Structural Study of the Pastiglia and Gilding Decoration at the Vank Cathedral and Bethlehem Church in Isfahan - Journal of Research on Archaeometry
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year 6, Issue 2 (2020)                   JRA 2020, 6(2): 25-39 | Back to browse issues page

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Tinati T, Hamzavi Y, Holakooei P, Colombini M P. Structural Study of the Pastiglia and Gilding Decoration at the Vank Cathedral and Bethlehem Church in Isfahan. JRA. 2020; 6 (2) :25-39
1- Tabriz Islamic Art University
2- Tabriz Islamic Art University ,
3- Isfahan Art University
4- University of Pisa
Abstract:   (1988 Views)

The pastiglia technique has been widely used as the preparation layer for gilding decoration in Iran during the Safavid period. Generally, the purpose of pastiglia is to create a prominent surface for the gilding array. The main research issue is the lack of technical and structural knowledge of the layered arrays of the two churches under study. Lack of sufficient research and resources on the technical and structural knowledge of Pastiglia and gilding decorations in the Armenian churches of Julfa, and also the existence of technical ambiguities and lack of clarity on the origin of art of Isfahan Armenians, such as architectural decorations and especially Pastiglia art, are the necessities of doing this research. The present study provides a technological overview towards the pastiglia employed in the gilding decoration at the Bethlehem Church and Vank Cathedral, as two important Armenian monuments from the Safavid era at New Julfa in Isfahan, using pyrolysis–gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (Py-GC-MS), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS), X-ray diffractometry (XRD) and scanning electron microscope coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry (SEM-EDX). GC/MS and Py-GC-MS used for the characterization of organic materials of samples and XRD and SEM-EDX used for the characterization of inorganic materials of samples. The analytical data show that animal glue was used as a binding medium of pastiglia while linseed oil was probably employed as the mordant agent in the gilding decorations; Furthermore, linseed oil was used as a varnish layer on the gilding decorations of Vank cathedral. Also, the inorganic part of the pastiglia substrate showed to have been composed of gypsum and an iron-rich clay. These results are discussed in the larger context of the pastiglia technique in other contemporary historical monuments in Isfahan. It can be said that this present research is looking for structural and technical differences and affinities of these decorations in Isfahan Armenian and Islamic buildings at Safavid era.
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Technical Note: Original Research | Subject: Archaeometry
Received: 2020/01/29 | Accepted: 2020/06/28 | Published: 2020/12/24 | ePublished: 2020/12/24

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