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Interesting article on ivory and dating ivory...

Discussions and analysis of Elephant Ivory
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DSW90049
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Postby DSW90049 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:25 pm

What is fascinating is that they are tracking the amount of Carbon-14 which formed in the atmosphere as a result of all the nuclear testing in the 1950's and 1960's. Who knew?!?

"Levels peaked in the 1960s and have been declining ever since. The test devised by scientists should be effective for about another 15 years, by which point the atmospheric levels of carbon-14 will return to pre-nuclear-test norms."

So, from now until about 2028, or thereabouts, they will be able, finally, to effectively date the age of the ivory in antique netsuke - therefore, they can establish which ivory is, in fact, from elephants who died over 100 years ago, hence, should be allowed to trade and travel internationally under the antique exemption. Once this test is done - and, by 2028, they surely will have: 1) devised better, easier, cheaper tests, and 2) hopefully instituted some rational, regular registry system - the piece and it's test results should be established as "antique," and certifiably so for evermore. Thus, no more guesswork, no more harassment for the sake of harassment - I welcome this promising new reality so that the regulators can tell the good guys (we who collect antique netsuke) from the bad guys (people who are slaughtering modern elephants into extinction) and this is a good thing imho.:)
"There is no shortcut to netsuke collecting; it takes time, study and patience. The market is flooded with utterly worthless rubbish. . . . "
Netsukes: Their Makers, Use and Meaning, H. Seymour Trower(1898)~~~~David

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peter
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Postby peter » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:32 pm

Also I have not information about , this is only for the living animals and humans give this redioactivity or maybe few museum piece not so far from the experimental teritory.
What is the margin of error for this test??
Peter

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DSW90049
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Postby DSW90049 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:46 pm

Peter, there are many questions, all good, and not yet all the answers, as this is apparently a very new test. Yes, if an elephant lives 80 years, then how precisely can they pinpoint the age? Are they factoring in the lifespan?

& Yes, if a modern netsuke-shi obtained old enough ivory (these are all new concepts, if this test can do what they say it can do), then, even if the netsuke was carved in 1960, would it test the age of the elephant which could be another 100 years, based on the ivory being harvested in 1860? Or 1760? Given that ivory was one seriously precious material once upon a time (not that it is not now, by any means) it is entirely plausible that people would keep scraps and pieces of ivory, perhaps trade them and store them, and then, who knows which piece (and how old) the carver might have plucked from the basket of scraps would actually be?

It will be most interesting to see what they do with this valuable new tool.
"There is no shortcut to netsuke collecting; it takes time, study and patience. The market is flooded with utterly worthless rubbish. . . . "
Netsukes: Their Makers, Use and Meaning, H. Seymour Trower(1898)~~~~David

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peter
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Postby peter » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:06 pm

Yes David this new method helpful for the old ivory collectors.
Maybe the scientist could develop the process.
Looking again the photo a huge quantity tusk after killing elephants and the plan to destroy by the government for me this is one of the more stupid and helpless system to save elephants.
peter

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DSW90049
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Postby DSW90049 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:16 pm

I don't really understand why they insist on destroying the pile of tusks for which modern elephants so obviously gave their lives.  Apparently, they have had some disastrous experiments with trying to isolate contraband ivory and allow some to use it thereafter, due to mismanagement of the programs.  If they could genetically tag, or isolate something unique in each piece of ivory - maybe a DNA test? - in a well-managed program in an otherwise rational world, they could allow artists to use the uniquely marked  contraband seized ivory, at a selling price which would include funds for hunting down the poachers, and thus serve two needs at once.
"There is no shortcut to netsuke collecting; it takes time, study and patience. The market is flooded with utterly worthless rubbish. . . . "
Netsukes: Their Makers, Use and Meaning, H. Seymour Trower(1898)~~~~David

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Vlad
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Postby Vlad » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:41 pm

Lets not fool ourselves about its use for netsuke dating, though. First of all, the carbon-14 test was known and used for decades. It's accuracy of about 100 years give or take is no that precise for our needs. But even more importantly, it requires about 5g of the dry substance to be burned, and that substance needs to come from an internal, not contaminated part of the piece. This would destroy any netsuke anyway.;)
"Man sieht nur, was man weiß" - "One sees only what one knows". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

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DSW90049
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Postby DSW90049 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:30 pm

Vlad, the Chemistry Lab is clearly your bailiwick, and not mine; however, my reading of this article indicates that this may be a new, more precise way of using Carbon-14, which, indeed has been around a comparatively long time. I read a lot in paleoanthropology, when I'm not engaged in my day job and not playing with netsuke, and there, they have developed test after test, continuing to refine the techniques, to go far beyond the imprecision of Carbon-14, using all kinds of other dating methods. I get, and correct me if I read this wrong, a sense that this new application of an old test has been tweaked, perhaps because ivory is an organic material, to sense whatever was introduced into our atmosphere (and it's subsequent deterioration, as a measurement) as a result of all the nuclear testing in the 1950's and 60's, to make a more precise determination than was possible. That's why it will only be good for 15 more years as the article says.

But, your caution not to get too excited about this is always a caution well taken.
We can dream, can't we?!? ~sayeth the lawyer to the scientist;)~
"There is no shortcut to netsuke collecting; it takes time, study and patience. The market is flooded with utterly worthless rubbish. . . . "
Netsukes: Their Makers, Use and Meaning, H. Seymour Trower(1898)~~~~David

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Vlad
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Postby Vlad » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:46 pm

David, carbon tests are based on counting the number of radiologic carbon ions in a certain amount of material. Therefore they are mostly, if not solely applicable to biologic objects, to start with.

What may and should be adjusted with time and in correlation with the constantly changing environment, is the interpretation of the results. The content of radio carbon (C14) is dependent not only on its initial content and its half-life, but also on its initial accumulation by the living organism (when still alive) and on certain environmental (radiologic) changes during to whole course of its later existence. These environmental changes and influences may be accounted and adjusted for, if enough specimen of known or scientifically predicted age and from a particular geographic area is collected and analyzed over time to serve as a gold standard, which I assume is done by the scientific labs. Therefore, I wouldn't be that much concerned about the upcoming environmental changes per se, but more about accurate collection of the specimens with known age and documentation of the ongoing tests to help calibrating the test in the future.

The needed amount and quality of the sample and the relative accuracy of the test remain the major concerns and hurtles for the miniature objects like netsuke.:roll:
"Man sieht nur, was man weiß" - "One sees only what one knows". Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)

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AFNetsuke
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Postby AFNetsuke » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:22 pm

As most people know, many scientific testing procedures have progressively required less and less of the tested material to be valid (think finger samples for diabetics' blood sugar tests). But these developments usually occur over decades so by the time a small scraping could be taken from inside the himotoshi that could be accurately analyzed the window of 15 yrs. will likely have expired. Unfortunately, this type of test will not evolve as quickly as computers have...advancements tend to follow the money.
Alan

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Bakurae
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Re: Interesting article on ivory and dating ivory...

Postby Bakurae » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:45 pm

A whole series of articles by experts on ivory--analysis, conservation, historical and cultural importance around the world, contemporary legal and moral issues--has recently appeared in the January issue of Curator: The Museum Journal. The table of contents will give an idea:

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 1/issuetoc

I don't have a copy myself, but may see if it's possible to buy the one issue. It looks to be exceptionally important!

Alison


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