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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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Tuesday, 6 August 2013


Two Marubocho - the Kyoto style handle is to the left, Tokyo to the right
As we apply many narrow 3mm strips of Japanese mulberry paper to support the many creases on the scrolls we should mention one of the most important knives used by scroll mounters. The Marubocho (maru just means curved). These are used for cutting all paper and lined silk.

Incredibly sharp with a very fine cutting edge they are comprised of alternating layers of soft and hard steels. As with our other edge tools only Japanese water-stones are used to sharpen these amazing knives.

When cutting there is only light pressure sideways to guide the blade along the straight-edge and minimal pressure downwards as they are SO sharp.
It is essential that they are used with a square-sided straight-edge to prevent the fine cutting edge from veering off........!!!!!

Very narrow strips of a thin Japanese mulberry paper are cut using the marubocho. These are then used to support the numerous creases throughout the scrolls. The strips are cut across the grain direction of the paper so that the tiny strip will be at it's most effective. The strips are pasted with a dilute wheat starch paste before being applied along each crease. 

Raking light and transmitted light sources are used to highlight where a strip is needed. The pasted strip is rolled around a bamboo spatula to transport and help to accurately apply it along the crease. 

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