Blue Pigments Case Study

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Microanalysis of blue pigments from the Ptolemaic temple of Hathor (Thebes), Upper Egypt: a case study Hussein H. Marey Mahmoud* The aim of the present work was to characterize blue pigment samples collected from the Ptolemaic temple of Hathor (Thebes), the western bank of Luxor, Upper Egypt. The characterization of the examined pigments was carried out by means of optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray detector, micro X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. On the basis of the chemical composition and microstructure of the samples, the blue pigments were identified as Egyptian blue (cuprorivaite, CaCuSi4O10). Moreover, the micro X-ray fluorescence analysis…show more content…
The pigment must be dispersed or grinded as evenly as possible in the binding medium to take full advantage of the properties of both the pigment and the binder.[8] The typical stratigraphic structure of the Egyptian wall paintings is usually made of multiple layers. The plastering procedure was to initially smooth an irregular rock surface with one or more of plaster layers. The first layer is the coarse, so called ‘arriccio’, applied directly to the wall. This layer consists of siliceous aggregates, and the matrix binder is mainly of gypsumor lime. The second intermediate layer is the fine plaster called ‘intonaco’, which consists of gypsum or lime and quartz crystals of small dimensions. The third layer in the top is the ground layer for the application of pigments. This layer is based mainly on pure lime, gypsum or a mixture of both of them. In some cases, mainly in temples, only a single layer of gypsum was used as a preparatory layer for pigments. Egyptian blue was the first synthetic pigment ever produced by man; it is considered a great technology development in the ancient Egypt, as it appeared in Egypt during the

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