bengara 弁柄
KEY WORD : art history / paintings
Also written ベンガラ, 紅柄, or 紅殻. Sometimes pronounced benigara. Red earth pigment. A bright, purplish-red pigment *ganryou 顔料, whose main ingredient is iron oxide, Fe203. It occurs naturally as the mineral haematite, or can be made by heating ferrous sulphate and the color-tone varies according to the heating method used. Its mineral composition is very similar to that of *taisha 代赭. Bengara is an important coloring agent in paints; glass; black, amber, and celadon ceramic glazes; iron oxide underglaze; and yellow and red overglaze enamels. It has been found in lacquerware dating to the Joumon period, and was widely used as a red lacquer colorant in the Edo period. Bengara is resistant to sunlight, air, heat, and alkalinity. It was applied to pillars, beams, outside walls, and decorative wooden elements of vernacular dwellings *minka 民家. The name bengara is thought to have derived from a red iron oxide brought to Japan from the Indian province of Bengal in the 16c.


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