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UV induced photography

When paintings (or sculpture’s surface) are illuminated with UV light, some materials on its surface are excited, when they return to the fundamental state, the process of fluorescence occurs.

Allows you to obtain information about discontinutities on the surface.

repaints, cleaning, damage, varnish layers,identify some pigments and binders


Photography / Technical Photography

Left: Normal Visible Light, Right: UV Light


Infrared Photography(IR) / Infrared Reflectography(IRR) 

  • Wavelength in the range of IR (900-1100 nm for IR, 1100-1700 nm for IRR).

  • To reveal underdrawing / overpainting/ fading.

Normal Visible Light


Normal Visible Light


Normal Visible Light


Raking Light photography (RAK)

The area is illuminated tangentially by a light source – angle between the beam and the surface varies between 5 and 20°.

Highlights the superficial of the photograph area ; reliefs, surface changes, pictorial artists; handwriting 


Left: Normal Visible Light, Right: RAK


Transmitted light

The technique of photographing a translucent subject with light that passes through it, rather than photographing the subject from light that is reflected or emitted, as we normally see a subject.

Left: Normal Visible Light, Right: Transmitted Light

UV induced photography

Digital Light Microscope (220X) connected with software with three different Light sources: VIS, UV, IR.

• Allow you to obtain information of the object surface without sampling.

   - surface morphology

   - stratigraphy




Late Heian period buddha with the eyes making technique “Gyokugan”

Normal Visible Light

UV Light


Study the surface of the standing buddha


Surface / Layers of Lacquer, gold leaf or paints


The accessory of the Japanese Buddha (Heian period)


East Asian Ancient Textile from the 1st century

X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) Spectrometer, Elio Fourier and Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectrometer, Alpha II

X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer, Portable XRF Elio Bruker

  • elemental composition of the metallic sculpture.

  • inorganic pigments identification.

Metal composition analysis


Metal composition analysis


Pigment identification

Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy, Bruker Alpha II

Two Modes available;

• ATR (need small amount of sample)

• Reflectance (Touchless)


To analyze;

organic and some inorganic matters,binder, varnish, wax, glues, gums, 

textile, dyes, ivory, animal bone etc.


Japanese Buddha - glue Analysis

FT-IR spectra of the glue sample corresponded to the animal glue (the fish glue/ rabbit skin glue/bone glue spectra)

Wooden Buddha Analysis

Ivory Buddha Analysis

  • Play an important role in revealing an artist’s techniques, pigments, and underpaintings. 

  • X-ray film primarily records the structural elements of a painting, including the dispersion of lead white, the principal white pigment used for centuries by painters. 

  • Able to easily spot repaired tears on the canvas, holes in the panel support, losses in the ground layers, and cut down edges and transfers. 

  • Can reveal a painting hidden underneath the visible painting. Sometimes, an artist reused canvasses or supports, and forgers sometimes employ a period panel or canvas as part of their trickery.


Radiation Intra-Inspection - X-Radiography (X-RAY)

X-Radiography (X-RAY), Bronze Buddha

X-Radiography (X-RAY), Wooden monk

  • To “see inside” artworks 

  • To learn about the artwork in a non-invasive manner. 

  • Able to produce an interior detailed image, very useful for a 3D reconstruction of the object. 

  • More and more used for the conservation and restoration in the cultural heritage field because this kind of analysis can help to understand the construction techniques and the history of the object under examination. 

  • CT is not the proper technique to detect paint layers in a painting. It is more useful for the localization of other bigger structures over or under the painting’s surface.


Computerized Tomography (CT Scan)                

The Japanese Buddha

Materials : Wood covered with a thin layer of gold foil adhered with lacquer.


Method of analysis;

CT-Scan Analysis (conducted date : 3rd July, 2019)

Visual inspection/Digital Microscope (Date 31st July, 2019)

2D CT-Scan images presented special structure of the eyes 

The CT-Scan 3D images compared with the visible photographs; 


These photos showed that many pieces of metal and possible restoration materials were used to fix and join different pieces of wood. 

3D CT-Scan images presented overall of the entire body, front, back, and side view (outside).

2D CT-Scan images presented defectiveness (black holes) that was probably bite by worm or termite. 

Thermoluminescence (TL), Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Radiocarbon (AMS-C14)   



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