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Technical examination of a bone ornament ensemble from the Himalayan region with comments on handling, treatment, storage, and display


This thesis is a technical examination of a bone ornament ensemble from the Himalayan region, currently in the collection of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. This ensemble is used in various practices and performances associated with Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism. The materials used in the construction of this object are examined through both noninvasive and minimally-invasive methods of scientific analysis. A comparative survey on the treatment, handling, storage, and display of similar bone ornaments at museum collections is presented. This study finds that this ritual object is a composite of human bone, bast fiber yarns, pigments, and deterioration products. The thesis includes treatment of the object through minimum intervention, mechanical stabilization, and the development of guidelines for storage, handling, and display.

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