Installing the Recovered Artifact
for Special Exhibition

before its return to Peru

Wednesday, July 15, 1998, 2:00 pm
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Following the formal presentation ceremonies, the gold "backflap" is installed by the Museum's Exhibitions team under the watchful eye of security officers.

Howard Clemenko [l], Mount Maker, and Jack Murray [r], Exhibit Designer, await the arrival of the gold "backflap" in the gallery where it will be installed for tonight's opening. Conservator Virginia Greene [below] has examined the artifact ahead of time.

Sylvia Duggan, Associate Registrar for Loans, arrives with the object in its protective box. The third gloved hand in the photo belongs to Jenny Wilson, Associate Registrar for Traveling Exhibits.

The white cotton gloves are worn to protect the artifact from damage resulting from bare hands.

Howard begins mounting the top portion of the artifact, a rattle depicting the "Decapitator" who holds a sacrificial knife in one hand and a severed head in the other.

The rattle is the upper part of the "backflap," which was worn as part of ceremonial costuming by Moche warrior-priests.

Another view of Howard. It's very exacting work, requiring steady hands. Since the gallery is filled with other workers and onlookers, including security personnel, it's important to stay focused.

When finished, the mounted "backflap" will be viewed from both front and back, and so the mount has to look good from all angles. Mounts must also be constructed in such a way as to secure an object without damaging it.

Howard makes final adjustments to the mount while Jack steadies the other end.

The larger bell-shaped part of the "backflap" -- a thin sheet of gold curved at one end -- can now be seen.

With the "backflap" securely and safely mounted, Howard lifts it to a vertical position and gives it one last inspection while Jack positions the base.

The mounted "backflap," safely installed in its case and ready for viewing during the evening's opening reception.

The exhibit will open to the public tomorrow and continue until August 8.

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