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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, 6 April 2011

Paper thin....

As we mentioned previously the papers made from the gampi fibre have a wonderful lustre and a smooth shiny surface. The papers are quite rightly highly respected by artists and calligraphers, however the scroll mounting studios are extremely cautious of it. Unlike those made from mulberry, papers made from gampi fibre are very prone to shrinkage and distortion. Worse still they have a tendency to delaminate during conservation; this seems to relate to the long fibre length and the method of manufacture.

viewed against transmitted light the areas of thinning are all too clear
As the linings were being removed from the reverse of the hand scrolls they being continually checked on the light table. This was to give advanced warning of any areas of skinning to the paper which might have happened during previous conservation. We started to see signs of exactly this problem once the thick, coated maniai-shi lining had been removed.

Unusually there were two more layers of a mino-gami type paper present rather than the more usual misu-gami and as these were removed the extent of the previous damage was revealed. Although this damage does look rather dramatic against transmitted light it is not visible under normal lighting conditions. Prior to any new linings being applied each area of damage will be given additional paper to compensate for the loss.


We would like to add that following the recent terrible events our thoughts and sympathy go out to everyone in Japan at this difficult time, and we wish them strength and resolve in coming to terms with this tragedy.

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