Iron Oxide Red: Ukiyo-e colorant

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Iron oxide red 弁柄 (bengara): A colorant derived from hematite, a metallic black-gray or dark red mineral primarily composed of iron oxide, also commonly known as red ochre.

Iron oxide red has been the most commonly found brown whether used alone or in mixtures. When printed, it appears dense and opaque. Iron oxide red has been found on early hand-colored to full color prints throughout the Edo period (1603–1868). The color can range from a bright light red to a deep almost maroon brown.

For more information see: Hematite, Ferric oxide, Red ochre

Examples of Iron oxide red in Ukiyo-e Prints

11.13344-pt4-detail.png

11.13297 XRF pt4 Mar 14 2014.jpg
Pt 4: hand applied
Okumura Masanobu, 11.13344

11.19316-pt6-detail.png

1119316-Pt6-XRF.jpg
Pt 6: printed
Ippitsusai Bunchō, 11.19316

34.269a-b-pt10-detail.png

34269b-Pt10-XRF.jpg
Pt 10: printed
Kitagawa Utamaro I, 34.269a-b

21.6756-pt2-detail.png

216756-Pt1&2-XRF.jpg
Pt 2: printed
Katsushika Hokusai, 21.6756

11.36360-pt7-detail.png

1136360-Pt7-XRF.jpg
Pt 7: printed
Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 11.36360

11.35823-pt3-detail.png

1135823-Pt3- XRF.jpg
Pt 3: printed
Utagawa Hiroshige I, 11.35823

Analysis

X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF) is used to detect iron. When it is found in a red/brown area, it is an indication for the presence of iron oxide red (Fe2O3).

Images of Iron oxide red

List of Prints

Below is a list of prints where iron oxide red was detected.