Multi-analytical approach (SEM-EDS, FTIR, Py-GC/MS) to characterize the lacquer objects from Xiongnu burial complex (Noin-Ula, Mongolia)

Elena Karpova, Andrey Nefedov, Victor Mamatyuk, Natalia Polosmak, Lyudmila Kundo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


A multi-analytical investigation was carried out to study lacquer objects from Noin-Ula burial complex (Mongolia, the first century AD). This complex is a unique source of information about Xiongnu - one of the most ancient nomadic empires, due to the variety of findings of different origin. This study was undertaken to characterize the materials used for manufacturing and decoration of lacquer everyday life objects and works of art from the 22nd and 31st Noin-Ula barrows. Scanning electron microscopy coupled with X-ray microanalysis (SEM-EDS), FT-IR spectroscopy and pyrolysis coupled with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GS/MS) and derivatisation in situ with tetramethylammonium hydroxide were used to study both organic and inorganic components of ancient lacquer wares. The components of the drying oil and urushiol were identified in the lacquer coating compositions. Diterpenoid resin and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (charcoal components) were found in some samples. Inorganic pigments of the lacquer wares were umber, iron oxides, cinnabar, orpiment and charcoal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-344
Number of pages9
JournalMicrochemical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Colophony
  • Drying oil
  • Noin-Ula
  • Oriental lacquer
  • Urushiol

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