These materials have different degradation processes. Some masks have preserved its flexibility and integrity, while others has rigidity, brittle fibers, and losses. To understand the relationship between its composition and intrinsic factors of degradation of these objects, the barkclothes was rated by their conservation status and by the results of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and pH analysis. We also present here treatments that are carried out such as cleaning, humidification, reshaping and infilling of losses. These actions are performed for several reasons - some have an actively deteriorating process, others need to be prepared for exhibitions, transport and research. This project also involves the cooperation of an interdisciplinary team to conduct collaborative work with the Ticuna. Through these collaborations, we were able to come up with more effective preservation strategies and we strengthened our relationships with the originators of collections. Join efforts to understand the perspectives of indigenous groups on the conservation of its heritage is one of the objectives of this project.

avatar for Ana Carolina Delgado Vieira

Ana Carolina Delgado Vieira

Conservator, Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia - Universidade de Sao Paulo (MAE/USP)
I am a Conservator at the Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia (MAE) from University of São Paulo (USP) since 2008. At MAE I am responsible for conduct condition surveys of collections and individual items, technical analyses, conservation treatments and prepare collection items... Read More →

avatar for Paula Aline Durães Almeida

Paula Aline Durães Almeida

Researcher, Institute of Physics - University of São Paulo (IF/USP)
Paula Aline Durães Almeida holds a B.A. in Computer Science from University Paulista and B.A. in Physic from University of São Paulo in Brazil.   She specializes in archeometry since 2010 and currently her research is about the X-ray fluorescence in photographic processes... Read More →
avatar for Edson Tosta Matarezio Filho

Edson Tosta Matarezio Filho

Researcher, Faculty of Philosophy, Languages and Literature, and Human Sciences – Anthropology Department - University of São Paulo
Edson Tosta Matarezio Filho holds a B.A. in Social Sciences and M.A. in Antropology from the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil.   He wrote his dissertation about the Waimiri-Atroari Indians, emphasizing kinship and ritual, including a comparative analysis of various... Read More →
avatar for Marcia de Almeida Rizzutto

Marcia de Almeida Rizzutto

Professor, University of Sao Paulo
Marcia A. Rizzutto: Bachelor, Master and PhD in Physics from the University of São Paulo (USP), SP, Brazil, with specialization in Nuclear Physics. Post-doctor in Nuclear Physics, Applied Physics and Archeometry (Science Applied) in Brazil and Italy. Professor of the Physics Institute... Read More →

Wednesday May 31, 2017 3:30pm - 4:00pm CDT
Riverside West Exhibit Hall Exhibit Level, East Tower