As a research guest at IIAS I am currently working on a proposal to compete for a VENI subsidy, planning four years of research, which will build on previous research.
The Matter of Chinese Painting, case studies in the period 1200 – 1644
The title reflects the often ambiguous nature of Chinese paint, and it also stands for two complementary parts of the research. The first part is examining the paintings by technical methods such as microscopy, HPLC, SEM-EDX, X-ray diffraction and the micro-chemical analysis of paint samples. The second part is comparing the result of this research to the evidence recorded in Chinese texts that are contemporary to the paintings [1200- 1644].
The history of painting in China covers three thousand years, a very long period that provides a broad field of research topics. Chinese painting has been studied by Art Historians and Sinologists, but little research has been done on the technical and material side of painting. I have spent the last years researching this subject, and my training covers the three fields that are required for the research: The skills as a professional painter, the scholarly knowledge of a Sinologist, and training in Microscopy and Micro chemical analysis. The three components work together in this unique research project.
Previous research focused on a set of murals of three Tang tombs all dating to 706 CE, located in the vicinity of Xian, in central Chinese province Shaanxi. The study of the murals resulted in a corpus of reference material, because the data that I have collected are not challenged in time or geographical location. The reference material forms the basis of further research, and will be expanded by the result of the new research.