Sunday November 30, 2003

Terra-cotta warriors show their true colors

The terra-cotta warriors buried near the tomb of the first Chinese emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, present a fierce challenge—to modern-day chemists. Since the site's discovery near Xi'an, China, in 1974, archaeologists have unearthed more than 1,500 of the life-size figures. But once the warriors see the light of day after more than 2,200 years of burial, their paint disappears, sometimes within minutes of exposure.

With an estimated 8,000 more figures still buried, scientists have been looking for ways to lock the paint in place. Now, a group of chemists in Germany has a technique that just might work.

Although the terra-cotta warriors excavated so far have lost their original color coats, a novel restoration technique could preserve the paint layer on the thousands of warriors that remain in the ground.

[c.f. The March of History: Terra-cotta warriors show their true colors, Alexandra Goho, Science News Online, Week of Nov. 29, 2003


What's even more interesting (to me :-) is that this article's abstract arrived in my mailbox yesterday, the day after we watched the latest Lara Croft movie Tomb Raider II: The Cradle of Life. (Yes, I enjoyed the movie very much). The terra-cotta warriors are featured in a "bit part" in the movie. Synchronicity strikes again.

Terra-cotta warriors show their true colors ( in category SciTech ) - posted at Sun, 30 Nov, 13:08 Pacific | «e»