Jump to content

Advice on preserving a silk North Korean battle flag?

Recommended Posts

Hello all!



I just acquired this 36" x 19" silk (?) North Korean flag. It is a war souvenir brought to the US around 1952 by a Marine I actually knew when I was a kid and he was enjoying his retirement in Florida. He was given it in the hospital as he was being medically evacuated from Korea after he lost of all his own souvenirs. He has now passed on, and I was given it by a mutual friend after returning from a recent, much more peaceful tour in the Republic of Korea. The flag is missing one of its ties, has several small rips where it was folded, and is severely faded. Photos are enclosed. I am aware of many similar flags which Americans brought back from Korea, including one which was supposedly taken off a destroyed North Korean tank in 1950, suggesting these may have been used for battlefield identification purposes.


Whatever it is worth, it has immense sentimental value to me. I'd like to get it professional cleaned and framed behind UV-resistant glass so I can display it. Do you have any advice on the best way to do this? I was advised by a seasoned collector whose advice I general trust that cleaning it very gently in cool, purified water would not harm the silk, and that I should then keep it rolled up flat between pieces of non-acidic paper for a while once it was totally dry would get rid of the folds. However, I don't really trust myself to not damage it further. I live in Annapolis, Maryland and was thinking I might try to find a nearby specialist to clean it up. I know that George Washington University in Washington, D.C. has a program in historic preservation and was also thinking I might offer it up as a student preservation project (I once met a student from there who offered to preserve a Mahdist Sudanese jibbeh I had for free as her senior thesis! Sadly it didn't work out as I moved out of town and I lost her card). I'm open to any and all advice on conserving and displaying this piece.


Also, if anyone has any Korean People's Army or Chinese Volunteer items of their own, please feel free to reach out. I am interested in acquiring more. Thanks so much!



T.S. Allen





Link to post
Share on other sites

I know just enough to be dangerous when it comes to preserving textiles and what I do know is that it is specialist work!  The only easy and safe advice I have is: wrap it in acid free archival paper - art stores may have it - and keep it away from light.

After that, if you want to do more, plan to spend money with a profesional conservator.  Anybody else may well do more harm than good.  The US National Parks Service publishes a series called "Conservo-grams".  https://www.nps.gov/museum/publications/conserveogram/cons_toc.html

Section 16 has some on textiles including one on riolling and storing flags.  Good luck!


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Blog Comments

    • Sounds great other than the Orange & Mango squash only because I prefer cran-pomegranate juice.
    • "(...) disgusting herbal concoction (...)" I took note of this description, to enrich my otherwise limited, English "Wortschatz"...
    • At work the standard indian tea such as PG tips is referred to as chimp tea. This goes back to the days when we had a Spanish girl working for us whose command of the English language was extremely limited. One lunch she said she was going to the shop could she get anything. I asked if she could get a pack of tea bags. She returned with some disgusting herbal concoction. I tried to explain what was required but without success. I then remembered PG tips had a picture of a chimpanzee on the packe
    • When I read Lapsang Souchong i decided to post something about these Tea . Many years ago I dont  know about Lapsang until I read James Michener book Centennial and the description of the savour of the Lapasang as a mix of tar and salt & smoked made me proof . It was exact ! and i liked it since then .
    • I have been known to drink Lapsang Souchong and Tea, Earl Grey, Hot... both "without pollutants". I normally have one mug of coffee in the morning, then spend the rest of the day drinking Orange & Mango squash (by the pint). Then evening comes and it's a pint, followed by red wine with dinner and sometimes a drop of Laphroaig afterwards.
  • Create New...