Two metal plaques and a cock statuette belonging to a private collection and stylistically consistent with the Royal Art of Benin (Nigeria) were investigated in order to verify their authenticity. The characterization of alloys and patinas were carried out by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersion spectroscopy, and X-Ray diffraction spectrometry. Furthermore, thermal ionization mass spectrometry was used to assess the abundances of lead isotopes and to attempt a dating by the measurement of 210Pb/204Pb ratio. The results showed that all three artefacts were mainly composed of low lead-brass alloys, with relatively high concentrations of zinc, antimony, cadmium and aluminum in the solid copper solution. Microstructures were mostly dendritic, typical of as-cast brasses, and characterized by recrystallized non-homogeneous twinned grains in areas corresponding to surface decorations, probably due to multiple hammering steps followed by partial annealing treatments. The matrix was composed of a cored α-Cu solid solution together with non-metallic inclusions, lead globules and Sn-rich precipitates in interdendritic spaces. On the surface of all metalworks, both copper and zinc oxides, a non-continuous layer of sulphur-containing contaminants and chloride-containing compounds, were identified. The lead isotope results were consistent with brasses produced shortly before or after 1900 CE. Overall, the data obtained by different techniques supported the hypothesis that the three artefacts were not authentic.
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|Titolo:||Authenticity of Benin metalworks evaluated by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and lead isotope analyses|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2017|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||03.1 Articolo su rivista|