Andon 65

April 2000

Andon 65

EDITORIAL: When showing a surimono, the owner often refers to the use of gold and silver pigments with awe and pride. John Fiorillo, together with Richard Hashimoto and Sarath Menon, has made a sophisticated analysis - using high tech equipment - to investigate the true nature of the metallic pigments that where used in nineteenth century Japanese prints. The outcome smashes to smithereens a cheríshed illusion: the gold and silver lustre is actually caused by ordinary copper or zinc containing brass alloys. The authors propose that from now on we should use the terms gold-coloured brass and silver-coloured brass. That might be correct from a scientific point of view but I can imagine that some collectors are reluctant to use those less glamorous qualifications. There are more precious metals in this issue of Andon. Brigitta Sueters has researched the techniques that were used in making tsuba and the persons behind the manufacture of those metal jewels. She elaborately explains aII the technical aspects and also emphasizes that Japanese tsuba makers were highly experienced in using alloys to obtaín various colours. I hope you will enjoy reading these highly informative articles.

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