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Ceramic thin section in plane polarized light (left) and segmented (right) for quantitative image analysis.
1. Improving Laboratory Methods for Understanding and Preserving Material Culture
This research program develops, tests, and applies new methods for documenting and preserving cultural materials, with a focus on ceramics, stone, metals, and glass. A current major area of concentration i experimenting with innovative methods of image analysis for characterizing materials, and to improve preservation efforts and monitoring of deterioration.
2. Documenting Traditional Cultural Heritage
This research program includes studies of both material culture and related intangible cultural heritage (skills, knowledge, and beliefs connected with craft production and objects). Since 2006 the focus has been on craft traditions in Asia. We are particularly interested in identifying technological innovation and change, and on policies that promote and support traditional technologies. Ethnographic field studies document the technical methods and cultural context of rapidly disappearing traditional craft workshops.
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These barley dough sculptures (called torma) were made as part of a Tibetan Bon ritual to bless a home.
Click through the subsections in the left menu to view summaries of some of the Laboratory projects.
These barley dough sculptures (called torma) were made as part of the Tibetan Bon So kha (gsol kha) ritual in Sichuan Province, China, near Songpan.
Ceramic thin section in plane polarized light (left) and segmented (right) for digital image analysis. This gives quantitative information on sand grains (white on left and pink on right) and pores (blue) within the clay matrix.