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Native American bowl
MFA# 1989.238


A natural, yellowish brown variety of ocher named for the south Italian city of Siena that produced fine grades of the pigment. Raw sienna contains at least 50% hydrated ferric oxide (Goethite) mixed with Alumina, Clay, and some Manganese dioxide. It produces a permanent, transparent paint that is often used as a glaze. Burnt sienna's warm reddish color is obtained by burning the raw material.

Synonyms and Related Terms

raw sienna; burnt sienna; terre de Sienne (Fr.); terra di Siena (It.); siena (Port.)

Resources and Citations

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 557
  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Michael McCann, Artist Beware, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York City, 1979
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996