Ceremonial masks repaired and revived

A private client bought us a group of ceremonial masks from central Mexico. These vibrantly carved and polychromed gems date from the mid-20th Century and had suffered from use and the vagaries of time.

Working primarily in soft wood that was gessoed and painted, the makers of these masks had incorporated animal horns and teeth, creating a hospitable environment for insect and fungi infestations. Some elements had broken off, and reactions between wood and metal fasteners caused some structural compromise.

To restore the masks, horns and teeth were removed and replaced after unwanted critters were eliminated. Broken elements were replaced without metal fasteners; joints were filled and in-painted. All surfaces were treated to rehydrate the wood and protect the paint.

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