A scientific study of the pigments in the wall paintings at Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet, China

  • Li Z
  • Wang L
  • Ma Q
 et al. 
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Knowledge about pigments applied in ancient wall paintings is of great importance in art conservation and art history. In this study, fifteen pigment samples from the wall painting on the pilgrimage-corridor at the Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa, Tibet were analyzed, using different techniques, including X-ray fluorescence (XRF), Raman microspectroscopy (Raman), polarized light microscopy (PLM), and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDS). It is found that azurite, malachite, red lead, cinnabar, mars red, orpiment, gold, calcite, magnesium carbonate, barium white, especially modern synthetic Ultramarine blue, emerald green, chrome yellow and lithopone were used as colorants on plaster. This result suggests that the wall painting may have been executed after the 1850s, mostly in about the 1900s.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Modern synthetic pigments
  • Raman microscopy
  • Tibet
  • Wall painting

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