Journal of Archaeological Science | 2019

Smalt: An under-recognized pigment commonly used in historical period China

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Abstract


Abstract Smalt is a ground blue pigment made of potassium glass whose color comes from a small amount of cobalt oxide added during its preparation. It was very frequently used during the 15th to 19th centuries in Europe, but has by contrast been rarely mentioned or studied by Chinese researchers, despite having been identified in recent years on many Chinese antiques. This paper discusses analytical results from a selection of twenty-one samples of smalt, including wall paintings, architectural polychromy, polychrome sculptures, cave murals and textile paintings, each of which has been subject to a combination of polarized light microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and scanning electronic microscopy. This paper discusses the smalt s identification, as well as its historical uses and trade.

Volume 101
Pages 89-98
DOI 10.1016/J.JAS.2018.11.008
Language English
Journal Journal of Archaeological Science

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