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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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Monday, 29 November 2010


Sinterklaas arrives by boat in Leiden

Whilst the work on the handscrolls continues it is against the colorful backdrop of the Festival of Sinterklaas which is celebrated throughout Belgium and Holland.

Although originally from Turkey and dating from 280-342 AD, St Nicholas is the patron saint of sailors and children. The modern tradition of Sinterklaas as a children's feast dates from a childrens storybook written in 1850 by the teacher Jan Schenkman. He introduced the images of Sinterklaas delivering presents down the chimney, riding over the roofs of houses on a gray horse, and arriving from Spain by steamboat, then an exciting modern invention.

Sinterklaas is assisted by many mischievous helpers with black faces and colourful Moorish dresses. These helpers are called 'Zwarte Pieten' (Black Petes). During the Middle-ages Zwarte Piet was a name for the devil.. Today however, the more politically correct explanation that Pete's face is "black from soot" (as Pete has to climb down chimneys to deliver his gifts) is used. In medieval times, the feast was both an occasion to help the poor, by putting money in their shoes (which evolved into putting presents in children's shoes). Whilst good children are rewarded with presents, naughty children are threatened with being kidnapped and carried back to Spain.

Two especially dubious 'Black Piet's'


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