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Physico-chemical analyses of Hispano-Moresque lustred ceramic: a precursor for Italian majolica?

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D. Chabanne, A. Bouquillon, M. Aucouturier, X. Dectot, G. Padeletti

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The paper presents a comprehensive physico-chemical investigation on a series of Hispano-Moresque objects produced in the eastern Spain workshops between the XIV and XVIII centuries and fragments from XII century, in order to compare them with the Italian Renaissance majolica production. The techniques used are mainly non-destructive (ion beam analyses and X-ray diffraction), sometimes complemented by SEM observation and microanalysis, and electrothermal atomic emission spectrometry. Such methods allow a full description of the terra cotta, of the glaze and of the different surface layers which constitute the lustre decoration indicating individual elemental composition and thickness of each layer containing or not metallic nanoparticles. Principal results show the following: i) a constant source of supply for the eastern Spain terra cotta; ii) a significant change in the composition of the Spanish glazes around the XVII century, with the disappearance of the opacifying tin oxide addition; iii) significant evolutions in the structure and composition of the lustre layers, in particular related to the presence or not of a metal-free surface glaze film and its thickness; iv) interesting analogies and differences with the Italian majolica; v) confirmation of the change in the quality of blue pigment during XVI century, already evidenced by the authors in previous publications. A discussion about the transmission of the lustre technique between eastern Spain and Italy at the Renaissance period is proposed.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-18
JournalApplied Physics A
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2008

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