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problem with lacquer+gesso cover

I need expert advice on the matter of how to conserve the lacquered
cover of a rare book. Two tiny pieces of the lacquered surface on the
upper right corner have come off and now the white gesso (sottile) from
underneath is showing. I am afraid to touch the book lest other pieces
fall. Is this (cracking?) due to dry environment or is it caused by the
cover itself? What must I do to try stabilizing the two layers to the
base which seems to be made of papier maché.

Rezan Peya Gökçen,

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