Characterization of a Namban folding screen from the Edo period by means of EDXRF, SEM-EDS and Raman Spectroscopy

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Abstract

In this work, a multianalytical approach is employed to characterize the materials used in aNambanfolding screen that depicts the arrival of the Portuguese to the port of Nagasaki. Portuguese sailors reached Japan in 1543 and initiated what was to be known as theNambantrade. This interaction between Portuguese and Japanese was meticulously recorded by artists in the form of valuable and rare folding screens. The present screen, attributed to the Edo period (~1603–1868), is what we could consider a second-generation screen, a copy of scenes and characters that appear in screens from the Momoyama period (~1573–1603) but in increased scale and minor detail. The materials used in the screen were identified by means ofin situenergy dispersive X-ray fluorescence. Complementary results were obtained by Raman and scanning electron microscopy coupled to energy dispersive spectrometry analysis of microsamples taken from the screen. The palette used in this artwork resorts to gold, malachite, azurite, vermillion, red lead, white oyster shell, and carbon black. Differences were found, when compared with previously studied screens, i.e. the use of mixtures of pigments, namely vermillion with red lead in an orange shade of red and also the mixture of vermillion and carbon black to obtain a brown color. Special emphasis was given to the characterization of the golden areas and study of techniques of gold application. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)128-133
JournalX-Ray Spectrometry
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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