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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, 15 October 2014

Kawa-kami Gozen

Legend has it that around 1,500 years ago a woman from either Korea or China came to Japan and taught the people of Echizen, Fukui Prefecture how to make paper from Kozo (mulberry). She felt sympathy towards them as they had to live in the mountains, and had no rice fields to support themselves. 

Afterwards she mysteriously disappeared to the upper river, so she was named "Kawa-kami Gozen", meaning "Up-river Princess". Since then, the Princess has been enshrined as a Paper Goddess with two local Gods in Okamoto Otaki Shrine.

These Gods usually live high on the mountains but every year they descend down to the shrine and stay for just three days over the 3rd/4th//5th May. They are welcomed by the local people who hold a special festival in their honour the Kami no Matsuri - the Festival of God and Paper.

Set high on the mountainside amongst towering cedars there has been a shrine here for well over a thousand years and this version of the shrine was built by specialist carpenters who came from the Temple at Eiheiji in 1843 and took the team seven years to build. 

On a recent visit to Echizen we were able to pay our respects at this beautiful shrine. Two types of specialist paper we are using in the conservation of the handscrolls are made by artisans who work here in the Echizen Papermaking village.

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