The conservation of an African sword with scabbard made of skins of Nile reptiles

Author: Marcell Miklós
Mentor: Márta Kissné Bendefy, Senior Conservator, Head of Specialization of Leather Conservation

Department of Conservation, Faculty of Applied Arts Object Conservation, Hungarian University of Fine Arts (Hungary)
Study programme: Integrated study programme, Applied Arts Object Conservation
Specialization: Wooden Objects and Furniture (4th year of study)

MIKLOS MarcellAbstract

The topic of this presentation is the difficulties of the conservation (2015/16) of an exotic African sword with scabbard made of Nile crocodile and monitor skins being kept in the Museum of Ethnography. Through the cultural and historical classification and the identification of the reptile skins, this sword with its scabbard was turned out to be a very unique and special artefact originated back to the colonial period of Sudan. In the presentation the main tasks of the conservation will be discussed, such as the taking out the corroded and highly decorated sword from the sheath, the humidification and consolidation of the dried and fragile leather parts (including more than 100 strips), fixing other broken or damaged parts (horn, reptile fingers or the tail part of the sheath) and lastly, taking care of the safe storage of the object.

Short biography

MARCELL MIKLÓS started his conservation studies with a preliminary programme of Conservation Assistant in the Hungarian National Museum in 2012, then he continued with the academic programme, applied arts object conservation at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 2013. Though his specialization is Wooden Objects and Furniture Conservation, during the first three years he had the opportunity to acquire the technique to conserve /restore different kinds of materials, too, including leather.