Comparison of gold leaf thickness in Namban folding screens using X-Ray Fluorescence

Sofia Pessanha, Teresa I. Madeira, Marta Manso, Mauro Guerra, Agnès Anne Françoise Le Gac Arinto, Maria Luisa Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, the thickness of the gold leaf applied in six Japanese folding screens is compared using a nondestructive approach. Four screens belonging to the Momoyama period (*1573–1603) and two screens belonging to the early Edo period (*1603–1868) were analyzed in situ using energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence, and the thickness of the applied gold leaf was evaluated using a methodology based on the attenuation of the different characteristic lines of gold in the gold leaf layer. Considering that the leaf may well not be made of pure gold, we established that, for the purpose of comparing the intensity ratios of the Au lines, layers made with gold leaf of high grade can be considered identical. The gold leaf applied in one of the screens from the Edo period was found to be thinner than the gold leaf applied in the other ones. This is consistent with the development of the beating technology to obtain ever more thin gold leafs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1058
JournalApplied Physics A: Materials Science & Processing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014




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