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EBURI

 

Wax Identification & Removal

October 2017 - April 2018

From the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery collection, this wooden container has untanned cowhide caps and wrappings. Covered in a white crystalline material with an even layer of surface dirt overtop, it was ultimately recognized to be an Eburi, a Turkana fat container made of thorn wood. Sampling and ATR analysis determined the mystery coating to be beeswax, and as it was predominantly on the leather it was likely an old dressing applied in a museum context. 

Treatment Pathway

  1. Xray to determine hollowness and if pest damaged

  2. Sample of coating removed from base using wooden skewers

  3. ATR analysis of coating - determined to be beeswax

  4. Vacuumed clean exterior

  5. Removal of beeswax from wood using White Spirit and cotton swabs

  6. Mechanical removal of beeswax from leather using toothpicks, eyebrow brushes; solvent cleaning using White Spirit

  7. Vacuumed cleaned to remove any remaining wax/dirt

Total Time: 18 hours