Brass: Ukiyo-e colorant

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Actors Matsushima Hyôtarô... by Okumura Toshinobu

Brass 真鍮(shinchu): An alloy of Copper and Zinc. Flakes or powdered metallics are often found in deluxe editions and surimono prints. Animal glue (nikawa) was commonly used to adhere the flakes to the paper's surface or as a binder when printed. The use of affordable metals such as brass and tin were likely meant to imitate the glittering effects created by the use of expensive metal leaf or flakes such as gold and silver on screen and scroll paintings.

Brass flakes are found in early prints as well as in deluxe editions. It was also used for metallic gold colored areas on a print. Printed brass is often seen in surimonos. Different tones of brass could be created by manipulating the proportion of copper and zinc.

For more information see: Brass

Examples of Brass in Ukiyo-e Prints

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Beauties of the Yoshiwara by Suzuki Harunobu

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Beauties of the Yoshiwara by Suzuki Harunobu

Dyed indigo.jpg

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Beauties of the Yoshiwara by Suzuki Harunobu

Dyed indigo.jpg

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Beauties of the Yoshiwara by Suzuki Harunobu

Dyed indigo.jpg

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Beauties of the Yoshiwara by Suzuki Harunobu

Analysis

X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF) is used to detect copper and zinc, which is an indication for the presence of brass.

Other Images of Brass

List of Prints

Below is a list of prints where brass was detected.