Image analysis-aided light microscopy of glazed ceramics: Identifying technological innovation and style

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Reedy, Chandra L.;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 57, Number S1, p.227-233 (2012)


Digital image analysis provides data useful to the study of the technology used to produce glazed ceramics. This paper reports on methods developed for image analysis of petrographic thin sections viewed under a polarizing light microscope and scanned in a high-resolution film scanner, augmented by stereo microscopic surface views, to examine similarities and differences in production technology of a variety of Chinese glazed ceramics. Image analysis permits better visual separation of components than is possible with unaided microscopy. Once individual features are better separated and enhanced, they can be studied qualitatively or quantitatively. Protocols were developed for and applied to a set of Song Dynasty (960‐1279) Chinese wares. Analyses included characterization of pores, non-plastic inclusions, and decorative layers. Findings are useful for better understanding choices in fabrication methods, and identifying and characterizing technological innovation and style.