The Garima Tray

Amongst the treasures in Abba Garima is a spectacular 14th century tray believed to have originated from the Mamluk sultanate in Eygpt. Martin Foster, an expert restorer of metal objects, undertook cleaning and conservation of the fabulous tray at the Garima Monastery.

In his report Martin wrote: ‘The silver inlays were black in colour due to the build up of silver sulphide. Some of the silver inlays are missing; notable on the areas of calligraphy. The surfaces of the brass or bronze bowl were mostly lightly corroded; with areas of green and brown corrosion...’ The loose inlays were glued and consolidated in place and Formic acid was used on a swab to remove the corrosion on the bronze surfaces of the bowl. The silver surfaces were cleaned.

When all the corrosion on the bronze and tarnish on the silver had been removed; the surfaces were mechanically polished and waxed. Most of the detail has been lost in the blackened surface. Now the remarkable silver work and tracery are apparent and the calligraphy plain to see.

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