About The Project

My Photo
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.

The Chester Beatty Library

Restorient Home

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


In the early scenes from the first scroll our intrepid Samurai are shown with their Japanese bows and arrows. These were integral to the arsenal of weapons available to Samurai and a thorough understanding of kyujutsu (bow technique) was considered essential.

The bow (yumi) is made of a laminate of woods and is asymmetrical with the top being much longer than the bottom. This design assisted archers on horseback as they could more easily fire from either side of the horse. 

The arrows (Ya) are traditionally made of bamboo. Every Ya has a gender (male ya are called haya; female ya, otoya); with the fletchings being made from feathers from alternate sides of the bird, the haya spins clockwise upon release while the otoya spins counter-clockwise. The feathers from eagle or hawk were preferred.

Binding the fletchings onto the arrow shaft

Once the arrow is released, the grip on the bow is loosened allowing the bow to spin in the left hand so that the string stops in front of the archer's outer left  forearm. This action is a fascinating combination of technique and the natural working of the bow. It is unique to kyujutsu.

Below is just one of many clips on Youtube featuring traditional Japanese archery:



Post a Comment

If you would like to comment on this blog please leave a message

back to top