Art Conservators and Scientists Collaborate, Learn Advanced
Techniques to Analyze Lacquers and Other Compounds
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) today announced it is supplying
state-of-the-art instruments and software for a workshop on Recent
Advances in Characterizing Asian Lacquer at Yale University. The
workshop started on Monday at Yale's Center for Conservation and
An international group of art conservators and scientists are learning
advanced techniques in gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to help
them analyze lacquer and a broad range of other trace-level compounds
found in Asian lacquer artifacts.
Careful analysis of lacquer can reveal a wealth of information about the
age and geographical origins of the components, and also address the
authenticity of the artifact. Modern coatings that aim to imitate
lacquer are composed of various mixtures of polymers and pigments and
can also be characterized using GC/MS techniques.
"We were very excited when our Getty Conservation Institute colleagues
approached us last year about the opportunity to co-host a workshop that
focuses on the latest advances in the characterization of Asian
lacquers," said Anikó Bezur, director of scientific research at the Yale
center. "The creation of such professional advancement opportunities for
conservators and conservation scientists is a core mission of ours, and
we are grateful for Agilent's support that made the workshop possible
and for the enthusiasm its team has expressed for our research and
The five-day workshop, based on the Getty
Conservation Institute's research on Asian lacquers, was developed
in partnership with the Yale
Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage. Frontier
Laboratories' pyrolysis technology used in this workshop is provided by Quantum
"We are grateful to have Agilent partner with Yale West Campus in this
exciting event," said Christopher Incarvito, Ph.D., the campus' director
of research operations and technology. "It is pivotal to have such
enthusiastic support for our art conservation efforts, as this field is
dependent on access to leading-edge scientific instrumentation."
"As a longtime partner to Yale and its affiliates, we are honored to
support this important program," said Jim Lynch, Agilent's director of
academic programs for the Americas. "We are certain that the combined
experience and expertise of these specialized professionals, coupled
with the most advanced analytical technology available today, will yield
great insight into the conservation of art and help identify priorities
for future research in the field."
Techniques such as THM-Py-GC/MS (pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass
spectroscopy using thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation) are
commonly used in museum laboratories to analyze the chemical composition
of paints, coatings, polymeric materials, and other environmental
samples collected from works of art and artifacts. Asian lacquer is
primarily composed of sap from the trees of the Anacardiaceae family and
is distinct from other wood finishes such as European japanning.
GC/MSD systems are widely used in a variety of industries and
provide advanced analytical capabilities to specialized fields such as
art conservation and preservation. Agilent also offers a selection of
handheld mobile FTIR and UV-VIS spectroscopy instruments for use in
artifact analysis at museums and in the field.
For more information on Agilent's artifact analysis products, visit the
Conservation Analysis website.
About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is the world's premier measurement
company and a technology leader in chemical analysis, life sciences,
diagnostics, electronics and communications. The company's 20,500
employees serve customers in more than 100 countries. Agilent had
revenues of $6.9 billion in fiscal 2012. Information about Agilent is
available at www.agilent.com.
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Susan Berg, +1 408-553-7093