Composition/structure and lacquering craft analysis of Wenzhou Song dynasty lacquerware
Several archaeological lacquerware samples tracing back to the Song dynasty (A.D. 960–A.D. 1279) and an ancient lacquer box remnant dating from the Yuan dynasty (A.D. 1271–A.D. 1368) were analyzed by various analytical methods in this article. The analytical methods used include scanning electron microscopy, X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy, stereoscopic microscopy, Raman spectra analysis, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, pyrolysis-gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. The results showed that the red pigment in the lacquer films was cinnabar (HgS), and the black parts in the lacquer films might be carbon black or ferroferric oxide (Fe3O4). Cross-sectional analysis revealed the layered construction of the samples; the elemental composition of each layer was also analyzed to investigate the ancient lacquering craft technique. It was found that several decorating techniques from the Song dynasty were applied, such as the plain painted lacquer, the carved lacquer, fill color and ‘Zanxi’. From the analysis of the results of FT-IR and Py-GC/MS examinations, it was confirmed that all the lacquer films analyzed were coated with lacquer sap; the pyrolysis products were mainly long-chain alkanes or long-chain alkenes, and the detection of 3-heptylphenol could indicate the species of the lacquer tree was either Rhus vernicifera or Melanorrhoea usitata.