Did you see the PBS special on China’s Terracotta Warriors which aired last week? The warriors are a bunch of life sized terracotta sculptures found in the tomb of China’s first emperor Qin Shi Huangdi. He was famous for joining all the warring territories into one consolidated China. I saw the exhibit at the High Museum a few years ago, and was properly astounded at the workmanship, and physical size of the warriors, horses, and other entities which were housed in the tomb. (Do you like my post pic? It’s my cheaply purchased homage to the warriors, but I do feel he has some mystical powers of protection for my home.)
The PBS special explored how the sculptures were manufactured, where the clay was found, etc. A little blurb at the end talked about the man-made color “Chinese purple” which they found was composed of barium and lead. When flakes of the color were exposed to a super magnet in a super cooled environment, the color changed properties. Being a lay person, this quantum physics dimensional lesson was totally lost on me. Apparently this is a new scientific finding that may have application in the future for superconductors, and transportation such as high speed trains.
I googled the term Chinese purple and found this link which breaks the finding down into a little simpler explanation. Happy reading!