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Berberine and Huangbo: Ancient Colorants and Dyes (British Library Studies in Conservation Science, Vol 2)

ISBN: 9780712306492
Publisher: The British Library
Publication Date: 1998-11-19
Number of pages: 88
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Research into appropriate methods of conservation of the Dunhuang Diamond Sutra and other similarly dyed documents has recently highlighted the importance of the chemistry of the alkaloid berberine to the conservator. The Dunhuang Diamond Sutra, along with some 40 000 other documents around the world, is dyed yellow with an extract believed to originate form the Amur cork tree, of which berberine is the principal colorant. Berberine is also present in many other plant extracts traditionally used as dyes and pigments for papers and fabrics. An understanding of its chemistry is vital for all conservators working in this field. The authors bring together the results of current research into berberine and also the huangbo dye and list the spectroscopic and chromatographic methods available to detect its presence. In addition, an introductory explanation of the methods available to detect berberine has been provided, to enable readers without a background in chemistry to appreciate how each technique works.

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