Pigments characterization of polychrome vases production at Lipára: New insights by noninvasive spectroscopic methods

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EarlyView Article

  • Published: Sep 10, 2017
  • Author: G. Barone, M. Di Bella, M.A. Mastelloni, P. Mazzoleni, S. Quartieri, S. Raneri, G. Sabatino
  • Journal: X-Ray Spectrometry

One of the most impressive Sicilian pottery production is attributed to the so‐called Lipari Painter and his followers, whose vessels—found in the archeological site of Lipari (Aeolian Island, Sicily)—are decorated with characteristic blue, red, and white figures. From the archeological point of view, these artworks keep open many questions concerning dating, production technique, and cultural background. In this context, new data on the manufacture procedures and on the raw materials used for the pigments may contribute to a deeper comprehension of this early Hellenistic vase tradition. The preciousness of the vessels, exhibited at the Archeological Museum of Lipari, imposed the use of in situ nondestructive methods to address new insights on the nature of the colored layers. Thus, analyses by Raman and X‐ray fluorescence spectroscopy have been performed with portable instruments on a selection of vessels certainly attributed to Lipari Painter and to some others of his followers. The results of this study testify the use of different pigments: kaolin and gypsum, probably supplied locally, for white layers; Egyptian blue for blue hues; red ochre for brown‐reddish hues; and cinnabar for pink and red‐purple nuances. The identification of both Egyptian blue and cinnabar opens an interesting discussion about dating and circulation of the raw materials.

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