Repairing a damage Chinese silk painting is a challenging task. It requires the skill and mind frame of a professional painting conservator and the knowledge of Chinese textiles. Diversified by the quality, conditon and age of silk used by artists of different periods, the restoration of a damage silk painting, no matter how big the scope of work for restoration forms, is a very carefully researched process, caclculated measures and risk-taking spirit to undertake this challenge. In short, the restoration of repair of Chinese classical silk painting is a complicated process. It would not do justice to the nature of the task if we summarize the process in a few paragraphies.
The following discussion aims to give you the basic principles followed by a professional Chinese painting specialist in restoring a damaged silk painting.
- Diagnose the Prolbem is the Key. No matter how serious the damage is or how small the scope of work for restoring a Chinese silk painting, a proper identification of the problem by a trained professional silk restorer is crucial. First, the restorer needs to recognize the age of the silk, its quality, flexibility and durability as well as the current condition. Second, the restorer needs to form a restoration plan and assess the possiblity of recommended material, method and expected result. Third, preparing a prosposal for client's approval.
- Propose the Restoration Plan to Client: A responsible Chinese silk painting restorer would take necessary steps to help his or her client understand the diagnosed problem, proposed solution and estimated restoration result. This proposal takes into consideration the nature of the damaged painting in terms of value, quality, age and condition, as well as the client's fiancial means. A proper restoration is recommended for all damaged paintings, however, an appropriate approach to the restoration assignment in terms of material, methods and cost, distinguishes a thoughtful restorer from an regular restorer. In my professional opinion, a restorer is obligated to educate his or her client regarding the different approaches to the restoration, including adtantages and disadvantages of each recommendation. We always adopt a cost-effective approach to all our restoration assignment. However, we never allow cost to low the quality of our restoration services.
- Research & Preparation: Before we work on your damaged painting, we would conduct any necessary experiment to make sure that our choice of material, method and techniques is adquate. We would research all relevant scholarship and new techniques on dealing with similar issue to qualify our methods for restoring your Chinese silk painting. We will do anything possible to get ourselves ready for the restoration assignment. We will start to work on your painting when we are truly ready. We aim to minimize out failure by working extremely careful with the research and preparation.
- Executing Restoration: Possible restoration methods. Step 1: Assemble materials: Measure, prepare, dye the new silk to make it look old. If old material is available, we will make any efforts to secure the use of reasonable materials of a close age. Step 2: Preparing the damage for restoration: Clean stains, and patch holes, remove dirt; size the silk piece for patching; match the threads of new silk with the size of old silk, horizontally and vertically. A perfect physical match is the goal. Any mismatched section on a silk painting would first being visually unattractive. Secondly, it would make it difficult for the final retouches of ink nad color for a perfect visual appeal. Quite often, we many have to dye the new silk material to match the color adn the look of the old. Step 3: Remounting the painting. After having repaired the damage on the silk painting, a complete remounting of the damaged painting is in order. For ancient silk painting, we often recommend high quality mounting materials and an appropriate mounting style for consideration. Step 4: Retouching of original ink and color. This method requires the knowledge of an art historian, the skill of a mounting specialist and the training of a capable artist. It is an advanced mothod only adopted by experienced painting restorer.
A skilled painting restorer is also a painting mounting specialist and an artist. With respect for Chinese artistic traditions, visual aesthetics for mounting and visual representation, either in the form of a scroll or for framing, the restoration specialist would discuss with you your specific need and your options. Making recommendations for materials and mounting style is part of the consultation procedure.
Keep in mind that your choice of mounting material and style determines the scope of work for a restorer. In other words, the more complicated the restoration plan is, the higher quality the chosen material is, the higher the restoration cost is. It would be wise to understand the value of your painting pror to making a restoration decision.
Engaging the services of a professional restoration stpecialist who possesses the ability of restoring, repairing, remounting, and retouchis is the key for a sucessful restoration. If you are seriously considering a proper restoration of your damaged Chinese painting, keep in mind that you don't pressure the restoration specialist for a discount for his or her professional services. You don't want the restorer to cut down the cost by using less adequate materials or applying less appropriate methodologies but to offer a quickly fix of your precious painting. The fate of your damaged Chinese painting is in your hand.
Having your damaged painting appraised by a qualified art appraiser specializing in Asian art prior to commissioning a restoration is highly recommended. A Chinese painting specialist would advise you not only on the value of your painting but also on the style and material that are suitable to your Chinese painting. You want to make sure that your painting merits your investment in a proper restoration, since the restoration cost should be justified by the value of your painting in question.
Need a Chinese painting restorer? Have questions about the restoration procedure, please Contact Hannah or call Hannan at (609) 751-2490.