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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2081/3222

Title: A Technical Examination of 7 Thai Manuscripts in the 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries
Authors: Huang, Jo-Fan
Keywords: Philip Hofer Collection
Thai manuscripts
Illustrated Tales from Jataka
manuscript materials and techniques
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: ANAGPIC
Citation: Huang, Jo-Fan. 2006. "A Technical Examination of 7 Thai Manuscripts in the 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries." ANAGPIC.
Abstract: The ideology of Buddhism was taught through various art forms such as architecture, sculptures, murals, and manuscripts on both palm leafs and papers. Little has been studied on the materials and techniques of Thai manuscripts on paper (Samut khoi). A total of seven Thai manuscripts were selected from the Philip Hofer Collection in the Asian Department of the Harvard University Art Museums for technical examination and art historical research. The project focuses on an 18th century manuscript, Illustrated Tales from Jataka; six other manuscripts from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries (2 each) were selected for comparison. The scope of the project includes researching historical information on Thai manuscripts and how political movement and commerce effected the artists’ choice for painting materials. The techniques include visual examination, fiber analysis, ultraviolet and infrared light examination, non-destructive micro-x-ray fluorescence (XRF), Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR), and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDS). The analyses indicate the presence of huntite, lead white, calcite, indigo, red lead, vermilion, gamboge, ultramarine, and red earth in the 18th century manuscripts. In the 19th and 20th century manuscripts, the analyses indicate lead white, calcite, red lead, vermilion, gamboges, chrome yellow, emerald green and Prussian blue, as well as possible barium sulfate, titanium white, and viridian. Lead white, gold leaf, and vermilion were found consistently in all seven manuscripts. The results suggest that different blue pigments were used in different centuries: indigo in the 18th century, ultramarine and Prussian blue in the 19th century and Prussian blue alone in the 20th century. Further analyses and examination of additional manuscripts is planned to confirm these patterns.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2081/3222
Appears in Collections:ANAGPIC 2005 Papers

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