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Wednesday, May 31 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
047. (Objects) Case Study of Regalrez 1126 Used as an Adhesive and Consolidant in the Conservation Treatment of an 18th Century Chinese Amber Cup at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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This poster discusses the method of using regalrez 1126 as an adhesive and a consolidant in the conservation of amber objects. In paintings and furniture conservation, regalrez 1126 was commonly used as a material for consolidating degraded surface coating without the need for removing most of the original coating material. Since regalrez 1126 is a non-polar, hydrocarbon resin with low-molecular weight, it is compatible with most natural resin that were used historically as varnishes and furniture coating materials, such as dammar, shellac and lacquer. It infills the losses, saturates and restores the gloss and durability of varnishes and coatings made of natural resins.

However, case studies of regalrez 1126 used as a primary adhesive for repairing amber objects were yet to be reported. A previous research initiated by Linda Lin demonstrated preliminary exploration on the potential of regalrez 1126 replacing paraloid B72 as both an adhesive and a consolidant in the conservation of the Asian amber collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MMA). Regalrez 1126 is dissolvable in petroleum benzine and mineral spirits, which are the two organic solvents with low –polarity and will not interfere with soluble components within the amber. In addition, the refractive index of regalrez 1126 is comparable to that of amber which is an important property, considering the translucent quality of amber objects. In the long term, regalrez 1126 does not cross-link and remains stable in a controlled museum environment.
In this case study regalrez 1126 was used as the recommended adhesive on an eighteenth century Chinese amber cup, which belongs to the Asian Art Collection at the MMA.The amber cup was broken into several pieces, and significant repairs were required for the conservation treatment. Amber is a natural resin with durability, but can become brittle and fragile after years of degradation. The edges at the breakages were thin and brittle, and needed consolidation prior to adhesion in order to avoid further damage caused by handling. Regalrez 1126 was used for initial consolidation on the breakages, and the primary adhesive for rebonding the pieces back together. Its transparency and viscosity are ideal for amber objects since it does not tend to penetrate through the craquelures or efface the characteristic crazing pattern of the amber. The treatment can be easily reversed by applying petroleum benzine to the joints, thus the process of removing residue or excess with solvents should be minimized and only be done if it is necessary.

avatar for Tong Tong

Tong Tong

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Objects Conservation Fellow, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Department of Objects Conservation
Tong Tong specializes in the conservation of Asian art materials and has a special interest in ceramics and wall paintings. She received a Bachelor's Science in Chemistry from University of Missouri-Columbia and a Master of Cultural Material Conservation from The University of Melbourne... Read More →

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