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Clothed wax effigies: construction materials, challenges and suggestions for preventive conservation

Christos Karydis1,, Evangelia Kyriazi2 , Christina-Alkisti Staka1

1 Ionian University, Department of Environment-Division: Conservation of Antiquities & Works of Art, Panagoula, 29100, Zakynthos, Greece

2 University of the Peloponnese, Department of History, Archaeology, and Cultural Resources Management, Laboratory of Archaeometry, Palaio Stratopedo, Anatoliko Kentro, Kalamata, 24100, Greece



Wax effigies, fully dressed life-size models of human figures, have been constructed since the medieval times. The construction materials of historical effigies differ to the contemporary ones, yet the construction process of the wax parts has more or less remained unchanged over the centuries. This paper starts with the history, construction materials and manufacture techniques of wax effigies. The inseparable relation of the wax effigies and their costumes is explained, and the characteristics and deterioration agents of their most important construction materials are presented in order to understand their needs for preservation, with emphasis on wax and fabrics. The aim of this paper is to suggest preventive conservation guidelines for wax effigies, with proposals for appropriate environmental conditions during display and storage, and suggestions for proper handling, storage and transportation. Advice for disaster preparedness and actions in cases of emergency situations is also provided.


Wax deterioration
Wax museums







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Karydis, C.; Kyriazi, E.; Staka, C., 'Clothed wax effigies: construction materials, challenges and suggestions for preventive conservation', Conservar Património (volume no prelo),

Karydis, C., Kyriazi, E., & Staka, C. (volume no prelo). Clothed wax effigies: construction materials, challenges and suggestions for preventive conservation. Conservar Património. DOI:10.14568/cp2020006.

Karydis, Christos, Evangelia Kyriazi, and Christina-Alkisti Staka. volume no prelo. "Clothed wax effigies: construction materials, challenges and suggestions for preventive conservation." Conservar Património. doi:10.14568/cp2020006.

KARYDIS, Christos [et al.] – Clothed wax effigies: construction materials, challenges and suggestions for preventive conservation. Conservar Património. volume no prelo.

KARYDIS, Christos et al. Clothed wax effigies: construction materials, challenges and suggestions for preventive conservation. Conservar Património, Lisboa, volume no prelo. Disponível em: <>. Acesso em: .


Received: 2020-1-28
Revised: 2020-6-16
Accepted: 2020-6-30
Online: 2020-8-19


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