Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Re-creating the original colors of treasured ivory carvings from the ancient past

Date:
May 29, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
The fabled ivory carvings from the ancient Phoenician city of Arslan Tash -- literally meaning "Stone Lion" -- may appear a dull monochrome in museums today, but they glittered with brilliant blue, red, gold and other colors 2,800 years ago, a new study has confirmed after decades of speculation.

Ancient Phoenician ivory carvings like this lion head that look colorless today (left) actually were adorned with brilliant colors 2,800 years ago (right), scientists are reporting.
Credit: ACS

The fabled ivory carvings from the ancient Phoenician city of Arslan Tash -- literally meaning "Stone Lion" -- may appear a dull monochrome in museums today, but they glittered with brilliant blue, red, gold and other colors 2,800 years ago, a new study has confirmed after decades of speculation. It appears in the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry.

Related Articles


Ina Reiche and colleagues explain that these carvings are rare, housed in museums like the Louvre, and art experts regard them as the most beautiful ivory carvings of the era. Experts long believed that the lion heads, amulets and other objects were brightly colored, rather than the bland beiges and whites that remain today. But until recently, there was no adequate way to test the ivories for traces of pigment without damaging these priceless objects.

The scientists describe how a non-destructive testing technology brought to life traces of red, blue and other pigments -- and gold gilding -- allowing re-creation of the long-vanished colors that decorated the original ivories. In addition to contributing to a new understanding of the Phoenician carvings, the technology could be used to glimpse the original paintings on other objects, the authors note. Those include the Elgin Marbles, the classical Greek marble sculptures that originally were part of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis in Athens.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ina Reiche, Katharina Müller, Marie Albéric, Oliver Ulrich Heinz Paul Scharf, Andrea Wähning, Aniouar Bjeoumikhov, Martin Radtke, Rolf Simon. Discovering vanished paints and naturally formed gold nanoparticles on 2800 years old Phoenician ivories using SR-FF-microXRF with the Color X-ray Camera. Analytical Chemistry, 2013; 130513030719004 DOI: 10.1021/ac4006167

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Re-creating the original colors of treasured ivory carvings from the ancient past." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130529111331.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2013, May 29). Re-creating the original colors of treasured ivory carvings from the ancient past. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130529111331.htm
American Chemical Society. "Re-creating the original colors of treasured ivory carvings from the ancient past." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130529111331.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Richard III Saga Ends With Burial And An Eye Roll

Richard III Saga Ends With Burial And An Eye Roll

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) — Richard III was finally laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral on Thursday, but not without some controversy over who should get credit for finding him. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Giant Triassic Salamander Acted More Like A Crocodile

Giant Triassic Salamander Acted More Like A Crocodile

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) — An ancient crocodile-like salamander more than 10 times the average size of its modern-day counterparts has been discovered in Portugal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Plague-Era Skeletons Bring History Back to Life in London

Plague-Era Skeletons Bring History Back to Life in London

AFP (Mar. 24, 2015) — London office workers are coming face-to-face with the hidden history beneath their feet as 3,000 skeletons dating back to the 16th century are dug up to make way for a new railway line. Duration: 01:11 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Add Woolly Mammoth DNA To Elephant Cells

Scientists Add Woolly Mammoth DNA To Elephant Cells

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) — A group of Harvard researchers have been working on this project for a while, but it&apos;s not without critics. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins