Military dress and boots of a Chinese mandarin

Conservation and the creation of a bespoke mannequin


Helmet & detachable padded hat liner, tunic, skirt, shoulder guards, 3 detachable accessory panels; boots. Figured weave cloth comprising silk and metal wrapped thread embellished with velvet bands, brass nails woven silk tape and decorative metal plates; boots of figured silk and leather. Except for hat, each component very heavy.

Condition before treatment

Mannequin providing inadequate support. Silk element of cloth and velvet, weak.

Client brief/Role of object

Make stable for long term display in gallery.


Documented and photographed at all treatment stages. Surface cleaned using low powered vacuum suction to remove loose particulate soils. Corrosion products removed from nails by mechanical action and with solvents. Splits in cloth and all textile surfaces of boots stitch

supported with semi-transparent patch overlays.

Bespoke mannequin

Comprising steel rod, foamed plastic, fabric covered polyester wadding is designed to support the heavy components.

Condition after treatment

The mannequin reduces strain on the shoulder elements assisting in the long term preservation.

Further information

[TCC 2683]


Reproduced courtesy of The Wallace Collection and the Textile Conservation Centre, University of Southampton. Textile Conservation Centre, University of Southampton © 2009.

Kate Gill, TCC Project manager & conservator

Treatment completed June 2006