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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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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Deer !

We have blogged previously about separating joints in the scrolls using special spatulas made of bamboo (hera). Sometimes the joints can be too firmly attached and therefore it is necessary to soften the  starch adhesive first using water.

For this we would use  a  traditional Japanese water brush called a mizubake. The handle is made of split Japanese cypress which traps the tightly packed  hair. This is secured at the edges with cherry bark and sewn  into the handle with oiled silk cord . The hair is from the summer coat of deer.

The profile of the brush hair is fan-shaped and can hold  a considerable quantity of water. The flow of water  is controlled by the angle of use with more water being released when the brush is used vertically. The flow of water can effectively be 'switched off' by lowering the brush so that it lies horizontally. The use of a  mizubake allows a great deal of precision over the application of moisture.

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