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Raman Microscopy of a Mediaeval Spanish Cantoral

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A Raman microscopic study of a 14th century Spanish choir book (cantoral) from Burgos has revealed information about the pigments used in the historiated initials, the ruled lines of Latin verse, the musical staves, and the script itself. The predominant red pigment is cinnabar, mercury(II) sulfide, which appears to have been possibly extracted and refined from local mineral sources. The black notes constituting the musical staves are comprised of lamp black. Sparse decoration with blue and purple pigments is also present; azurite is present in both of these, but the purple pigment also shows bands which are characteristic of an as-yet-unidentified organic-based red pigment. The parchment substrate spectrum shows evidence for amide I and amide III bands, with some evidence of degradation.
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