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Researchers discover China's terracotta army coated in egg.

Analysis of China's terracotta army, a collection of 7,000 life-sized soldier and horse figures in the mausoleum of the country's first emperor, has revealed that it was entirely covered with beaten egg when it was constructed. According to a recent report in Discovery News, the discovery was made by German and Italian chemists who analyzed samples from several of the figurines.

The egg served as a binder for colorful paints, which went over a layer of lacquer, according to the research team. "Egg paint is normally very stable, and not soluble in water. This makes it less sensitive to humidity and moisture," said co-author Catharina Blaensdorf, a scientist at the Technical University of Munich in Germany. Egg proteins would have also ensured the adhesion of the paint to the lacquer, while also giving the paint thickness and texture, added Blaensdorf's colleague Ilaria Bonaduce, of the University of Italy.

The researchers thought animal glue might have served as a binder, but all of the data pointed to egg instead. The pigments, they found, were bone white, lead white, cerussite, quartz, cinnabar, malachite, charcoal black, copper salts, Chinese purple and azurite.


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Title Annotation:Fresh Paint
Publication:Coatings World
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Jun 1, 2008
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