The colour and golden shine of early silver Islamic lustre
Document typePart of book or chapter of book
Rights accessOpen Access
A selection of lustres including 9th century AD polychrome and 10th century AD monochrome Abbasid lustres from Iraq, and 10th to 12th centuries AD Fatimid lustres from Egypt and Syria is studied in the present paper. The selection is based on previous studies that demonstrated that all of them contain metal silver nanoparticles and copper, which, when present, appears either as Cuþ or Cu2þ dissolved in the glaze. They show different colours, green, yellow, amber, and brown, and may also show or lack a golden-like reflectivity, which results mainly from average size and concentration in the layer of the silver nanoparticles. In this paper, a depth profile composition of the lustre layers is determined using Rutheford Backscattering Spectroscopy, allowing the determination of the total silver content, concentration of silver, copper to silver ratio, and thickness of the lustre layers. We show that the enhanced golden-like reflectivity occurs only for layers with a high concentration of silver, and that the addition of PbO to the alkaline glaze helps the formation of more concentrated layers. The results obtained provide new hints concerning the lead enrichment of the glazes during this period.
CitationGutierrez Neira, C. [et al.]. The colour and golden shine of early silver Islamic lustre. A: "Craft and science: International perspectives on archaeological ceramics". 2014.