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Ceramics with metallic lustre decoration. A detailed knowledge of Islamic productions from 9th century until Renaissance

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Delhia Chabanne, Marc Aucouturier, Anne Bouquillon, Evelyne Darque-Ceretti, Sophie Makariou, Xavier Dectot, Antoinette Faÿ-Hallé, Delphine Miroudot

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This paper describes research on the technological evolution of glazed ceramics with a metallic lustre decoration starting from their emergence in the Near East until the Hispano-Moresque productions. That research covers the main known Islamic production sites and periods: Abbasid (Mesopotamia); Fatimid (Egypt); Timurid, Mongol, and Safavid (Iran); Ayyubid and Mamluk (Syria); Nasrid and Hispano-Moresque (Spain). It was allowed by the access to more than hundred full preserved objects or fragments supplied by French national museums (Mus\'ee du Louvre DAI, Mus\'ee national du Moyen Age, Mus\'ee national de C\'eramique). The characterisation of the composition and structure of the ceramics and of their decoration is mostly done through non-destructive analyses methods. The thickness and metal content of the surface lustre layers are quantified thanks to ion beam analyses performed on a particle accelerator: PIXE (particle-induced X-ray emission) for the terracotta and glazes composition and RBS (Rutherford backscattering spectrometry) for the thickness and metal content of the lustre surface layers. The preliminary results show that the features of the decorated ceramics have undergone dramatic variations when transmitted from a production to another, not only, as expected, in the composition of terracotta and glazes, but also in the thickness, the structure and the composition distribution of the lustre layers.


Original languageEnglish
JournalMatériaux et techniques
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

    Research areas

  • Condensed Matter - Materials Science

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