June 30, 2021
8:00 am – 10:00 am (Washington D.C.)
2:00 pm – 4:00 pm (Paris)
8:00 pm – 10:00 pm (Beijing)

Lei, Yong PhD.

Deputy Director, Conservation Department, Palace Museum
Head, Key Laboratory of Ministry and Tourism on Calligraphy and Painting Conservation
4#JingshanQianjie, Dong Cheng District, Beijing, P.R.China, Post code:100009

Tradition Meets Science: The Palace Museum is Stepping up Conservation Efforts on Chinese Calligraphy and Painting

Conservation has a long history at the Beijing Palace Museum. At the early stages of the Palace Museum’s history, a mounting and restoration workshop for Chinese calligraphy and painting was established. Many national treasures have been restored by skilled master craftsmen in the workshop. With the recent national restoration project on the grounds and the gardens of the Palace Museum, and with the global collaboration between experts at home and overseas, the museum has stepped up its contributions to developments in theory, science and technology, and conservation treatment. Conservation specialists have made great progress in their methodology for restoring architectural calligraphy and painting in areas such as tongjing hua (通景画), or “trompe l’oeil”; tie luo (贴落), or “affixed hanging”; and ge shanxin (隔扇芯), or “partition.” These techniques have contributed effectively to other similar restorations.

The workshop for calligraphy and painting conservation has moved into a new, well-equipped building over the last decade. This new facility can hold advanced-level training courses and host a number of important research platforms and projects. The IIC International Training Centre for Conservation (IIC-ITCC) in the Palace Museum serves as a bridge between the East and the West in the conservation field. Other developments and government policies that have benefited conservation work include the establishment of the Key Laboratory of Conservation for Paintings and Calligraphies under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (2016), registration in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage (2008), and the successful implementation of the 13th Five-Year National Key Research and Development Program. These resources provide vital governmental and financial support for the long-term development of conservation work in the Palace Museum.

Analyses conducted by the Palace Museum, especially non-invasive scientific analyses, have made important progress. Building upon the Western techniques to analyze oil paintings, specialists have considered the characteristics of Chinese calligraphy and painting and, after years of great effort, have built up techniques such as transmitted light photography and hyperspectral imaging. An effective scientific analysis scheme is starting.

The future development of conservation efforts will further strengthen the use of both scientific and traditional treatments. More emphasis will also be placed on the training of professional technicians and the education of the public. These efforts will help sustain growth and development in the field of conservation.


Dr. Lei Yong is the deputy director of the Conservation Department at the Beijing Palace Museum and the head of the Key Laboratory of Conservation for Paintings and Calligraphy, overseen by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Since his arrival at the Palace Museum in 2004, his research interests have spanned colored paintings, ceramics, lacquerware, and organic dyes. He is particularly interested in the identification of pigments, dye and polychrome stratigraphy, research of organic dye identification and fading, micro- and nano-scale analysis of ancient materials, and noninvasive analysis of calligraphy and painting. He holds degrees in both conservation science and archaeological sciences from the Northwest University (BA), Peking University (MS), and the Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (PhD). He is a fellow at the International Institute for Historic and Artistic Works (IIC). As the chief scientist for the 13th Five-Year National Key Research and Development Program, “Research on Value Interpretation and Key Technology of Organic Cultural Relics,” he is currently engaged in scientific analysis and the conservation study of Chinese organic cultural relics.

雷勇 博士

故宫博物院 文保科技部 副主任



故宫书画修复组所在的文保科技部近些年来的快速发展、相关科研项目和培训平台的建立为书画保护的大发展提供了良好基础和外部激励条件。国际文物保护修复协会(IIC)培训中心在故宫的建立提供了定期与世界级文物保护专家相互交流的机会,促进了故宫书画保护与世界同行沟通和共同发展。文化和旅游部书画保护重点实验室的建立、成功申报国家级非物质文化遗产、承担 “国家十三五重点研发计划”项目都为故宫书画保护的长期稳定发展和科学研究提供了重要的政策和资金支持。





Jennifer Giaccai

Conservation Scientist
Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Smithsonian Institution

Identifying Different Types of Soot-Based Inks Using Raman Spectroscopy

Traditional ink can be made from either pine soot or lampblack. In more recent times, industrial carbon black has also been used, making it even more challenging to discriminate among different types of ink.
Although produced in very different circumstances, the soots are chemically very similar and have proven difficult to differentiate on works of art. Samples from ten modern soot and ink workshops in both Japan and China have been collected and analyzed using a variety of scientific techniques. Much remains to be studied, but our results have shown that Raman spectroscopy is a potential method of determining if the ink is made from lampblack without requiring a sample to be taken from a work of art.


Jennifer Giaccai is a conservation scientist in the Department of Conservation and Scientific Research at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art. She has degrees in chemistry and materials science from Macalester College (BA) and The Johns Hopkins University (MSE). She has previously worked at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute and at the Walters Art Museum. Her areas of interest are inks and pigments used in Asian paintings, the use of natural resins in cultural heritage, and non-invasive methods of investigating museum objects.

Jennifer Giaccai



伝統的な手法で作られる墨は、松から採れる煤、もしくは菜種油から採れる煤のいずれかから作成されます。 最近では工業用カーボンブラックも墨の製造に使用されており、さまざまな種類の墨ができたことで、その識別はさらに困難になっています。このように製造状況が全く異なっていても、化学的に見ると煤自体は非常に類似しています。芸術作品にどの墨が使われたかを区別することの難しさは、既に先行研究でも言及がされています。