Non-European dyed materials other than textiles have received comparatively little systematic analysis, this is particularly true for objects made with dyed porcupine quills. This paper presents a comprehensive study of a group of Athapaskan porcupine quill specimens collected in 1862 which are held within the collections of National Museums Scotland, UK. Due to sampling limitations micro-destructive testing, or non-invasive analysis using PDA-UPLC, Raman Spectroscopy and PIXE were used to characterise the dye sources and metallic mordants. RBS was used to obtain additional information on the depth-profiling of the mordants in the keratin-based quill. The sensitivity of the quill specimens to photo-degradation was evaluated using Micro Fade Testing (MFT). The results from this multi-analytical study will be used to inform future display regimes of this unique collection.
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National Museums Scotland
Arts and Humanities Research Council
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