The warriors of the Terracotta Army were once painted with color from eggs similarly colorful as on this replica. Picture: Art and Exhibition Hall Bonn
Read aloud Colors bound with eggs used to give the figures of the Chinese terracotta army a colorful look. This has been discovered by German and Italian researchers in the investigation of clay warriors. The fact that the terracotta figurines from the third century BC were once painted with bright colors has been known for quite some time, write the scientists around Ilaria Bonaduce. So far it has not been clear with which binding agent the Chinese artists touched their colors. With the help of chemical analyzes, the scientists were now clearly able to identify eggs as binders. They want to use their findings to improve the conservation methods for the Terracotta Army. According to current knowledge, the Terracotta Army comprises more than 7, 000 figures. Originally, it served as a grave gift for the first Chinese emperor Qin Shihuangdi, who lived from 259 to 210 BC. The plant was rediscovered near the Chinese city of Xi'an only in 1974, when farmers wanted to drill a well there. In addition to the replicas of warriors found in the terracotta army and earthen animals and figures of the former court life such as civil servants, artists and grooms.

The clay figures were covered with a special lacquer-like coating, write the scientists around Bonaduce. Then the Chinese artists put on different layers of paint. Particularly thick applied color served to imitate the surface structures of bird feathers or robes, the researchers describe. How exactly the painters touched their colors, however, was previously unknown.

With the help of a gas chromatograph and a mass spectrometer, Bonaduce and her team therefore examined samples of the figures. They found in all samples traces of eggs, a common binder since ancient times. After reconstructing several figures, however, the scientists suspect that other components were included in the color that were responsible for the special structures on the clay figures. "Purely technically, we assume that not only protein, but probably also egg yolk must be included, " said the also involved in the investigation scientist Catharina Blänsdorf of the Technical University of Munich in conversation with

Ilaria Bonaduce (University of Pisa) et al .: Journal of Cultural Heritage, Vol. 9, p. 103 ddp / Markus Zen's ad


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