Scientific Analysis on the Myanmar Glazed Ceramics

Yuni Sato1, Tomomi Tamura1, Saw Tun Lin2

1Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Japan

2SOAS University of London, United Kingdom

As part of the “Ancient East-West Cultural Corridor – Historical Dynamics of Communication Network in Mainland Southeast Asia” project led by Prof. Shibayama Mamoru, the authors conducted X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and lead isotope ratio analyses on Myanmar glazed ceramics from several kiln and consumption sites in Myanmar and Japan dating to the 15th and 17th centuries CE.  The XRF results show that the white opaque glaze was produced using lead, and all tested samples from Myanmar and Japan were similar to each other. The isotopic signatures suggest the lead ore used to produce the glazes was extracted from a site in western Thailand which had been identified in previous studies, or potentially from a newly sampled lead mine identified in Myanmar.