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Scientific Studies of Pigments in Chinese Paintings

Edited by Blythe McCarthy and Jennifer Giaccai

Scientific Studies of Pigments in Chinese Paintings book cover

Scientific Studies of Pigments in Chinese Paintings explores the pigments used in Chinese paintings on silk and paper from the Song dynasty (960–1279) through the early twentieth century. The first book on this subject to bring together information gathered from a large group of works—over two hundred—it provides physical proof of both when and how pigments were used. The team of scientists examined works from the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery collections, including scholar-paintings of several genres as well as portraits. Detailed analysis of the introduction and use of imported colorants, including cochineal, a dye indigenous to the Americas, and Prussian blue, a synthetic pigment first made in Germany in 1704, reveals that these and other imported pigments were introduced into the palette in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries primarily by professional painters. Greatly expanding the available information in this area of study, this book enables a broader understanding of the materials and methods used by Chinese painters and provides a resource for scholars of Asian arts and cultures.

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