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.
There is nothing like the fever which grips the whole country when ice forms on the canals and rivers of Holland. We resisted the temptation to go for a slither ourselves prefering to concentrate on the assembly of the hand scrolls.
Gofun is a shell white pigment which has been used for a variety of purposes in Japan. It is made from oyster shells which are weathered and aged for more than fifteen years. The top lid of the oyster is considered to produce the best quality pigment. The shells are crushed and ground before being being mixed with water and air-dried in thin layers on wooden trays.One of the better know uses of gofun was in the manufacture of Japanese dolls where the gofun was used for the face and hands.
Gofun has long being used to add to a paper called misu-gami which is used as an intermediate paper in the making of Japanese scrolls. Historically there were two types of misu-gami manufactured. One which included gofun, and one without, called 'subuse' which was prefered for the lining of handscrolls.
Although it is now very difficult to source we were very lucky to find a private collector who had purchased a supply of this paper over 30 years ago. Far from being too old this paper is now in perfect condition as it is mature and will help us to keep the finished handscrolls supple. Paper which has being recently made is considered 'green' and is not considered sufficently stable for use in conservation.