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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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Friday, 8 February 2013

Daikan -The Great Cold

...... ready in 2023
For us here at Restorient like the other traditional Japanese scroll mounting studios around the world, the coldest part of the year has a very special significance. 

It is during "The Great Cold" (daikan)
that we are all busy making large jars of Japanese gluten-free wheat starch paste. These will be stored in a cool even climate, often in cellars or basements to mature over a period of ten years to produce aged paste (furunori). During this time the jars are checked annually and the covering of water replenished. 

The paste as it ages undergoes retrogradation and becomes softer and more flexible during this time. It is used in conjunction with the Japanese pounding brush (uchibake) and is integral for the assembly of soft flexible scrolls. 

It does put the cliche "here is one we prepared earlier"  into sharp perspective as we are currently using a 2002 aged paste to apply layers of soft misu-gami paper to sections of the "Ogres" hand scroll.

As we leave the Daikan and move into February the old Japanese kanji for which is Kisaragi which helpfully translates as "wear more clothes" we should remind ourselves that however cold it is - it's never too cold for Haiku....!

coldest day of the year -
the moon lifts the tide
to overflowing

Hoshika Katsumi aged 75


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