PEM E79076, embroidered silk shawl, China (19th century)

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Artifact Information

Orange-red Chinese embroidered silk shawl. Early to mid-19th century.

The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA USA. E79076.

Image of the embroidered Chinese silk shawl. photo by Chika Mouri

Summary of results

HPLC profile of a low temperature (~50 °C) extract of fibers from a red 19th century Chinese silk shawl showed that both carthamin (red) and berberine (yellow) dyes were detected. Carthamin was most likely come from safflower and berberine from a plant that contains alkaloids, for example amur cork tree or Chinese cork tree [2]

HPLC profile

Absorbance at 450nm (mAU) Modified HPLC profile with author's permission [2]


[1] Worth, S.(1986) "Embroidered China crepe shawls: 1816-1863; Dress 12:43-54.

[2] Richard A. Laursen and Chika Mouri "Decomposition and analysis of cathamin in safflower-dyed textiles", e-Preservation Science 2013, 10, 35-37.