The collection’s conservators care for 15,000 works of art and historical documents from India and the Indian subcontinent. The sculptures are made of diverse materials such as stone, stucco, clay, metal, and wood. Buddhist wall paintings from Central Asia are executed in the secco and fresco technique. In addition, the museum contains complex textile works, Indian miniatures, and ceramics. The responsibilities of the conservators include the technical analysis of artefacts, their documentation, preservation and, if necessary, restoration. This work is carried out in the laboratory, sculpture studio, and trainee workshop.
The collection’s ceramic and lacquer studio is responsible for the care of one of the most important collections in Europe of ceramic art, porcelain art, and lacquerware from China, Japan, and Korea. Among the collection’s 300 lacquer objects is a Chinese imperial throne ensemble, which is unique in Europe in terms of importance and size. The studio has only recently been assigned responsibility for the restoration and conservation of lacquer artworks. In a special project, the studio is currently conducting restoration work on large Chinese carved lacquered panels which once belonged to the last German emperor. The project will entail the cooperation of external lacquer specialists.
Another important task for the museum’s object conservators is the treatment of previous restoration work. In addition, donations and permanent loans presented to the museum are integrated into the collection on an ongoing basis and thereby require conservation treatment.
The studio is also widely engaged in examining forged objects made of fired clay. On the basis of a fake Chinese sculpture and various other ceramic objects, the different methods adopted in producing art forgeries are analysed and documented in detail. The technical analysis is conducted in the Rathgen-Forschungslabor, with whom the conservators work closely. The conservators also participate in the training of student interns.