China's terracotta army, a collection of 7000 soldier and horse figures in the mausoleum of the country's first emperor, was covered with beaten egg when it was made, scientists say.
According to German and Italian chemists who have analysed samples from several figurines, the egg was as a binder for colourful paints, which went over a layer of lacquer.
"Egg paint is normally very stable, and not soluble in water ... This makes it less sensitive to humidity and moisture," says German co-author Catharina Blaensdorf, a scientist at the Technical University of Munich.
Very neat. I wonder if that counts as tempera. It'll be neat if someone ever does some reconstructions of what the statues would have looked like painted.