Author Topic: Is this Bronze Disease and is it Salvageable ?  (Read 163 times)

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Offline GeorgeI

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Is this Bronze Disease and is it Salvageable ?
« on: June 25, 2020, 10:58:21 AM »
Hi all..

Thank you for letting me join up !

My usual interests are various Chinese and Southeast Asian art mediums. I like to spend a little time daily browsing different brand new, "buy it now" eBay listings. Every now and then something interesting will pop up. Sometimes they are familiar to me, and sometimes an interesting and unique item just sort of catches my eye.  That is how I ended up with this piece.

After spending the past couple of weeks researching it, found myself going down a Achaemenid Persian Empire road. But honestly the only thing I am reasonably sure of is that it is Near Eastern, and Islamic, and no idea how old. 

It shows heavy oxidation ( bronze disease ? ), 6" x 1", with eight petal motif in the center surrounded by wheat ears and palmettes.

I was able to find a local jewelry and coin shop with an Olympus XRF tester and had hopes that knowing the metals content might be a clue towards dating Near Eastern Copper.  So far, no luck and not sure what to do next to try and learn how old the copper is. 

The results are: 98% copper, 1% lead, and less than 1% iron.  The person using the tester said he could not differentiate between the surface material and the underlying copper. If this was Chinese, these would be really good numbers suggesting Han dynasty. But I have no idea what they mean for dating Near Eastern copper.

After searching until cross eyed, sharing on a few groups, and online forums, I am still not able to understand what this solid material is over the underlying carved motif. It is very hard, and firmly attached to the base copper.

Stumbled onto a metal detecting website and started to see some similarities between the surface appearance of my dish and some copper coins with thick encrustation. The website also talks about cleaning the encrustation using chemicals.

A little more Googling, and found myself in the "Cleaning, conservation and storage" category of your forum :)

So my question is if what you see on my dish is bronze disease. And if the pitted surface is the result of someone having cleaned and removed  the original oxidation or encrustation revealing what looks like a diseased and pitted surface.

Any help greatly appreciated !