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Thursday, May 16 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
17. Know When to Say When: Who Am I to Represent for to Compensate the Void? Treatment and Remounting for a Chinese Qin Dynasty Ancestor Portrait Painting

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As a trained conservator, the author has been trained to compensate a painting for small or large losses to eliminate the viewing distraction. However, am I a hundreds-year artist to fully understand what the artist was trying to depict the content. Chinese painting conservation training started with an aggressive inpainting method to compensate on losses of the image because the “hands-on mounting a painting” says so. It is said, to fill the losses regarding small or large and inpaint the missing image are crucial steps among other Chinese mounting steps. The author had proper training on the compensation of loss by AIC standard; however, it does not seem not good enough for the master level’s Chinese painting conservator. For the past four years, the author has been lucky to work with four well-known senior Chinese painting conservators from China in the Cleveland Museum of Art. The respectful Chinese painting conservators generously not only passed their tricks on treating Chinese paintings but also necessary input on the compensation of loss. The author also confronted a conflict about how far a conservator can go on compensation by giving a presentation in China two years ago on a conservation-related Conference. During the conference, almost Chinese painting conservators stood and expressed that lacking the ability leading one conservator does not inpaint the losses, which is not true. The author later became a hit on the local media regarding the compensation loss. The Chinese Qin dynasty Ancestor Portrait portraits painting with ink and heavy colored on paper was gifted by a local collector to the CMA in 2018. The painting was heavily and poorly inpainted on the more massive loss of portraits’ crowns and an entire bunch of flower on the prayer desk with a disturbing image which was not matched with the original on a yellowish lining patch. However, it would be a tremendous change if the inpainted areas were replaced with only a blank nature tone. Thanks for the pasting lining technique and the unique characteristics of soft and semi-transparent Chinese Xuan paper. Here comes a new approach and it is reversible by following the AIC ethical and theoretical principal and it has been accepted by the Chinese senior conservators. The thickness on the loss areas was compensated from the back of first lining with xuan paper and then flattened on the drying board given an almost flawlessness compensation. The innovated solution of “Copy and Paste” the image by the author had satisfaction for the Chines senior conservators, the curators, and the author. The poster will present this new approach on how the cruxes solved.

avatar for Yi-Hsia Hsiao

Yi-Hsia Hsiao

Conservator, Cleveland Museum of Art
Yi-Hsia is an associate conservator working on Chinese paintings, and Thangka paintings in the Asian painting conservation studio, Conservation Department, in the Cleveland Museum of Art since 2014. Before settled down in Cleveland, she was an Andrew W. Mellon fellow for Chinese paintings... Read More →

Thursday May 16, 2019 3:30pm - 4:00pm EDT
Uncas Ballroom Foyer Sky Convention Center, Mohegan Sun