Prussian Blue/Orpiment: Ukiyo-e colorant

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Prussian blue + Orpiment: Green is achieved by mixing or overprinting a blue and a yellow colorant. The dominant formulation for green after the introduction of full-color printing in the mid-1700's is a mixture of indigo and orpiment but after the introduction of Prussian blue in the 1830's, the Prussian blue and orpiment mixture appears more frequently, possibly replacing the indigo and orpiment mixture although more analysis is needed. By altering the proportions of each, a wide variation of greens could be obtained, which appears to produce a green that tends towards turquoise in color.

For more information see: Prussian Blue, Orpiment




Examples of Prussian blue + Orpiment in Ukiyo-e Prints

21.6756-pt3-detail.png

216756-Pt3-FORS.jpg
216756-Pt3-XRF.jpg
Pt 3: printed
Katsushika Hokusai, 21.6756

11.17904-pt5-detail.png

11.17904 Pt 5 FORS 2019.jpg
11.17904-Pt5-XRF.jpg
Pt 5: printed
Keisai Eisen, 11.17904

11.36360-pt3-detail.png

1136360-Pt3-FORS.jpg
1136360-Pt3- XRF.jpg
Pt 3: printed
Utagawa Kuniyoshi, 11.36360

11.35823-pt5-detail.png

11.35823 pt 5 FORS 2016.jpg
1135823-Pt5-XRF.jpg
Pt 5: printed
Utagawa Hiroshige I, 11.35823

11.35842-pt3-detail.png

11.35842 Pt 3 FORS 2016.jpg
1135842-Pt3- XRF.jpg
Pt 3: printed
Utagawa Hiroshige I/II, 11.35842

11.142663-pt5-detail.png

1142663-Pt5-FORS.jpg
1142663-Pt5-XRF.jpg
Pt 5: printed
Utagawa Kunisada I, 11.42663

Analysis

Fiber optic reflectance spectroscopy (FORS) is used to identify Prussian blue and X-ray fluorescence analysis (XRF) is used to detect arsenic (As) and sometimes sulfur (S), which are an indication for the presence of orpiment (As2S3). For more information, please see the individual colorant pages, Prussian blue and orpiment.

List of Prints

Below is a list of prints where Prussian blue + orpiment was detected.