Investigation of inks, pigments and paper in four Moroccan illuminated manuscripts dated to the eighteenth century

Ghizlane Idrissi Serhrouchni, Marta Manso, Mohammed Talbi, Abdelhadi Lhassani, Sofia Pessanha, Maria Luisa Carvalho, Said Gmouh, Latifa Hajji

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The heritage left by the Arab world in the history of science is directly related to the innovations in both the manufacturing of paper and the production of ink. Four Moroccan manuscripts dating to the eighteenth century, conserved at the royal library of Rabat, have been analyzed by X-ray diffraction (XRD), energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (EDXRF), scanning electron microscopy coupled to energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM–EDS), Raman and attenuated total reflection Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR-ATR). The combination of the Raman, EDS, and EDXRF spectroscopies results allows us to Characterized the inorganic inks, pigments and fillers used in paper making process. Iron-based ink was used for writing the text for all manuscripts. The main pigments used in the titles and in the illuminated part are found to be vermillion and red ochre in red samples, azurite with barium white and ultramarine in blue color, lead chromate in yellow color, copper and arsenic based ink in green color, carbon black for black color and gold. The main fillers identified in paper are calcite and kaolin. FTIR-ATR and Raman analysis revealed the presence of the characteristic bands of cellulose, the main component of paper. XRD confirms the presence of the fillers detected by FTIR-ATR. Finally, SEM allows to have a better knowledge of the typical morphology of the paper highlighting some effects of the degradation process. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number850
JournalEuropean Physical Journal Plus
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


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