Most of Indian miniatures' pigments are known, but their use, on a very precise part of the miniature varied considerably according to the period, the school, and the studio. The reunion of infrared and ultraviolet photography permits us to identify most of the blue, green, yellow, malachite green and white pigments. We can thus be more refined about the dating or confirm a school painting’s attribution, and we can even detect copies and repainted miniatures. This kind of analysis had never been done before. It requires a large amount of specimens. The database contains 2213, from the 11th to the 20th century, and is completed by a logicial permitting to use them. The results of this photographic method have been validated with analysis done by X fluorescence spectrometry and by microscopic exams led in conjunction with Victoria & Albert Museum’s collections, on the miniatures it possesses in London. This method, that avoids taking samples, and whose data are recorded on the film, can be studied far from the original one, and opens a vast research field. Numerous colored illustrations show the miniatures under their three aspects (classical, infrared and ultraviolet photography) and allow us to judge the method’s interest.
Enrico Isacco is a world famous expert in Indian miniatures. He is the author, with Anna Libera Dallapiccola de Ragmala (Galerie Marco Polo, Paris, 1977) and, with Dallapiccola, Goswamy and Spink of Krishna the Divine Lover (Edita, Lausanne, 1982). A filmmaker, he also manages ArtAsia, an eCommerce site for Asian art copyrights.