Ilona Teplouhova: Seals and their conservation in Latvia
This research paper is dedicated to the history of seals, mainly wax seals, also observing the auxiliary science of history which investigates seals- (sphragistics). The paper also examines the practice of conservation of wax seals in Latvia – with an historical overview and description of the practice of conservation in The National Archives of Latvia, Department of the Preventive preservation.
Latvian cultural heritage includes many documents with wax seals and the biggest part of them is stored in the Latvian State Historical Archive.
The oldest documents with wax seals attached to them are from the beginning of the 13th century. Wax seals were used to guarantee the authenticity of the documents till the end of the 16th century.
Wax seals are a valuable part of cultural heritage as they can provide information related to heraldry, numismatics, genealogy and also history of art and fashion.
The interest in seals in Latvia dates back to 18th century. The largest sphragistic collections were formed in the 19th century, when collecting ancient coins, medals and as well as seals was a fashionable leisure time activity.
Since the 1990s the conservation of wax seals is carried out in The National Archives of Latvia, Department of the Preventive preservation. At present the department mostly deals with the cleaning of the seals’ surface with Boracol 10 RH and the consolidation of loose fragments of the seals.