In the framework of a collaboration between the Opificio delle Pietre Dure and the Stibbert Museum (both Florence, Italy), a Japanese armour from the Edo period (XVII-XIX cent.), called manchira, was subjected to a multi-analytical diagnostic campaign. Due to the multi-layered structure of the object, constituted by silk, linen or hemp, wool, leather, and metallic parts, the diagnostic campaign entailed both non-invasive and micro-destructive techniques, such as multi-spectral photography, FORS, FT-IR, XRF and HPLC-DAD analysis, prior and in parallel to restoration practice. The main goals of the study were assessing the state of conservation in order to plan a thorough cleaning and consolidation strategy; characterizing the assembly and the materials employed; dating the object and clarifying the context of its production (e.g. the social status of the owner, the quality of the constituting materials, etc.). Reference ex-novo of dyed textiles were prepared accordingly to traditional Japanese recipes, by using materials purchased in Japan. The results were interpreted with the help of Japanese costume and textile historians and allowed us to clarify the nature of the constituting materials and to characterize the object under study. In this paper, the main results obtained by micro-destructive techniques are presented. In particular, the analysis by HPLC-DAD led to the identification of a black shade obtained by superimposing an indigoid dye to an iron-mordanted flavonoid dye (Sophora japonica) for the dark damask and of murasaki dye for the kikkō. The influence of the dyeing technique, entailing the application of an iron mordant, was fundamental in assessing the state of conservation of the object.
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