Hiromi KINOSHITA 木下弘美
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Preserving the Philadelphia Museum of Art's Architectural Interiors

One of the strengths of the PMA's Chinese collection is its unique Chinese architectural interiors which include a 15th century Buddhist Temple Ceiling, a 17th century Reception Hall and an 18th century Scholar's Study. Acquired in Beijing in the 1920s, the interiors followed the vision of the director Fiske Kimball who saw them not only as works of art but as settings in which to provide historical context for the display of Chinese objects. Today, the Reception Hall and the Temple Ceiling remain important examples of the official style architecture of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). After fifty years of display, the need to conserve and preserve the vibrantly painted roof beams and timbers of the Reception Hall initiated a study of the materials and techniques of Chinese architectural painting. This paper will present the research and conservation treatment carried out on the Ming Reception Hall and also on a Buddhist wall painting said to have come from a temple In Henan province. Similarities include the range of colors in the palette, raised gold ornamentation and binders. It is often assumed that architectural interiors were frequently repainted, however, analysis of the paint samples showed that the Reception Hall was repainted only once or twice during its three-hundred year history.