International Dunhuang Project

Conservation: Resources

page mounted: 2/1/08 page last updated: 25/3/08

Conservation papers

When Objects are Beyond Conservation: Recovering Visual Information from Damaged Artefacts


Fibre Analysis of Dunhuang Documents in the British Library

A Technical Study of Portable Tenth-Century Paintings from Dunhuang in US Collections


Conservation of the Ten Kings scroll

This first video shows conservation work being carried out on an illustrated copy of the Chinese Buddhist text The Sutra of the Ten Kings (Or.8210/S.3961). Before conservation the scroll is shown in a fragile state with tears, missing areas and a general misalignment of the panels. After conservation the scroll was shown during the exhibition The Silk Road: Trade, Travel, War and Faith.

The Diamond Sutra

This copy of the Buddhist text The Diamond Sutra (Or.8210/P.2) found at Dunhuang is the earliest dated complete printed book in existence. This video shows some phases of the conservation work carried out to conserve this object to the highest standards.

Tibetan Ramayana

This video shows a traditional Asian conservation technique being applied for the conservation of a very fragile and damaged object, a copy of the Tibetan version of the Ramayana (IOL Tib J 737.1). Placing a scroll on a wooden board is the traditional Asian way of drying and flattening scrolls. Sometimes an alternative type of board, called Karibari, constructed with layers of Japanese paper is employed.

Khotanese Scroll

This video shows some of the steps in the conservation of a Khotanese scroll showing the animal zodiac (Or.11252/1) which had been lined. Part of the treatment is carried out in a fume chamber to avoid exposure to chemical fumes during conservation. Sometimes the aid of solvents is necessary to facilitate the removal of old adhesives.


For ordering details of all the below go to the IDP Publications page.

British Library Series on Conservation and Science

In 1996 IDP launched a new series to provide a shared forum for conservators and scientists interested in each others' work and its possible applications. The series was launched with the papers from the first IDP Conservation Conference.

Other Publications

Papers from the Second IDP Conservation Conference were published by the Bibliothèque national de France as Conservation des manuscrits de Dunhuang et d'Asie centrale, edited by Monique Cohen (Paris: BnF 1998).

Paper from the Sixth IDP Conference were published by the National Library of China as Tradition and Innovation.


Conservation/Preservation Journals and Electronic Serials

The Paper Conservator and The Conservator: both published annually, available to members of the Institute of Conservation.

The National Gallery Technical Bulletin: published annually, this is a unique record of research carried out at the National Gallery, covering all aspects of the conservation, technical study and care of the paintings in the collection. Drawing on the combined expertise of curators, conservators and scientists, it brings together a wealth of information about artists' materials, working practices and techniques. Individual articles from the full range of bulletins are available to purchase and download from IngentaConnect Publishing.

International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works — Studies in Conservation: this aims to be the premier international peer-reviewed journal for the conservation of historic and artistic works. The intended readership includes practising conservators of all types of object, teachers of conservation, collection or conservation managers, and conservation or museum scientists.

Book and Paper Group Annual: this is published once a year by the Book and Paper Group (BPG), a specialty group of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC).

Bollettino ICR — Nuova Serie: this is intended to meet the needs of people who work in the field of preserving and restoring cultural heritage items, by providing updated information and putting forward ideas about methodologies and techniques.

e-Preservation Science: this journal aims at the dissemination of information to researchers, conservators, preservation officers, and other interested audiences.

Journal of the American Institute for Conservation (JAIC): the online archive edition of JAIC, containing peer-reviewed technical studies, research papers, treatment case studies and ethics and standards discussions relating to the broad field of conservation and preservation of historic and cultural works.

Journal of Conservation and Museum Studies: an academic online publication, disseminating information to the global conservation and museum community. The papers and articles represent the work of conservation and museum studies students from around the world, and have been refereed by academic staff representing conservation and museum studies training programmes.

V&A Conservation Journal: a publication for everyone who is interested in the conservation of cultural heritage: conservation professionals, students, and staff of museums, educational institutions, libraries, ministries of culture and other heritage organisations.

The Abby Newsletter: preservation of library and archive material.

Alkaline Paper Advocate: archive of paper-related articles.

ICCROM Newsletter: downloadable newsletters of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property.

Preservation Online: the online magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

WAAC Newsletter: information, news, and other material pertaining to the conservation of cultural property, especially matters of interest to conservators in the western United States.

The Getty Conservation Institute Newsletter: online copies of current and back issues.

Research Library Group — RLG DigiNews: archive of reports on evolving practices and technology for digitizing materials and digital preservation of research collections, as well as in-depth coverage of notable projects in the field.


BCIN, the Bibliographic Database of the Conservation Information Network (English and French), is the most complete online bibliographic resource for the conservation, preservation and restoration of cultural property. Many international conservation websites also provide their bibliographic references, often very exhaustive. The websites indicated in the IDP conservation links page all contain very informative bibliographies and other resources.