OLD IS GOLD – The Art of Preserving Antiques

Some of us wish we lived in a different time. When artists discovered beauty in simplicity, capturing the ebb & flow of life on canvas. When sculptors moulded ideologies into legendary figurines. When thinkers chiselled their perspectives onto murals or carved complex designs on wood/stone.

Be it the classical age in Greece or the Italian Renaissance. Or the Edo period in Japan when ‘Shibui’, was born. The aesthetics principles that helped shape Phoenix Kessaku today.

We want to relive the times & tales of our grandparents’ golden years. We want to travel through time, and we can’t. But there is a way we can dig into the past. Have a little ephemeral experience, or rather a vicarious fantasy.

Say hello to antiques.

Contrary to popular opinion, not all of them belong in a museum. There are passionate collectors & connoisseurs in pursuit of historic artefacts & items, regardless of what it might cost them. Some inherit priceless antiques, a bequest of legacy or a family’s glorious past. These decorate homes & living rooms across the world, as symbols of prestige & opulence.

But all antiques have a shelf life. If not cared for in a proper manner, they can lose their essence. Or worse, they just become damaged goods. If you’ve invested a great deal in antiques, it’s vital that you invest more in their maintenance. Not just money, but also time.

Here a few informative tips, or rather facts on antique preservation.

  1. Keeping Paintings Alive

Three words. Acid-Free Storage. Paper is a mixture of wood pulp, water, and bleach. Lignin, a chemical compound present in wood, mixes with bleach & turns into hydrochloric acid over time. This can cause the paintings to disintegrate.

To prevent aging, use acid-free archival paper, glue or frames. Additionally, keep old paintings away from moisture and direct sunlight, as they are highly vulnerable.

  1. Tending to the Tapestry

Antique carpets or tapestry are tricky & time consuming to maintain. To begin with, don’t let dust accumulate on them. Treat spills immediately with a white paper towel and leave the rest to a professional. Another good method is applying salt to remove the moisture. Don’t use brushes with hard bristles to remove stains, it could do more damage than you think. If displaying tapestry on a wall, never glue or nail them to the frame. Use a linen backing and protect it with plexiglass.

  1. Upkeeping Artefacts

Be it sculptures or yesteryear inventory, they must be cleaned regularly. If metal, use only chemical free polishing and store them in a clean, dry place. Never use abrasive scrub pads or brushes on them, simply buff them with a soft cloth. If made of stone, (Limestone, Sandstone or Coade stone) gently wipe using dichlorophen infused water.

Alabaster/marble can easily erode, so use only cotton wool, dipped in diluted white spirit & non-ionic detergent. It is sufficient if you regularly dust artefacts made of plaster. Moisture is an absolute no-no.

  1. Maintaining Wooden Furniture

If you haven’t any coasters/table mats, now’s a good time to buy. Always use them while placing condiments on antique wooden furniture. Besides dusting regularly with a lint-free cloth, polish them once a year with beeswax-based varnish. Keep them away from direct sunlight, moisture, and vents/inflammable areas. If the furniture is truly ancient, it can also be affected by the level of moisture in the air. Use a humidifier in the room where it’s kept, and ensure that the air isn’t dry.

  1. Preserving Books

Like other antiquities, keep old books away from direct sunlight, heat sources & moisture. According to  National Library of Scotland, the best temperature for storage is 60 to 66 degrees F. Dust them regularly, and wrap them in plastic or acid-free materials to prevent aging. Don’t cram them together; arrange smaller books in an upright position & bigger/longer books horizontally.

​ If you’re an aficionado of the arts or a savant of historic beauty, it’s only fitting that you also live in a masterpiece. At Phoenix Kessaku, the past meets the present in aesthetic perfection, with a fine selection of art & antiquities. Come see a home that’s a masterpiece in every sense, a canvas awaiting your masterstroke.

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