Vanuatu Slit Drum, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

PROJECT DATE : 2020
project
Vanuatu Slit Drum
client
Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
services
Objects Conservation

Overview

International Conservation Services undertook conservation treatment on and installation of a Vanuatu Slit Drum at the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney.

The slit drum is fabricated from a single tree trunk in ‘totem’ style with a carved head above the main body (drum). The main body is hollowed out internally through a narrow vertical slit to produce a drum sound when beaten.

Condition

The lower part of the trunk was originally inserted in the ground to support the drum. However, this had rotted and disintegrated, providing no means of support. Fungal wood decay had rotted the lower section and extended internally into the above ground section, causing the wood to become fibrous and powdery.   There were large cracks in the head and shoulder areas.

Treatment

  • The Slit Drum was treated with a ‘minimal intervention’ approach. As much rotten material as possible was removed from the base without adversely affecting its structural integrity. The area was then sprayed with a commercial biocide solution.
  • Plaster casts were taken of the barrel of the Drum to facilitate production of custom supportive brackets.
  • The installation site was excavated and a concrete slab was poured. Holes were bored into the concrete at each corner and threaded rods were inserted and secured with epoxy resin, washers and nuts.
  • Brackets were attached to the steel frame and the Drum was then held in place to determine exact locations to drill the required holes. Once the holes had been drilled, the Drum was affixed to the support with threaded hex head bolts.

project
Vanuatu Slit Drum
client
Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
services
Objects Conservation
Before Treatment
After Treatment

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