Painted linen mummy-wrapping.
- Found/Acquired: Egypt
- Length: 152.5 centimetres
- Width: 31.5 centimetres
PM V: p. 24.
16 April 1999
Reason for analysis
Analysis of blue and green pigments on linen shroud
The shroud, dating to circa 200 BC was decorated in lines in imitation of beadwork.The linen showed severe degradation where the pigments were situated. Where the pigmentlayer had become detached the underlying linen was very degraded and brown.The pigment samples were examined by polarised light microscopy and x-ray fluorescenceanalysis (xrd) to identify them.By XRF the blue pigment contained copper, and showed the microscopical characteristics ofEgyptian blue including pleochroism, birefringence and refractive index less than 1.66.The green pigment was shown to contain copper, and in the polarising light microscope asmall amount of a colourless glassy material refractive index less than 1.66 which wasisotropic. A large number of shattered brown linen fibres were present to which brown rathershapeless particles were attached. X-ray diffraction of this sample did not produce a patternfor the pigment. Green pigments which cause degradation of cellulosic substrates can often bedifficult to identify as they frequently do not yield x-ray diffraction patterns, this is partlybecause they have themselves undergone alteration.ConclusionThe blue pigment is Egyptian blue, the green pigment contains copper but could not beotherwise identified.
Analysis reference number
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
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Object reference number: YCA54523
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