JAIC 1982, Volume 21, Number 2, Article 2 (pp. 35 to 42)
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Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 1982, Volume 21, Number 2, Article 2 (pp. 35 to 42)

RESTORATION OF A LARGE CHINESE BRONZE URN

Aron A. Apisdorf



1 HISTORY OF THE URN

The urn is made of bronze. It stands approximately six feet, two inches tall and weighs approximately three hundred fifty pounds. The top and bottom diameters are twenty-one and one-half inches, the circumference sixty-seven and one-half inches. It is made up of four main sections, or levels, and was designed so that it might be taken apart and reassembled. There are several small decorative sections also designed to be removable. The urn is probably of Chinese or Japanese origin dating back to the latter half of the nineteenth century. Various sources (see Acknowledgements) indicate that large bronzes such as this were traditionally used in China as gift objects which one company might present to another company or one rich person to another. It would have been used as ritual furniture/statuary, rather than being a functional piece.

The urn was acquired by the present owner's family about thirty years ago in New York City, and was taken to Venezuela, where it was displayed outdoors as a water fountain. For this use, it was reinforced inside and at the base by iron bars, and set into concrete. In 1979, the urn was removed from the concrete base for shipping to Miami, Florida.


Copyright 1982 American Institute of Historic and Artistic Works