Acquisition and Analysis of Reference Materials

Reference materials are an essential aspect of this project. At the outset, the collection of materials was limited to the small number identified in the literature review: Anacard tree saps, drying oils, animal glue, starch, camphor and gamboge. However, as the project progressed and more objects were tested, it became necessary to broaden the range of reference materials in the collection because many unexpected peaks were detected in the Py-GC/MS chromatograms from the Asian lacquers that did not correlate to any of the initial set of materials.

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Pure materials were acquired from various sources and generously supplied by interested colleagues at other institutions. The reference materials were mixed together as additives into the raw Kurome lacquer, painted out onto glass slides, then cured at high humidity and air dried. This provided an ideal opportunity to observe the working properties of the modified lacquer, color, gloss and hardness, all of which gave indications of the reasons why a particular material might have been intentionally added to the raw lacquer by the craftsperson.

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Page updated: September 2010