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Subject: Pigments used on tree fern figure

Pigments used on tree fern figure

From: Barbara Appelbaum <aandh>
Date: Friday, July 24, 1998
Regarding possible pigments on a tree-fern figure: Some detailed
analyses of materials on North American Indian objects done, I
believe, at the Canadian Conservation Institute in the early 80's,
found European materials being used earlier than most people had
expected. If the materials do not appear similar to the traditional
natural earth pigments that you would expect, I suggest that you
have them analyzed with the idea in mind that they could be any
Western manufactured pigments.

It seems a "rule" of human behavior that few people will reject
brighter colored materials for use, and even colored materials that
were not pigments (like laundry bluing) have been appropriate for
use to replace relatively dull natural colors. I don't know what the
odds are of this kind of behavior among the people who made this
object, but in any post-contact situation there is always the
possibility that trade materials were used.

There are laboratories that can do this type of analysis easily.  If
you would like referrals, put another note online. It is easy to
send samples out; labs can send you mailers with whatever is needed
to send samples to them.

B. Appelbaum

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Received on Friday, 24 July, 1998

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