JAIC 2005, Volume 44, Number 1, Article 4 (pp. 39 to 50)
JAIC online
Journal of the American Institute for Conservation
JAIC 2005, Volume 44, Number 1, Article 4 (pp. 39 to 50)

TECHNICAL STUDY OF ETHIOPIAN ICONS, NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN ART, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

Erica E. James



NOTES

1. The spot test used is found in Berrie 1997. When positive, the test indicates the presence of iron (III), an indicator of Prussian blue. The test enables Prussian blue to be distinguished from ultramarine (natural or synthetic), phthalocyanine blue, and indigo. A stainless steel needle was cleaned with 1:1 ethanol: water, and then the samples were taken. The sample was placed on a slide, and a drop of 4 M sodium hydroxide was added by pipet. A positive result is indicated by a change in color from blue to brown. The blue color can subsequently be restored by the addition of a drop of dilute hydrochoric acid.



REFERENCES

Berrie, B. H.1997. Prussian blue. In Artists' pigments: A handbook of their history and characteristics, vol. 3, ed. E. W.FitzHugh. Washington, D. C.: National Gallery of Art. 191–217.

Chojnacki, S.1973. Ethiopian paintings. In Religious art of Ethiopia,ed. W.Raunig. Stuttgart: Institut fur Auslandsbeziehungen. 33–62.

Heydenryk, H.1963. An inquiry into the enhancement of painting.NewYork: James H. Heineman.

James, E.1999. Changes in place, changes in context: The conservation of an Ethiopian icon. AIC postprints.American Institute for Conservation 27th Annual Meeting, St. Louis. Washington, D. C.: AIC.69–72.

Weihs, F.1973. Some technical details concerning Ethiopian icons. In Religious art of Ethiopia,ed. W.Raunig. Stuttgart: Institut fur Auslandsbeziehungen. 299–305.

Wion, A.2001. Personal communication. Musée de l'Homme, Paris, France.



FURTHER READING

Chojnacki, S.2000. Ethiopian icons: Catalogue of the collection of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University. Milan: Skira Editore S. p. A.

FitzHugh, E. W.1997. Orpiment and realgar. In Artists' pigments: A handbook of their history and characteristics, vol. 3, ed. E. W.FitzHugh. Washington, D. C.: National Gallery of Art. 47–80.

Grissom, C. A.1986. Green earth. In Artists' pigments: A handbook of their history and characteristics, vol. 1, ed. R.Feller. Washington, D. C.: National Gallery of Art. 141–67.

Hartman Samet, W.1994. The philosophy of aesthetic reintegration: Paintings and painted furniture. In Painted wood: History and conservation,ed. V.Dorge et al. Los Angeles: Getty Conservation Institute. 412–24.

Langmuir, E., et al. 1978. Ethiopia: The Christian art of an African nation. Salem, Mass.: Peabody Museum of Salem.

Muhlethaler, B., and J.Thissen. 1993. Smalt. In Artists' pigments: A handbook of their history and characteristics, vol. 2, ed. A.Roy. Washington, D. C.: National Gallery of Art. 113–30.

Piechocinski, M. N.1989. The iconography of Ethiopia: A review of the styles, themes, techniques, and influences in an historical perspective. Sacred Art Journal10(3): 95–112.

Plesters, J.1993. Ultramarine blue: Natural and artificial. In Artists' pigments: A handbook of their history and characteristics, vol. 2, ed. A.Roy. Washington, D. C.: National Gallery of Art. 37–65.

Portell, J. D.1986. African red pigments. The care and preservation of ethnological materials: Symposium 1986, ed. R.Barclay. Ottawa: Canadian Conservation Institute. 119–29.

Scholz, P. O.1992. Orbis Aethiopicus. Albstadt, Germany: Karl Schuler Publishing.

Wolde, S.1986. The preservation and conservation of art works in present-day Ethiopia. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Ethiopian Art. London: Royal Asiatic Society. 131–35.



SOURCES OF MATERIALS

Bio-Plastic

Ward's Natural Science P.O. Box 92912 Rochester, N.Y. 14692-9012 (716) 359-2502


AUTHOR INFORMATION

ERICA E. JAMES graduated from the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation in 1999. Following graduation, she completed a Getty Fellowship at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland, and a Kress Fellowship at the National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C. She is currently in private practice in painting conservation in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Address: P.O. Box 349, Lancaster, N.H. 03584


Copyright © 2005 American Institution for Conservation of Historic & Artistic Works