Collection Care blog

Behind the scenes with our conservators and scientists

27 January 2016

Torah Mantle Conservation

The Torah is the Hebrew Bible. Torah mantles are sometimes used to cover the Torah scrolls and are constructed in a similar way to a skirt. The ‘skirt’ has a top with two ‘holes’ and these allow the wooden scroll handles to protrude.

A sketch outline of a Torah Mantle, in black on white background. The basic outline is similar to a skirt, adjoined to a circular area with two holes, which is where the scroll handles protrude.
Construction of a Torah mantle.


The Mantle before conservation. The Mantle is light coloured silk, with large flowers with green wrapped stems, amongst other flowers and leaves repeated on the fabric. The Mantle is resting on a light grey background.
Before conservation the front of Torah mantle OMS/Or 13027 showed degraded silk - probably caused by light damage.


A portion of the Mantle is visible in this photograph, lying on protective wrapping on a grey table. The Mantle is weighed down by a stack of rectangular glass weights, while a steel conservation spatula and other conservation tools are alongside. An air extraction unit is next to the table, with an open square intake.
During conservation solvent activation of adhesive on conservation net was applied to the degraded silk using portable air extraction.

The Mantle after conservation, lying on protective padding, with the top facing towards camera, where the two open holes can be seen. The black bordering of the silk can be seen more easily in this image.
Post conservation the Torah mantle now shows stabilisation of the degraded silk. This is most evident in the centre front left and right, around the pleats, and around the holes for the wooden scroll handles.

Liz Rose, Textile Conservator


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