Making the Invisible Visible: Conservation and Islamic Art

April 2–August 4, 2013

Mounting Objects for Display

Fred Sager
Senior Conservation Preparator
The Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation


Dagger with Zoomorphic Hilt. Islamic, Adil Shahi period (1490–1686), second half 16th century. Hilt: copper; cast, chased, gilded, and inlaid with rubies. Blade: steel; forged; L. 15 5/8 in. (39.6 cm). Attributed to: Bijapur or Golconda, Deccan, India. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, 2011

Mounting objects so that they can be displayed safely is an important part of preventative conservation. Preparators in the Museum's Objects Conservation Department fabricated hundreds of mounts for the reinstallation of the Islamic galleries that by design are intended to be as invisible as possible. They worked with conservators, curators and exhibition designers to ensure that their individually crafted brass mounts would hold artwork securely at the desired viewing angles. Larger and heavier objects are supported by steel mounts that were designed and produced by the staff of the Museum's Metal Shop. All mounts were padded to prevent damage to fragile surfaces and painted to match the color and texture of the artwork as closely as possible.