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Thursday, May 16 • 11:00am - 11:30am
(Wooden Artifacts) Characterizing Asian Lacquer Surfaces Using Surface Metrology and Multimodal Imaging Techniques: A New Approach

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In preparation for the Getty Conservation Institute’s Asian lacquer cleaning project 15 different formulas of Asian lacquer were prepared using laccol, thitsi and urushi. The formulas within the three lacquer categories each differ from the next in the series by one ingredient. This way we will be able to understand how each ingredient affects the behaviour of the surface. Observation and examination of the surface at each stage of the experiment is key to following the changes over time. The Asian lacquer panels were prepared during 2017, by Marianne Webb and Sunhwa Kim, Art and Design Department at Buffalo State College, according to strict protocols to limit differences and ensure standardization of the final products. The three types of Asian lacquer, urushi, laccol and thitsi were obtained from reliable sources. Five formulas of each type of lacquer were produced and all stages were made using the same type of Asian lacquer. Each Koskisen plywood panel was sealed with raw lacquer, and then a ground coat of tonoko and raw lacquer was applied. In the case of thitsi lacquer, bone ash was also incorporated in the formula. Ground coats were polished smooth and sealed with the same lacquer. Test formulas were applied by different means. Urushi and laccol lacquers were applied by brush, however, due to the high viscosity thitsi was applied with a silicone spatula or squeegee. With exception of the roiro urushi none of the coatings were polished after drying. Multimodal imaging: All the samples were documented with different photographic techniques with a modified UV-VIS-IR DSLR camera. Reflected IR and IR-induced IR luminescence techniques were particularly useful in revealing the differences among the different Asian lacquer panels. Surface metrology and multi-scale analysis of the Asian lacquer panels will be introduced and discussed. All 15 panels were investigated using confocal microscopy: Each lacquer panel was examined at 12 distinct areas of interest using a 10x (area 1,600x1,600 μm) and 50x (320x320 μm) objectives. Each magnification shows different physical features to consider. Surface texture can be described by the data reduction techniques of amplitude (height) parameters and spatial parameters. Physical lateral surface features such as peaks and pits and other features at each magnification are also invoked since they are not considered by both amplitude and spatial parameters. The above will be presented in hopes of starting a discussion based on: what identifying features are of interest? Are the features chosen at these magnifications good to define lacquer surfaces? Are the features at these two different magnifications related or relatable in any way? And more.

avatar for Patrick Ravines

Patrick Ravines

Director & Associate Professor, Buffalo State Program in Art Conservation
Patrick Ravines is director of the Art Conservation Department, SUNY Buffalo State. Some research interests are in the image formation process of 19th century photographic systems.
avatar for Marianne Webb

Marianne Webb

Decorative Arts Conservator, Webb Conservation Services
Marianne Webb is an independent conservator and researcher on the west coast of Canada. Previously she was the Decorative Arts Conservator at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto where she developed her keen interest in Asian and western lacquer. Currently she is collaborating with... Read More →

avatar for David Sheets

David Sheets

Professor, Physics (Undergraduate), Data Analytics (Graduate), Canisius College
Dr. Sheets has a wide range of research interests, all based on the study of dynamical processes, from a mathematical and statistic perspective. This has include the study of the growth and diversification of biological organisms, such as long term change within lineages, as well... Read More →
avatar for Jiuan Jiuan Chen

Jiuan Jiuan Chen

Associate Professor, Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department, State University of New York College at Buffalo
Jiuan Jiuan Chen is Associate Professor of Conservation Imaging, Technical Examination and Documentation in the Art Conservation Department at SUNY Buffalo State. A 2001 graduate of the same program, she previously interned or worked at the Northeast Document Conservation Center... Read More →

Thursday May 16, 2019 11:00am - 11:30am EDT
Abenaki Room Sky Convention Center, Mohegan Sun
  Specialty Session, Wooden Artifacts
  • Track Wooden Artifacts
  • Ticketed Included in Main Registration
  • Authors in Publication Order Marianne Webb, Patrick Ravines, Jiuan Jiuan Chen
  • Abstract ID 18781
  • Tags laccol,thitsi,urushi,surface metrology,multimodal imaging,confocal microscopy,Asian lacquer,reflected IR,IR-induced IR luminescence