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Fragment of a mummy’s bandage

Estado final tras la restauración Pulse para ampliar
Egyptian and Near East Antiquities Department

Ptolemaic Kingdom (300–30 BC)

Egypt

Inventory no.: 2001/101/1

Media and technique: Linen. Plain weave, ink

Condition

This fragment of an Egyptian mummy’s bandage was brought to the Conservation Laboratory for two reasons: to stabilise it physically and chemically, and to facilitate a proper reading of the hieroglyphic inscription on one side. The restoration process aimed to eliminate alterations that affected its physical integrity and made it impossible to accurately read the hieroglyphs.

Provisional conservation measures were taken in 2014 so that the piece could be included in the museum’s permanent exhibition, which consisted in encasing the piece between a foamcore base and a sheet of Melinex film to protect and present the fragment in a display case. However, it still needed restoration work.

Treatment

First, we removed the piece from its protective casing. The fragment had a lengthwise crease that concealed one quarter of the fabric, and the opposite end was frayed: a large part of the plain weave had come undone, leaving loose, disorderly warp and weft threads that rendered part of the ink inscription illegible. Moreover, the presence of accidental creases in the fabric concealed part of the hieroglyphs and threatened the integrity of the linen weave, given the dryness and stiffness of the fibres. Thanks to the treatments applied—rehydrating the fibres with micro-nebulised water vapour, aligning the fibres with insect pins, glass and weights, and consolidating the fabric with stitches—the bandage recovered its material stability and the deformations that made it hard to read the hieroglyphic script were corrected.

The restored piece was mounted on a flat surface that allows it to be handled, stored and exhibited without risk of damage.

Initial condition. The reflective Melinex film created glare Pulse para ampliar Initial condition. The reflective Melinex film created glare
Removal of the casing Pulse para ampliar Removal of the casing
Close-up of alterations on the frayed end Pulse para ampliar Close-up of alterations on the frayed end
Rehydrating the fibres Pulse para ampliar Rehydrating the fibres
Aligning the fabric threads Pulse para ampliar Aligning the fabric threads
Consolidation process Pulse para ampliar Consolidation process
Final condition after restoration Pulse para ampliar Final condition after restoration
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