Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 410, Issue 27, pp 7043–7054 | Cite as

Probing some organic ukiyo-e Japanese pigments and mixtures using non-invasive and mobile infrared spectroscopies

  • Carole BironEmail author
  • Gwénaëlle Le Bourdon
  • Josefina Pérez-Arantegui
  • Laurent Servant
  • Rémy Chapoulie
  • Floréal Daniel
Research Paper


Non-invasive identification of organic colourants in paintings still remains a challenging issue, especially in the case of extremely thin layers of paint on printed paper such as Japanese ukiyo-e prints. Because prints are fragile artworks, various non-invasive analytical methods need to be employed. The present work focuses on results obtained by combining fibre optic reflectance spectroscopy in the near-infrared range (FORS NIR) with mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopy. The first step consists of identifying spectroscopic marker bands typical of some organic pigments (indigo, gamboge, cochineal, turmeric, safflower, dragon’s blood). Some reference printouts involving paper substrate, binder and pigments (seldom used or as mixtures) were then investigated in order to establish a straightforward way to extract the marker bands of the pigments. Some data post-treatments were applied to the spectra, such as spectral subtraction, in order to abstract the signal from overlapping bands originating from both substrate and binder, and second derivative calculation to emphasise the pigment marker bands’ frequency positions. These data treatments turned out to be relevant to extract information on the organic pigments of interest, even within complex mixtures.


Infrared spectroscopy Organic pigments Japanese woodblock prints Non-invasive method Data post-treatment FORS NIR 



We are grateful to A. Queffelec and to the laboratory PACEA (UMR 5199, University of Bordeaux–CNRS) for the loan of the portable mid-infrared spectrometer used in this work and for the help during the first spectra acquisitions.


This project (INDIGO, coord. F. Daniel) has received support from LaScArBx, a research programme supported by the National Research Agency (ANR-10-LabX-52).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carole Biron
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Gwénaëlle Le Bourdon
    • 2
  • Josefina Pérez-Arantegui
    • 3
  • Laurent Servant
    • 2
  • Rémy Chapoulie
    • 1
  • Floréal Daniel
    • 1
  1. 1.IRAMAT-CRPAA, Institut de Recherche sur les Archéomatériaux (IRAMAT), UMR CNRS 5060, Centre de Recherche en Physique Appliquée à l’Archéologie (CRPAA) Maison de l’archéologieUniversité Bordeaux MontaignePessacFrance
  2. 2.ISM, Institut des Sciences Moléculaires, UMR CNRS 5255-Bâtiment A12Université de BordeauxTalence CedexFrance
  3. 3.Instituto Universitario de investigación en Ciencias Ambientales de Aragón (IUCA)Universidad de ZaragozaZaragozaSpain

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