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This research focuses on the interactions of cleaning solvents with lacquer surfaces in order to formulate best practices for cleaning Asian lacquers. The emphasis is on chemical changes and physical properties of the lacquer through solvent cleaning. The degree of leaching and swelling of the polymeric network will be evaluated to elucidate possible solvent-lacquer interactions.

Chemical analyses will be carried out at KIK-IRPA, UGhent and the RCE, applying mainly complementary chromatographic and mass spectrometric techniques. Special attention will be paid to the lacquer collection of the Beldgian Royal Museums of Art and History (RMAH). Based on an evaluation of the current condition of the lacquerware and the outcomes of the chemical research, best practices for safe cleaning will be proposed, hence for long-term preservation. Finally, some of the objects will be cleaned by using solvents that are proven to be safe and effective.

This study is a BRAIN project (Belgian Research Action through Interdisciplinary Networks), which is fully funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) consisting of KIK-IRPA, RMAH and University of Ghent as first line partners.