Join Date: May 2006
Depends on how we look at things Ariel.
If I wear my Born & Bred in Oz Hat, and I take note of all the books & papers & conversations with Dedicated Collectors of Just About Everything, as well as the conversations with Museum Based Restorators whom I have trained, well then, the only way to restore or repair anything is by using the same methods & materials that were in use at the time and place where the object to be restored was made.
That's one way of looking at the question, and it is my way for looking at some of the things that I have needed to repair or restore during my lifetime.
In fact, in respect of two part epoxy resins like Araldite, I have long held the opinion that it should not be permitted to be sold to anybody who has not completed a certificate course in its use.
A very dear friend of mine, who was widely regarded as the doyen of Australian edged weapon collectors went a little further. His opinion was that anybody who used Araldite on any antique object should be taken outside, stood against a convenient wall, and shot. He was a hard man.
But then, I've had very close involvement with Javanese culture particularly, and Indonesian culture more generally, over a very long period, and when I wear my Javanese Hat, I do understand the reason why people living in those cultures want to use the very best methods available for preservation of not only items of tosan aji (keris, spears, swords & etc.), but for everything.
One of the reasons is the climate, but especially with items of tosan aji, the main reason is that modern materials simply do the job better.
These people do not regard these items of tosan aji as things to be frozen in time and stored behind glass in climate controlled rooms. To these people these items are not museum pieces, these items of tosan aji are living objects that in many cases are inextricably tied to their culture, their society, and their ancestors.
The attitude is different. The owners of the culture regard these cultural objects as having a life, people outside the culture regard these objects as dead and needing to be frozen in time.
So for the owners of the culture, a keris, or whatever, is something that is alive and that has a useful and continuing function in their society. For collectors of these cultural objects the item is dead and needs to be preserved.
That word "preserved" triggers a thought. At agricultural shows they have a section for preserved fruits. The ladies who prepare these bottles of preserved fruit create works of art, which are greatly appreciated by the viewers, and the bottles that are purchased after the show is over are taken home by the buyer and put on a shelf in the kitchen for display. It would be sacrilege to eat such a beautiful work of art.
However, in the homes of the ladies who exhibited their skills at the agricultural show, they have preserved fruit with custard most nights for dessert.
Its all a matter of perspective, and neither attitude is right nor wrong.