• pigments;
  • Raman microscopy;
  • sixteenth century Persian palette


A Persian book of poetry—a poetic history of Shah Isma'il—by Mirza Kasim, dating to A.D. 1541, has been studied by Raman microscopy in order to explore the palette used at this time in Persia. The palette was found to include lazurite, indigo, red lead, vermilion, haematite, carbon black, orpiment, lead white and gold. The palette thus differs from that of another contemporary book of Persian poetry, most notably by the inclusion of indigo, and from that of a 1537–1538 Persian codex by the use of an intimate orpiment/indigo mixture for green rather than the copper-based mineral malachite. The palette also differs in a few respects from that of a Persian Herati manuscript of A.D. 1530 in that the latter uses an intimate mixture of orpiment and lazurite for green and does not include either haematite or indigo. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.