In the 19th century, life-sized dolls of samurai warriors in full armor were created and exhibited at festivals along with other ningyō, or “human figures.” Gizmodo recently shared a video posted to YouTube by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, in which a team of conservationists is shown restoring a doll from their collection.
The doll was completely disassembled, allowing the team to assess and methodically repair the damage that it had sustained over the past 130 years. Defects in the limbs were filled with a gesso mixture, sanded, and painted to match the original coloring. A conservation net was dyed and added to areas of the fabric that had deteriorated over time, and Japanese tissue was added to the cracks on the back of the samurai armor plates with an adhesive.
Watch the full video above, and visit the museum’s website to learn more about its “Samurai: Japanese Arms and Armour” collection.