Rhyton with a lion's head

Title Rhyton with a lion's head
Material Ceramics
Conservator(s) Dmitry Kalinichev
Elena Minina
Workshop Objects Conservation

The ceramic rhyton with the lion's head consists of several fragments. When it came to the workshop, some of the fragments had already been selected and glued together by D. Kalinichev, Senior Researcher at the Department of Art and Archaeology of the Ancient World at our museum; other fragments were stored separately. There were hard glass-like deposits on the face of the lion, and there were dust and mud layers all over the surface of the fragments.
First, the surface of the fragments was carefully cleaned with a dry brush, after which traces of the original pinkish paint showed on top of the coatings. Then the glass-like deposits in the lower part of the rhyton were ground down layer by layer to the level of the original surface. After the fragments had been cleaned, they were assembled and glued together and the small gaps between them were filled in. Only one fragment was missing, it was "hanging" inside a significant ceramic loss in the upper part of the vessel.
In order to integrate the piece into the body of the rhyton, a model of the lost fragment was made of chemically inert material to complete the original shape. On the surface of the model the cannelure was traced from the bottom upwards. These lines identified the location of the "hanging" piece, after which an indentation was made in the model, where it was then placed. We made a model of the missing part and then placed it in the vessel. Finally, it was possible to put the small fragment back in its original place and at the same time fully recreate the shape of the rhyton. All the fillings were made at the level of the original surface, without any attempt to imitate the original relief of the canelure.