School of Historical and Philosophical Studies - Research Publications

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    Lost Visual Histories: China’s Tang dynasty (618-906) tomb mural paintings
    Eckfeld, T (International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS), 2018)
    China’s Tang dynasty (618-907) tomb mural paintings are rare finds and study of them has grown since the first archaeological discoveries and excavations in the early 1950s. Although thousands of minor Tang graves and about 400 tombs have been discovered, so far only around 60 Tang tombs have been found to contain mural paintings. While many questions are still to be answered, each new discovery contributes to knowledge in this important field.
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    A Polite Way to say ‘No’
    Sloggett, R ; Lawler-Dormer, K ( 2018-10-24)
    Presentation to NZCCM 2018 Conference Living Heritage: Materials, Methods and Context: As is the case in most countries, much of Australia’s cultural record is not housed in large national institutions but in smaller organisations, often located in remote, regional or rural areas and with limited resources, and run by fe staff, or by volunteers. Most have limited access to conservation expertise. These organisations rely on accessible and practical advice in publications such as reCollections: Caring for Collections Across Australia (1998). Created as an initiative of the Heritage Collections Council in 1998 and supported by the Australian Federal Government reCollections has become an essential resource providing preventative conservation principles for Australian cultural organisations. The current program to update and create reCollections Online offers the opportunity to engage current users and the wider community in contributing to a more tailored preventative conservation resource. A partnership between Bathurst Regional Council, NSW Australia, and the Grimwade Centre at the University of Melbourne brings together conservators and conservation students with Bathurst museum and heritage professionals and volunteers. A recent study, which interviewed heritage professionals in Bathurst and sought their involvement in the revision of reCollections, revealed a content gap in the Acquisitions and Significance section of reCollections. This revision identified the need for practical advice to inform decision making at the initial point of acquisitions through to storage and display. The study also identified the need for professionals and volunteers to understand and assess personnel implications that might arise during or after the acquisition process.
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    Considering Evidence in Art Fraud
    SLOGGETT, R ; Chappell, D ; Hufnagel, S (Routledge - Taylor & Francis, 2016)
    Securing the evidential link between the work and the artist who is purported to have produced it requires a rigorous analytical approach; one that not only accepts particular evidence that may support the assertion of authenticity, but which can also contest evidence that is not correct. Such an approach is by its very nature multidisciplinary, often bringing together knowledge of art history, the art market, cultural materials conservation, chemistry, law and policing. What constitutes evidence of authenticity is generally based on considerations of provenance, art historical context, including facts about the artist and scientific enquiry. Building the chain of evidence for art authentication is a complex and carefully constructed activity that ensures that works can be legitimately, and verifiably, linked to the artist who is purported to be their source.
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    A Conservation Overview of Gaps in Traditional Trade Skills in Australia
    Dunn, B ; Sloggett, R ; Draayers, W (Informa UK Limited, 2019-07-03)
    In 2003, the General Conference of UNESCO adopted the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage; recognising the important role traditional craftmanship has as a tangible manifestation of intangible heritage and highlighting the importance of the intergenerational transmission of knowledge and skills. Within this context, a Conservation Skills Gaps survey was conducted in 2016 that examined whether there was a current perceived skills gap relating to traditional trades; what difficulties might conservators have in accessing these trades; and, how such a skills gap might be addressed? This paper examines the results of this survey, reviews the 2000 AICCM Skills Gap Audit and the 2018 Heritage Skills Initiative Sector Analysis Survey that reported on the health of traditional trade skills in Australia, and discusses recent initiatives to revitalise rare trades. It also examines current work in developing opportunities to build intergenerational knowledge transfer, support specialist practitioners, and generate solutions to address skill gaps in traditional trades and conservation.
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    The Triple Helix of Tang Dynasty Mural Painting Study: Art History, Archaeology and Materials Conservation
    Eckfeld, T ; Zhou, T (The Commercial Press (HK), 2017)
    Deep understanding of Tang Dynasty tomb mural painting can only be achieved through multi-disciplinary study using a ‘triple helix’ approach combining archaeology, materials conservation and art history. Cooperation between these three professions and their particular disciplinary perspectives can provide comprehensive insight into the mural paintings and reflect their original state as the combined product of patrons, artists, architects and engineers. This paper discusses how a triple helix approach may answer some of the more challenging questions about the murals, including the identity of the painters, workshop practices, methods of production and painting techniques, and shed light on the lost corpus of above ground Tang Dynasty mural paintings.
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    The Qin Emperor’s Army with Feet of Clay
    Eckfeld, T (National Gallery of Victoria, 2019)
    Direct evidence revealed through new archaeological discoveries at Qin Shihuang's mausoleum site changes and improves our understanding of the history and culture of the Qin dynasty and First Emperor of China.
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    The Qin and Han Empires: Creating a Dynasty
    Eckfeld, T ; No, (Council of Trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria, 2019-08)
    Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality showcases these extraordinary Qin dynasty objects, along with priceless gold, jade and bronze artefacts dating from the Zhou dynasty through to the Han dynasty.With written contributions from ...
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    Characterization of a Mahamayuri Vidyarajni Sutra excavated in Lu’an, China
    Liu, L ; Gong, D ; Yao, Z ; Xu, L ; Zhu, Z ; Eckfeld, T (Springer, 2019-12-01)
    Historically, sutras played an important role in spreading Buddhist faith and doctrine, and today these remain important records of Buddhist thought and culture. A Mahamayuri Vidyarajni Sutra with polychrome paintings was found inside the cavity on top of the Nanmen Buddhist pagoda, built in the early Tang dynasty (618–627 CE) and located in Anhui Province, China. Textile was found on the preface which is strongly degraded and fragile. Unfortunately, the whole sutra is under severe degradation and is incomplete. Technical analysis based on scientific methods will benefits the conservation of the sutra. Optical microscopy (OM), micro-Raman spectroscopy combined with optical microscope (Raman), scanning electron microscopy in combination with energy dispersive X-ray analysis (SEM–EDS) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) were used to characterize the pigment and gilded material, as well as the paper fiber and textile. Pigments such as cinnabar, minium, paratacamite, azurite, lead white were found. Gilded material was identified as gold. A five-heddle warp satin, made of silk, was found as the textile on the preface of the sutra. The sutra’s preface and inner pages were made of paper comprised of bamboo and bark. As a magnificent yet recondite treasure of Buddhism, the sutra was analyzed for a better understanding of the material. A conservation project of the sutra will be scheduled accordingly.
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    The New Hyper-Reality of Work
    Trounson, A (The University of Melbourne, 2017)