The conservation of a third century BCE Chinese bronze dagger-axe with organic remains

Ellen D. B. Tully


A 3rd century BC Chinese bronze dagger-axe, with organic remains and an unusually patterned blade was treated at the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art. The dagger-axe is an unusual object both for its high state of preservation of lacquer and textile remains as well as the patterning on the blade. The organic remains were extremely degraded making handling and examination difficult without causing further damage. This paper will discuss the treatment of these remains through collaboration with a textile conservator and the issues faced in caring for a composite object. The paper will also provide a summary of research concerning the unusual patterning on the blade of the axe.

2002 | Miami | Volume 9