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November 17, 2011

Cleaning controversy surrounds Nigerian Ife artefacts

Posted at 2:01 pm in British Museum, Similar cases

Cleaning controversies regarding poor attempts to restore artefacts are not new – the Parthenon Marbles attracted similar attention based on problems caused by the treatment of the sculptures in the 1930s.

from:
The Art Newspaper

European treatment harms African works?
Questions are being raised about a protective coating applied to Ife sculptures
By Martin Bailey | From issue 223, April 2010

LONDON. African art specialists are questioning the recent conservation of Ife sculptures in Madrid in preparation for an international touring exhibition. They are concerned that Spanish conservators applied an inappropriate coating intended to protect the sculptures during the tour and after they are returned to Nigeria, and might even have removed ancient surface patina.

John Picton, a professor at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and former deputy director of the National Museum in Lagos, says that the ancient brass heads have developed “a shiny surface”. Other specialists have also expressed concerns about the treatment by conservators at the Instituto del Patrimonio Cultural de España (Spanish Cultural Heritage Institute).
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