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The Chester Beatty Library in Dublin with the continued support of The Sumitomo Foundation in Tokyo, have now commissioned Restorient to conserve three more of their most treasured Japanese paintings. Dating from the early 17th century this set of hand scrolls chart the epic tale of "Hunting the Ogres" It will be possible to follow the conservation of these magnificent hand scrolls here on this blog. We at Restorient are delighted to have the opportunity to share this remarkable project, and to offer some insights into this type of specialist conservation.

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Saturday, 30 October 2010


The hand scrolls  measuring just over 29.0 metres, had a number of different types of paper joints within their structure. Whilst the original sheet sizes of the papers used had a bearing on where joints occurred, there are also different types of joints used between the various lining papers. A straight knife cut edge for example would provide a strong but less smooth joint, whereas a water torn paper edge would be smoother (and as a consequence roll better). So, as part of the examination of the hand scrolls we had carefully noted the position and the types of all the joins in the scrolls.

Fine bamboo spatulas (hera) which are used for dry separation of paper linings 

We then had to decide the least disruptive way of separating these. The most effective is often, where possible, to separate the sections without moisture using a very thin spatula made for this purpose out of a special type of bamboo. Traditionally the best for spatulas (hera) is soot bamboo (susu dake) which is very hard.   
Dr Michael Ryan discussing progress
We were very pleased to welcome Dr Michael Ryan, Director of the Chester Beatty Library who visited the Restorient studio last week. We talked through  progress to date and outlined our schedule for the coming months.

It was very interesting for us to hear more of the history of this extraordinary collection  formed by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. He was an American, who made his fortune mining in the Rocky Mountain district of Denver, Colorado. He was often called "The King of Copper".

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