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Subject: Chinese lacquer

Chinese lacquer

From: Barry Knight <barry.knight>
Date: Friday, May 25, 2001
Paul Harrison <paulehar [at] netvigator__com> writes

>Yesterday, I X-rayed a Sung Dynasty (960-1279 AD) red and black
>lacquered bowl. The result was very interesting, it appears that the
>inside is made of two types of wood: most of the bowl is a not so
>dense wood; the rim, just a centimetre or so, however is made of a
>much denser wood and the image is twice as opaque despite being half
>a millimetre thinner. Nothing at all of this is noticeable from the
>outside. I cannot do destructive testing; the artefact does not
>belong to the museum. Has anyone else noticed this or can shed more
>light on it?

Does the dense area in the radiograph correspond to the red painted
area on the bowl?  The red pigment in these bowls is vermilion
(mercuric sulfide), so even a thin layer appears quite dense, at the
sort of KV you are probably using.

Barry Knight
Senior Conservation Scientist
English Heritage

                  Conservation DistList Instance 14:65
                   Distributed: Monday, May 28, 2001
                       Message Id: cdl-14-65-003
Received on Friday, 25 May, 2001

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