Niello

DEFINITION

A soft, black alloy of sulfur with copper (copper sulphide), gold (gold sulphide), silver (silver sulphide), or lead (lead sulphide), used to ornament metal objects. Designs incised on the objects are filled with the alloy (usually as a powder mixed with flux), which is then fused with the metal by application of heat. Also, to decorate using this process, or the objects decorated with it. Chiefly a late medieval and early Renaissance process.(pr. nee-EL-oh)Example: Germany, Lower Saxony, c. 1160/70, Communion Chalice, ("Wilten Chalice"), silver partially gilt, with niello, height 16.7 cm, Kunsthistoriches Museum, Venice. See chalice and Romanesque.Michel Witz the Younger (Austrian), Three-quarter armor for a nobleman, made in Innsbruck c.1550, Steierm?rkisches Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria. Michel Witz applied a niello decoration all over this armor to achieve a Baroque black and white design with grotesque masks on shoulders, elbows and knees, along with foliate motifs everywhere else. In addition, the armor has been embossed in part, a process whereby the metal was hammered and raised from within, producing a relief on the outside.Also see electroplate and inlay.night-blind and night blindness

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