Chinese weavings: history and restoration of a kesi textile from 1852
Chinese weavings: history and restoration of a kesi textile from 1852

Chinese weavings: history and restoration of a kesi textile from 1852

Thursday 20 October 2022 | 04.00 p.m.
Vatican Museums Conference Hall – in person and live streaming

The next Thursday in the Museums, of 20 October, takes us to the Far East to discover the history – and the recent and complex restoration – of one of the masterpieces held in the Vatican’s Anima Mundi Ethnological Museum: an ancient kesi furnishing textile (1852 – Qing Dynasty), offered as a gift to Pope Pius XI by the Apostolic Delegation of Peking on the occasion of the 1925 Vatican Mission Exposition.

The exceptional embroidered silk cloth, with the imposing dimensions of 475 x 300 cm, is framed by an extensive multi-coloured decoration representing classical Chinese iconography. In the centre, a long text is inscribed in ink in classical Chinese, composed in the pian-wen literary style, by the father-in-law of the official Liu Puquan to celebrate the deeds and virtues of the venerable elder.
The kesi – a precious fabric of imperial production - is considered the essence of the traditional Chinese art of silk, so much so that in 2009 it was included in the World Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

During the conference, there will be an extensive presentation of the delicate restoration intervention the precious artefact underwent for seven long years at the Ethnological Materials Restoration Laboratory of the Pope’s Museums, where, while respecting the original artefact, an elaborate restoration and consolidation of the weave was carried out.
The greeting and introduction from the Director of the Vatican Museums, Barbara Jatta, will be followed by an intervention from the Curator of the Anima Mundi Ethnological Museum, Fr. Nicola Mapelli, who will then leave the floor to Stefania Pandozy and Martina Brunori, respectively Director and Restorer of the Ethnological Materials Restoration Laboratory. It will then be the turn of Nadia Fiusello, Assistant of the Ethnological Department and, in conclusion, the Head of the Cabinet of Scientific Research applied to Cultural Heritage, Ulderico Santamaria.