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Chinese Scientists Explore New Dating Technique for Ceramics

May 12, 2017     Email"> PrintText Size

An 18th-century teapot. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Determining the age of ceramic specimens has been a pivotal issue for archaeologists and researchers at museums, as well as antiquities brokers. Not only does it require extensive knowledge of relevant fields but also, it needs the help of scientific methods, such as the commonly used radiocarbon dating and rehydroxylation (RHX) dating.

The Institute of High Energy Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences recently signed a cooperation agreement with Hong Kong's Royal Heritage Ceramics Authentication Ltd. The company will provide financial support so that the institute could further the dating research on its collection of some 10,000 ceramic samples and improve the RHX dating method. And the research progress will be shared with the company for providing charged authentication services.

The RHX dating method is developed based on the fact that a ceramic specimen gains weight during the RHX process.

Feng Songlin, a researcher of the institute, says there hasn't been an omnipotent method for dating, and the RHX dating method is still under development because comparisons should be made among enough samples from different time periods and kilns in different areas.

Li Ganglong, chairman of Royal Heritage Cultural Industry Group that owns the authentication company, says they have been researching on the RHX dating for a decade. He says the method can roughly determines the age of a ceramic sample and to know its kiln of birth and artistic features, it still relies on the appraisal of ceramic experts.

At the signing ceremony, several ceramics that had been authenticated by Royal Heritage were on show. They will be auctioned in Hong Kong at the end of this month. (China Daily)

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(Editor: CHEN Na)

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