This poster will discuss the preliminary results of scientific analyses performed on a set of glass tesserae from the Great Mosque of Damascus. Masterpiece of the Islamic architecture, the Mosque was committed by the Umayyad caliph al-Walīd I and built between 705 and 712 AD [1-2]. The surfaces of the building are decorated by fine and sumptuous mosaics, originally probably made by Byzantine artisans [3-4] and interested by several restoration works from Medieval to Modern times. This study case, dedicated to a preliminary characterization of 18 opaque coloured glass tesserae, roots its relevance in the captivating story of the Mosque itself. In fact, having they been collected as “open-context” material from the warehouses of the religious building, it is quite challenging to establish whether these tesserae belonged to the original mosaic decoration or not. In order to address this issue, the set of samples was studied through a multi-analytical approach. All tesserae were preliminary observed and documented by OM and VIS-RS. SEM-EDS analyses were then performed, for a micro-textural, morphological and chemical characterization of colourants and opacifiers. XRD was also provided on selected samples to allow a better discrimination of the opacifying phases. The identification of colourants and opacifiers has, firstly, allowed obtaining meaningful information on the production technology of the tesserae through the comparison with data reported in the literature. Furthermore, a pilot cross-linked matching between the detected opacifiers and the presumable compositional groups the tesserae belong to has permitted formulating an intriguing hypothesis concerning the attribution of the samples to explicit chronological and geographical contexts. Given the relevance of obtained data, the set of samples is currently undergoing new research in order to confirm the formulated hypothesis through a more in depth characterization of the tesserae.

Colourants and opacifiers of glass tesserae from the Great Mosque of Damascus

Mariangela Vandini
Supervision
;
Sara Fiorentino
Conceptualization
;
Tania Chinni
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
2016

Abstract

This poster will discuss the preliminary results of scientific analyses performed on a set of glass tesserae from the Great Mosque of Damascus. Masterpiece of the Islamic architecture, the Mosque was committed by the Umayyad caliph al-Walīd I and built between 705 and 712 AD [1-2]. The surfaces of the building are decorated by fine and sumptuous mosaics, originally probably made by Byzantine artisans [3-4] and interested by several restoration works from Medieval to Modern times. This study case, dedicated to a preliminary characterization of 18 opaque coloured glass tesserae, roots its relevance in the captivating story of the Mosque itself. In fact, having they been collected as “open-context” material from the warehouses of the religious building, it is quite challenging to establish whether these tesserae belonged to the original mosaic decoration or not. In order to address this issue, the set of samples was studied through a multi-analytical approach. All tesserae were preliminary observed and documented by OM and VIS-RS. SEM-EDS analyses were then performed, for a micro-textural, morphological and chemical characterization of colourants and opacifiers. XRD was also provided on selected samples to allow a better discrimination of the opacifying phases. The identification of colourants and opacifiers has, firstly, allowed obtaining meaningful information on the production technology of the tesserae through the comparison with data reported in the literature. Furthermore, a pilot cross-linked matching between the detected opacifiers and the presumable compositional groups the tesserae belong to has permitted formulating an intriguing hypothesis concerning the attribution of the samples to explicit chronological and geographical contexts. Given the relevance of obtained data, the set of samples is currently undergoing new research in order to confirm the formulated hypothesis through a more in depth characterization of the tesserae.
41st International Symposium on Archaeometry - Book of Abstracts
Mariangela Vandini, Sara Fiorentino, Tania Chinni, Mathilde Patin
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/718659
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