Raman mapping study of the pigments in the dancheong of Korean traditional buildings

Jeong Eun Ji, Kiok Han, Jiyeon Nam, Seung Kim, Dai Ill Kang, Min Jung Park, Han Hyoung Lee, In Sang Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Korea experienced a tragic loss of most of the Sungnyemun building in an arson attack in 2008. Few scientific records of the pigments originally used in the Korean national treasure exist, thus, the restoration of Sungnyemun was a serious failure. Because the Raman spectroscopic method has the advantage of analyzing the pigment phases in a simple, nondestructive, and noncontact way, it is becoming more important in scientific research on the colors present in cultural assets. In this study, Raman mapping measurements of the pigments in several “dancheong” - color decorations of the surfaces of the wood structure of Korean buildings - samples from Bongjeongsa Geukrakjeon and Sunglimsa Bogwangjeon are presented. The distribution of the pigments, which is difficult to observe with the naked eye, can be found in detail through a high-resolution Raman mapping image. A change of Raman spectrum due to the powderization of some pigments in the colored layer is also observed. The powderization of the pigments is considered to be due to weathering. Our Raman study will be helpful for the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-801
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Korean Physical Society
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, The Korean Physical Society.


  • Cultural heritage
  • Dancheong
  • Pigment
  • Raman mapping
  • Raman spectroscopy


Dive into the research topics of 'Raman mapping study of the pigments in the dancheong of Korean traditional buildings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this