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Gold like lustre: nanometric surface treatment for decoration of glazed ceramics in ancient Islam, Moresque Spain and Renaissance Italy

Abstract : Lustre is one of the most fascinating surface decorative effects produced on glazed ceramics. This technique seems to have been born in the ninth century in factories created by the Arabs during their conquests in the Orient (Mesopotamia, Egypt and Persia). Arab potters spread their knowhow all over the Mediterranean basin, especially Spain. Italian Renaissance potters succeeded in applying it to their production. The technique is based on a specific firing of the glazed pottery in a reducing atmosphere in the presence of metallic salts. The result is a surface layer with a metallic appearance, exhibiting various colours, from gold to brown or red. This paper provides the chemical nature and the physical structure of ancient gold like lustre layers and compares them with contemporary lustres produced by a Spanish craftsman reproducing the traditional Islamic techniques. Various analytical investigations (atomic force microscopy, high resolution SEM, particle induced X-ray emission, Rutherford backscattering, TEM, X-ray induced photoelectron spectroscopy, time of flight SIMS and grazing X-ray diffraction) were carried out as well as investigations into the coloured appearance by spectrophotometry. The results show that the lustre layer consists of silver and copper particles of nanometric dimensions dispersed in a glassy matrix. A model of the lustre formation is proposed wherein the development of a new superficial glaze is described. Comparison between ancient and modern production shows how the techniques have varied through the ages.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 1, 2010 - 5:21:20 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 4:09:58 AM

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Evelyne Darque-Ceretti, Doriane Helary, Anne Bouquillon, Marc Aucouturier. Gold like lustre: nanometric surface treatment for decoration of glazed ceramics in ancient Islam, Moresque Spain and Renaissance Italy. Surface Engineering, Maney Publishing, 2005, 21 (5-6), pp.352-358. ⟨10.1179/174329305X64312⟩. ⟨hal-00514245⟩

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