Tue, Dec 05, 2017 - Page 3 News List

‘Anthropomorphic jar’ back on display after restoration

By Ye Kuan-yu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The “anthropomorphic jar” is displayed at New Taipei City’s Shihsanhang Museum of Archeology on Sunday following a month-long conservation project by Louvre Museum artifact conservator Stephanie Nisole.

Photo courtesy of Shihsanhang Museum of Archeology

An “anthropomorphic jar” is today to go back on display in New Taipei City’s Shihsanhang Museum of Archeology after the conclusion of a month-long conservation project by Louvre Museum artifact conservator Stephanie Nisole.

The conservation process was repetitive and involved many details, archeology museum director Chen Chun-lan (陳春蘭) said.

When the jar was unearthed 60 years ago, it was in pieces and required reassembly, Chen said.

The museum during a routine examination this year discovered that the adhesives and other fill materials used in early conservation projects had shown signs of wear, and that the spaces between the adhesive and ceramic had collected dust, she said.

Nisole dismantled the jar and cleaned its surfaces with a brush before reassembling the 65 pieces, Chen said.

“Arranging the broken pieces is a huge project. [It] requires an extremely high level of concentration and precision,” Chen said.

The adhesion marks also had to be softened, Chen said, adding that it took many days for Nisole to mix adhesives that match the jar’s color.

The latest technology and materials allowed for much thinner marks, she added.

The anthropomorphic jar is the most complete artifact that has been unearthed from the Shihsanhang Archeological Site, which dates back 500 to 1,800 years and is the only prehistoric pottery jar in the world that has a human face design, Chen said.

The anthropomorphic jar “showcases the exceptional pottery techniques and creativity of the Aboriginal Shihsanhang people,” Chen said, adding that the artifact was in 2006 labeled an “important national artifact” under the Cultural Heritage Protection Act (文化資產保存法).

The conservation and restoration of cultural artifacts is an important mission of the museum, Chen said, adding that it partnered with Academia Sinica to invite Nisole.

The museum has produced a 3D replica of the jar that visitors can touch, as well as full-size replicas, miniature versions, chocolate gift boxes, coin banks, key chains and other souvenirs for purchase, she said.

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