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Published February 1988 | metadata_only
Journal Article

The Ozone Fading of Traditional Japanese Colorants


The colorfastness of several traditional Japanese colorants upon exposure to atmospheric ozone was tested in a chamber exposure experiment. Samples, in the form of colorants applied to paper, dyes on silk cloth, and colorants on a nineteenth- century Japanese woodblock print, were exposed to an atmosphere containing 0•40 parts per million ozone at 220C and 50% RH, in the absence of light, for 12 weeks. Color differences, calculated from the measured diffuse reflectance spectra, were used to assess the rate and extent of the ozone fading. Of the colorants applied to paper, orpiment was the only inorganic pigment that showed severe color loss after ozone exposure. Several organic colorants on paper also reacted, including the widely used plant colorants ɑi (indigo) and ukon (turmeric). The woodblock print, produced using the plant-derived colorants beni (safflower), ɑi (indigo), shio (gamboge) and aigami (dayflower), showed significant ozone fading only in the blue and green areas, which contain ɑi. Several of the dyed silk cloths also exhibited some color change in this experiment, suggesting that prolonged exposure to atmospheric ozone could pose a risk to these materials as well.

Additional Information

© 1988 Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Received 4 March 1987. This research was performed under a contract with the Getty Conservation Institute. Most of the dry colorants and watercolor paints were obtained from the Harvard University Art Museums with the cooperation of Eugene Farrell and Richard Newman. The aigami sample and the illustrated poetry book were provided by Mrs Keiko Keyes, and the assistance of James Druzik of the Getty Conservation Institute in the acquisition of these materials is gratefully acknowledged. The silk cloths were dyed by Mr S. Yamazaki and were made available through Dr K. M. Kashiwagi of the Kyoritsu Women's University, Tokyo. The Munsell conversions were calculated using a computer program supplied by Mr Max Saltzman and Dr Fred Billmeyer.

Additional details

August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023