Applied Physics A

, Volume 116, Issue 3, pp 1053–1058 | Cite as

Comparison of gold leaf thickness in Namban folding screens using X-ray fluorescence

  • Sofia PessanhaEmail author
  • Teresa I. Madeira
  • Marta Manso
  • Mauro Guerra
  • Agnès Le Gac
  • Maria Luisa Carvalho


In this work, the thickness of the gold leaf applied in six Japanese folding screens is compared using a nondestructive approach. Four screens belonging to the Momoyama period (~1573–1603) and two screens belonging to the early Edo period (~1603–1868) were analyzed in situ using energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence, and the thickness of the applied gold leaf was evaluated using a methodology based on the attenuation of the different characteristic lines of gold in the gold leaf layer. Considering that the leaf may well not be made of pure gold, we established that, for the purpose of comparing the intensity ratios of the Au lines, layers made with gold leaf of high grade can be considered identical. The gold leaf applied in one of the screens from the Edo period was found to be thinner than the gold leaf applied in the other ones. This is consistent with the development of the beating technology to obtain ever more thin gold leafs.


Characteristic Line Gold Alloy Linear Attenuation Coefficient Gold Leaf Generator Eclipse 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Authors would like to thank directors and staff at Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga and Museu Oriente for allowing the study, as well as Salvarte atelier for accommodating us and the screen belonging to the private collector.


  1. 1.
    C.J. Raub, Mater. Australas. 1–19, 7 (1986)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. Winter, East Asian Paintings: Materials, Structures and Deterioration Mechanisms (Archetype publications, Washington, 2008)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    E. Darque-Ceretti, M. Aucouturier, Dorure: décor et sublimation de la matière (Mines ParisTech, Paris, 2012)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    M. Koyano, Gilding and Gilding Conservation in Japan. Gilded Wood: Conservation and History (Sound view press, Madison, 1991)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    S. Grantham, Pap. Conserv. 9, 83 (1985)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    A. Le Gac, A.I. Seruya, M. Lefftz, A. Alarcão, Revue d’Archéométrie—ArcheoSciences 33, 423 (2010)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    N. Wang, L. He, E. Egel, S. Simon, B. Rong, Microchem. J. 114, 125 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    V. Corregidor, L.C. Alves, N.P. Barradas, M.A. Reis, M.T. Marques, J.A. Ribeiro, Nucl Instrum. Methods Phys. Res. B 269, 3049 (2011)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    A. Migliori, N. Grassi, P.A. Mando, Nucl. Instrum. Methods Phys. Res. B 266, 2339 (2008)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    C. Fiorini, A. Gianoncelli, A. Longoni, F. Zaraga, X-Ray Spectrom. 31, 92 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    T. Trojek, M. Hlozek, Appl. Radiat. Isot. 70, 1420 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    R. Cesareo, Nucl. Instrum. Methods Phys. Res. B 211, 133 (2003)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    R. Cesareo, A. Brunetti, S. Ridolfi, X-Ray Spectrom. 37, 309 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    R. Cesareo, M.A. Rizzutto, A. Brunetti, D.V. Rao, Nucl. Instrum. Methods Phys. Res. B 267, 2890 (2009)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    S. Pessanha, M. Guerra, S. Longelin, A. Le Gac, M. Manso, M.L. Carvalho, X-Ray Spectrom. 43, 79 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    S. Pessanha, A. LeGac, T.I. Madeira, A. Guilherme, M. Manso, M.L. Carvalho, X-Ray Spectrom. 42, 128 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    S. Pessanha, M.L. Carvalho, M.I. Cabaço, S. Valadas, J.-L. Bruneel, M. Besnard, M.I. Ribeiro, J. Raman Spectrosc. 41, 1220 (2010)ADSGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    M.F. Guerra, T. Calligaro, Meas. Sci. Technol. 14, 1527 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Y. Lippit, Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries (MNAA, Lisbon, 2009)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Art Namban - Catalogue of the Europália89 Exposition (Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels, 1989)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    M. Guerra, M. Manso, S. Longelin, S. Pessanha, M.L. Carvalho, J. Instrum. 7, C10004 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    V.A. Solé, E. Papillon, M. Cotte, Ph Walter, J. Susini, Spectrochim. Acta B 62, 63 (2007)ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sofia Pessanha
    • 1
    Email author
  • Teresa I. Madeira
    • 1
  • Marta Manso
    • 1
  • Mauro Guerra
    • 1
    • 2
  • Agnès Le Gac
    • 1
    • 3
  • Maria Luisa Carvalho
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centro de Física Atómica da Universidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Departamento de Física, Faculdade de Ciências e TecnologiaUniversidade Nova de LisboaCaparicaPortugal
  3. 3.Departamento de Conservação e Restauro, Faculdade de Ciências e TecnologiaUniversidade Nova de LisboaCaparicaPortugal

Personalised recommendations