An Exciting New Acquisition

2015-06-04 10.48.35

by Katrina Fausnaugh, Arts Management Intern

The first project I worked on as collections intern at the museum this summer was to catalogue some of the objects acquired by the museum in the early months of 2015. I am very interested in East Asian (and especially Chinese) art, so I was especially excited to be working with a collection of small, ancient bronze pieces from the areas of modern-day China and Mongolia, generously gifted to the museum at the beginning of the year by the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation in New York City. The pieces, including many knives, small belt buckles and garment plaques, had previously been on display at the Miami University Art Museum as part of a traveling exhibition in the fall of 2012. In cataloguing these objects, my tasks included assessing their condition for condition reports and learning a little about bronze conservation, photographing any condition issues with the pieces, and filling out accession reports, the records detailing basic facts and information about the object that exist for every item in the museum’s collection. One of the most exciting aspects of this project was the opportunity to actually handle the pieces as part of my duties. Though I enjoy going to museums to just look at the objects on display, few things compare to the experience of actually handling a work of art that under any other circumstances, I would only be able to look at. This is something that I found both exciting and a little scary, because it would be so easy to accidentally drop or damage one of the objects, all of which are ancient, in some cases fragile, and in many cases irreplaceable. If you would like to see the bronzes in person, many of them are slated for display during fall semester 2016, as part of the Collections Highlights: Recent Acquisitions exhibition.

Short sword with openwork hilt, 600-500 BCE. Miami University Art Museum, 2015.2.19
Buckle plaque with three ibex, 200-100 BCE. Miami University Art Museum, 2015.2.30