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Keywords:

  • enamel;
  • pigment;
  • Raman spectroscopy;
  • China;
  • Cloisonnés

Abstract

A selection of 22 rare Chinese cloisonné enamels, from fifteenth century to nineteenth century A.D., has been studied on-site in the storage rooms of the musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris. The Raman signatures of the transparent and/or opacified glass matrix are discussed and compared with those that were previously recorded on glazed pottery, enameled and stained glasses. Enamels mostly belong to lead-based potash-lime glasses. Three different compositions, lead-potash-lime (fifteenth, sixteenth, eighteenth and nineteenth century), soda-rich (sixteenth–seventeenth century) and soda-lime (seventeenth century) are identified according to the wavenumber maxima of the Si[BOND]O stretching and bending multiplets. Most of the pigment signatures are similar to those recorded on ceramic glazes and glass enamels, which proves the link between the technologies but a specific opacifier is observed: fluorite (CaF2). Naples Yellow pigment variations give characteristic signatures. Additionally, a comparison is made with Limoges enamels (sixteenth–nineteenth century A.D.). Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.