Stabilization of the Judaica Papercut

Conservation and Collections Management

Treatment is an active process. As work progresses, insight is gained that may lead to revision of the approach and end goals. While some decisions about the extent of treatment for this papercut have yet to be made, a major focus of the current work is to stabilize very fragile, brittle pieces by mending tears and breaks where they can be aligned and reattaching any fragments.

Tears are gently manipulated into alignment and held in place from the back by attaching a small piece of Japanese paper. The repair paper is cut into very small pieces at the same width as the torn fragment so that it is invisible from the front. Mended areas are indicated in red below.

Before and after treatment details of tears in Judaica papercut
Details of the same area before treatment (left) and after treatment (right).

Current treatment also includes unfolding small creases and folds. Unfolded areas are weak along the fold and so are reinforced on the verso with the same mending tissue used to repair breaks. This is a very satisfying part of treatment because more of the intricate design is revealed as each small piece is unfolded.

Before and after treatment details of folds in Judaica papercut
Details of the same folded areas before (left) and after (right) reinforcement.