Magdalena Szymańska

Issues regarding the conservation of five Javanese shadow puppets wayang kulit from the collections of the National Ethnographic Museum in Warsaw

The five Javanese shadow puppets wayang kulit purwa represent a set of objects with a specific ethnographic character. Their uniqueness is defined by many factors, among which the most important for me was their cultural value, with particular emphasis on the role they played in the culture and beliefs of Indonesia. The artefacts came in for conservation in a very bad condition, after numerous previous (often incorrect) conservation interventions. Apart from conducting actual conservation-restoration, my goal was to find the answer to the question whether these objects were originally made in accordance with the Javanese canon, which in the past was strictly observed.

The project was a combination of historical research in the field of iconography, the construction of shadow puppets, materials science, technique and technology of their execution, scientific analysis and, finally, conservation and restoration treatments.

(born 1966)
Studies: Faculty of Painting (1988-1993) and Faculty of Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art (2011-2018) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Internships at the Polish Library in Paris (2013, 2014, 2015), Nordisk Forskningsinstitut, Københavns Universitet (2015) and as part of the Erasmus+ program at the Donau-Universität Krems, Universität für Weiterbildung (Austria, 2016). She participated in a poster session as part of the ICOMOS conference in Florence Conservation ethics today: Are our conservation-restoration theories and practice ready for the 21st century? (2018).