Materials, Techniques, and Preservation of Historic Reception Rooms From Damascus
In Damascene homes of the 18th and 19th centuries, the rooms used for the reception of guests and family held pride of place due to their role in the valued art of hospitality. These interiors were thus lavishly adorned with a diverse array of materials and decorative techniques. Many are still preserved in the Old City of Damascus, and several are displayed in collections around the world. Designed for daily use, they now bear the evidence of their years of alteration, renovation, and well-intended maintenance, often concealing the beauty and complexity of the original surface decoration. This talk provides some insight into the newly rediscovered materials and techniques of these luxurious rooms, with a discussion of the challenges and successes in preserving and presenting their original splendor.
Dr. Anke Scharrahs is a freelance conservator who has been researching and conserving Syrian-Ottoman decoration since 1997.