Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 395, Issue 7, pp 2167–2174 | Cite as

Applying pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to the identification of oriental lacquers: study of two lacquered shields

  • José Carlos Frade
  • Maria Isabel Ribeiro
  • José Graça
  • José Rodrigues
Original Paper

Abstract

Oriental lacquers have been used as coating materials for thousands of years for wooden, ceramics, leather and metal objects. Lacquers are natural polymers obtained from three species growing in different regions of Asia: Rhus vernicifera (China, Japan and Korea); Rhus succedanea (Vietnam and Taiwan); and Melanorrhoea usitate (Myanmar and Thailand). The identification of lacquer films is important for conservation and restoration purposes, as well as for art history studies because it may help in determining the origin of the lacquered objects. In this work, pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry using a filament-type pyrolyser was successfully applied to the characterization of oriental lacquers. A method to identify the three kinds of lacquer was developed and applied to the study of two lacquered shields imported from Asia in the sixteenth century. The materials that constitute the shields were also examined by Fourier-transform infrared microspectroscopy and details of the lacquering technique are reported.

Figure

Two lacquered shields of unknown origin imported from Asia in the 16th century

Keywords

Oriental lacquer Rhus vernicifera Rhus succedanea Melanorrhoea usitate Py-GC/MS FTIR-μs 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia for financial support (PhD grant SFRH/BD/27573/2006) and Professor Miyakoshi from Meiji University for the lacquer references.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Carlos Frade
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Maria Isabel Ribeiro
    • 1
  • José Graça
    • 3
  • José Rodrigues
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto dos Museus e da ConservaçãoLaboratório José de FigueiredoLisboaPortugal
  2. 2.Tropical Research Institute of PortugalForestry and Forest Products GroupLisboaPortugal
  3. 3.Centro de Estudos Florestais, Departamento de Engenharia FlorestalInstituto Superior de AgronomiaLisboaPortugal

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