The Value of Spit, in the Art World

A proper appreciation of spit might have prevented an art tragedy. The tragedy is reported by VN Express International:

HCMC museum takes a national treasure to the cleaners

A precious lacquer painting suffered 30 percent damage during cleaning process due to cleaner’s lack of knowledge in art.
The painting, Vuon Xuan Trung Nam Bac (Spring Garden of Centre, South  and North), is a prominent artwork displayed in the Ho Chi Minh City Fine Arts Museum.

Last year, Luu Minh Phung was tasked by the museum to clean the painting and he took it to the cleaners, seriously damaging its surface by using dishwashing liquid, a polishing powder and sandpaper.

The intent and message of the artwork has been damaged by around 30 percent, said Vi Kien Thanh, head of the Fine Arts, Photography and Exhibition Department of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism….

Often, Spit is Better

The value of spit was celebrated with the 2018 Ig Nobel Prize for chemistry. The prize was awarded to Paula Romão, Adília Alarcão and the late César Viana, for measuring the degree to which human saliva is a good cleaning agent for dirty surfaces.

They describe their research, in the paper: “Human Saliva as a Cleaning Agent for Dirty Surfaces,” Paula M. S. Romão, Adília M. Alarcão and César A.N. Viana, Studies in Conservation, vol. 35, 1990, pp. 153-155.

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