When I wrote about the fantastic image we retrieved from our Archives a couple weeks ago showing our Mummy Gallery in 1935, I promised to provide an update on the treatment progress on Tawahibre’s coffin.
Well, why don’t I start with this:
While you may not be sure what you’re looking at here, this looks like progress, doesn’t it? I’ll tell you what you are seeing – the coffin is tied in several places with cotton twill tape, holding small pieces of white Volara foam and blueboard (acid-free, lignin-free corrugated board) in place against the coffin surface.
The purpose of this system, other than looking kind of intriguing, is to place select pressure in areas on the coffin (whenever I say this I always think of the useful book The Gentle Art of Applied Pressure-the title speaks for itself). As I have described previously, the coffin is pretty distorted in areas, due to the fact that many of the individual wood elements have separated and moved apart and that the plaster has separated from the wood substrate. We are trying to realign these pieces as much as possible using humidification with a Preservation Pencil, which allows us to direct a small stream of warm humidified air in select areas, which helps the plaster and wood relax a bit and encourages movement. Once we get an area to move sufficiently, we then apply pressure to the area to hold everything in place.
We’re also continuing to consolidate the painted surface and readhere loose pieces of plaster and wood.
While we’re making progress and becoming pretty comfortable with the coffin and the treatment, there are still some scary areas to deal with. This is an area that I’ll be tackling next:
Wish us luck as we continue this work!