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Microsc Microanal. 2015 Oct;21(5):1278-87. doi: 10.1017/S1431927615015147.

Identification of Organic Binders in Ancient Chinese Paintings by Immunological Techniques.

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1Department of Chemistry,Zhejiang University,Hangzhou 310027,P.R. China.
2Department of Cultural Heritage and Museology,Zhejiang University,Hangzhou 310028,P.R. China.


The identification and localization of organic binders in artworks are big challenges in archaeology and conservation science. Immunological techniques, such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and immunofluorescence microscopy (IFM) have the potential to become powerful tools for the analysis of organic materials in ancient samples. In this study, ELISA and IFM techniques were combined to identify chicken ovalbumin, glue from several mammalian species, bovine milk, and fish glue in ancient Chinese painting samples. As binders, egg ovalbumin was found in two painting samples and animal glue was found in three samples, which were dated from the 4th to 8th centuries. The results clearly demonstrate that ELISA and IFM can be used to validate results from ancient samples.


ELISA; bovine milk; egg; fish glue; immunofluorescence microscopy; mammal glue

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