Order from Germany: Remounting an Old Tiger Kakejiku Scroll

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

Inquiry from Germany

In June 2017, we received an inquiry from a German gentleman for remounting a hanging scroll. He is conducting an art gallery specialized on Japanese and East Asian Art. The gallery has a special focus on antique Japanese screen paintings (byôbû) and Japanese painted hanging scrolls (kakejiku) from the Edo period (1603-1868) and early modern times. It is a pleasure to meet people like him who have an in-depth knowledge of Japanese culture.

 

Here is a kakejiku that needs restoration.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restoretiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restoretiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

Thank you for the detailed pictures of the hanging scroll. We make an estimate on a per-project basis so all this information is helpful to check the scroll condition. According to the customer, it is an 18th century Nagasaki-school painting of a tiger. Tigers are not native to Japan. It is said that the general public first saw the real tiger at the circus in the Meiji period. Until then, tiger was imaginary animal to most of Japanese. So, like the tiger in the above picture, the artists depicted it based on the idea of a cat, imagining what a tiger would look like. It is interesting that the description of tigers changes with the times.

 

For more info on Nagasaki-school, click:

 

The customer’s requests were: to smooth countless wrinkles, repair moth holes and a tomobako. He also asked us if the scroll should have a futomaki or not.

We replied as follows :

  1. Wrinkles will be smoothed.
  2. Moth holes will become less noticeable by toning (hosai), which is the act of adding color to the lacking part.
  3. Tomobako stands for a box that already has a title and a name of an artist. What we can offer you is a plain paulownia box. Kindly let us know if it is acceptable for you.
  4. Regarding a futomaki, in my opinion, there is no need of a futomaki for this picture because the damage is not so severe now. However, if you wish for a better, lifelong preservation of the picture, it is a good idea to apply futomaki.

 

The customer decided to have a plain paulownia wood box, not a futomaki this time. For more details, we shall talk after we receive the actual hanging scroll here at ART NOMURA.

 

 

Arrival of the Tiger Scroll

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

The scroll arrived successfully. Every time we open the package, we are always excited and thrilled since we can never judge the damage condition until we see the real one. Sometimes we find further damage or more details that we could not see from the pictures on the PC screen.

 

What we found this time was that the scroll had signs of having been remounted a few times in the past. Also, it had many damaged parts.

 

A Big Slit on the Face of a Tiger

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

We found a big vertical slit on the tiger’s face. The slit was linked together so we can see the picture had been remounted before.

 

The scroll was attached a paper patch on the back (of the finished backing paper). It is an odd way to repair because it does not look good. Normally, a patch is applied directly to the back of a painting or the first(skin) backing.

Also, we were surprised to see the numbers and depth of creases from the back. The scroll had more severe damages than we first expected.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

From the back of the scroll.

 

 

Countless Lacking Parts

It was obvious that the conservators did not do toning (hosai) in the former remounting so there were many missing/lacking parts throughout the picture. They were just covered by the backing paper, no signs of hosai.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

There’s a possibility that more flaking will occur during the remounting procedure since the picture is already vulnerable.

We explained the circumstances to the customer and confirmed how he would like to proceed; to leave the lacking parts as it is or to repair all by toning (additional hosai) with additional charge. For his reference, we sent one example of toning (Please see below pictures.) and we also told what the cost would be for the repair.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

For a better finish, we highly recommend the additional hosai. To be frank, we wish to finish every work as beautiful as possible from the craftsman’s point of view. However, it needs additional charge and more time so we make sure to confirm and leave the final decision to each customer. We were glad that the customer kindly accepted our offer for additional hosai.

 

 

Three Suggestions for Mounting Fabric

We offered three suggestions for mounting fabrics with enlarged pictures as follows.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

Pattern A

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

Pattern B

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

Pattern C

 

Out of these, the customer preferred pattern B. However, he concerned about its fabric colours. The colour on the left picture (above) looks bluish while the colour on the right looks greenish (enlarged picture). He told us the greenish color framed harmoniously the soft tone of the paper and did not distract from the painting. On the left picture, the contrast does look a bit to hard, but he feels it is a computer graphic so the colors are not real.

 

Indeed! It is truly difficult to show the exact color of the fabrics. Therefore, we sent some more pictures with explanation to clear his concerns.

Regarding the outer fabric of sample B, please find some more pictures as per attached.

Please be advised that the color of fabric may appear differently depending on the type of light during photo shooting. Each type of light, including incandescent, fluorescent, and sunlight, may have a different effect on the appearance of the fabric’s color. Also, viewing the fabric from a slightly different angle can make its color appear brighter or darker.

The pictures (#1 to #4) were taken side by side with the actual artwork for comparison so it will help you imagine the real color easily. The fabric of sample B has a similar color like the original one. In my personal opinion, the fabric sample B looks like bluish, brownish, deep green color.

We have also taken some pictures under different types of light for your reference. Under natural sunlight, we see a little more brownish green while we see a little more bluish green under fluorescent light. Our overall impression is that it has a soft tone of deep green color.

 

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

#1/ Front : Original Fabric | Back : New fabric of Pattern B

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

#2

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

#3,4

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

Under fluorescent light 1

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

Under fluorescent light 2

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

Under sunlight (outside) 1

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

Under sunlight (outside) 2

 

We received his reply;

The pictures give a very good impression of the fabric from different perspectives and all look fine to me.

Apart from fabric colors, we also suggested adding *ichimonji-otoshi as option and his reply was “yes”.

It is all settled.


Ichimonji-otoshi :
The act of surrounding the art work with the same fabric of ichimonji. (ichimonji is a fabric attached to top and bottom of the main artwork) Ichimonji-otoshi gives a scroll sharper look.
Please refer to :

 

 

Remounting of the Nagasaki-school Tiger Hanging Scroll

+ Fabric: No. B

+ Mounting Style: Literati mounting in the manner of ichimonji-otoshi
– Smoothening wrinkles
– Additional repair and hosai of all lacking parts
– 1 plain paulownia-wood box

+ Size: Maintain the original size

+ Packing: In a paulownia-wood box then in an export carton box.

 

Finally, remounting starts now!

 

 

Mekuri / Removal of Old Backing Papers

The kakejiku is produced through several urauchi backings. “Urauchi” is the act of applying paper to the back of paper, silk, or fabric with paste for reinforcement.

The first step in remounting kakejiku is to remove the old backing papers carefully.

Generally, there are three backing papers. They are applied in the order of “hada ura-uchi”(the first), “mashi urauchi”(the second), “sou urauchi”(the final) from the back of a “honshi” main artwork. When removing the papers, we start working on with outside, “sou urauchi”(the final) in reverse order.

When it comes to degree of difficulty, the closer to a main work, the harder it becomes. Therefore, removing “hada ura-uchi”(the first backing) is the most difficult since it is directly applied to a main artwork. It is also regarded as the most difficult step in the whole repair procedure.

We focused all our attention to these points because we were afraid of these damaged parts of the painting would come off together with the backing paper. If we peel the paper back at once, it may result in further damage in case the former conservator had used strong glue. Thus, we peeled the backing paper slowly and carefully, pressing the painting gently with a tapered awl in order to prevent it from coming off.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

The backing papers on the back of all the lacking parts, and the big vertical slit on the tiger’s face.

 

As each backing paper is stripped away, the artwork reveals its true self.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

 

 

Urauchi / Backing, Karibari / Drying

The paper to be used for backing (urauchi) is selected by the craftsman (hyougushi) depending on the effect that is trying to be achieved and the condition of the main work. In mounting a “kakejiku” (hanging scroll), the first backing called “hada-urauchi,” is applied directly onto the back of the main work. In this process, relatively thin, firm paper is used.

 

First, apply water to the painting and stretch the wrinkles. We struggled to smooth out the slit part of the tiger’s face. If we do this with all our might, there is fear that the painting gets caught in a brush and the slit spreads even more.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

 

After stretching wrinkles, apply glue to a new backing paper evenly and thoroughly, making sure the glue is fully applied, or the backing paper ends up coming off later on.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

 

Once applying glue is finished, start mounting the backing paper onto the painting with gentle but broad strokes. Make sure to push out any air bubbles to outward since they will be the reason of wrinkles. It is not advisable to go back to the middle of procedure because the painting is likely to come off along with the backing paper once applied glue. We only have one shot for applying a backing paper or start it over so this process always makes us a little bit nervous.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

 

After stroking, beat the backing paper to enhance adhesion. This also helps to push out remained air bubbles.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

 

During the process of the first backing, the main work will have acquired moisture and become somewhat stretched. By applying paste to the edges, and placing the main work on a “karibari” board, stress on the main work can be adjusted, and will become flat as it dries.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

 

 

Ore-fuse / Reinforcement

The painting had countless creases and wrinkles. These areas are very brittle so they need to be reinforced in order to prevent future damages. As previously mentioned, attaching patches to the final backing paper should be avoided due to following reasons:

+ It disfigures the hanging scroll.
+ The scroll loses flexibility. Especially, the painting gets warped or distorted when hanged.

 

We repaired in a traditional way called ”ore-fuse”, which is to apply thin Japanese paper to the wrinkles from the back of the first (skin) backing paper.

 

 

Hosai / Toning

Hosai takes an extremely long time among all the procedure.

 

Add colors to the lacking parts as natural as possible.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

 

Be careful not to isolate the hosai area by adding colours little by little, using a thin pointed paintbrush and taking the overall balance into consideration. Each lacking part differs in colour so our conservator gradually proceeds hosai, confirming each color in detail. It is as if she is talking to the painting.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

 

Adjusting the correct amount of water is also necessary since the first backing paper separates from the painting if the pigments are dissolved in too much water. Therefore, experience and intimate knowledge for painting, these are what counts the most in doing hosai.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

 

 

Tsukemawashi, Kiritsugi / Cut and Join

Let us move on to shaping the painting into “kakejiku”, which is to apply fabrics to the painting. All fabrics are cut into required size. They will be attached to the painting with the glue area of 3mm width. There is a knack to attaching fabrics straight.

 

This painting is to be completed in the manner of ichimoni-otoshi so thin lines are attached on both sides of the painting.

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

 

 

The Second Backing

The second backing is called “mashi-urauchi” (subsidiary backing of the main work and mounting fabric). It is added to maintain balance between the main work and the mounting fabric, in terms of their thickness and strength.

 

 

Tachiawase / Cutting to Size

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

Cutting a hanging scroll to a specified size after the second backing.

 

 

Mimi-ori / Folding over the Edge

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

Also called “hashi-ori”. Fold the left and right edges of a hanging scroll back approximately 3 to 4.5 mm. The width differs according to the size of the hanging scroll. It is executed after cut-and-join and before the final backing.

 

 

The Final Backing

The final backing is called “sou-urauchi.” It is added to obtain a flat and smooth finish, so that the kakejiku can be rolled up smoothly.

 

 

Finishing

Attach a top rod (located in the upper part of a scroll) and a roller rod (located in the bottom). A ring tack is hammered in a top rod in order to apply two codes. One is for hanging, the other is for wrapping up a scroll. This work will be finished in a literati mounting style so it does not have fûtai (decorative fabric strips).

 

 

Remounting Completed! Here’s a New Hanging Scroll!

tiger german kakejiku hanging scroll remount repair restore

After a long restoration, the tiger’s painting is at last brought back to new life.

All staff at ART NOMURA became deeply attached to the tiger during remounting process. We were all happy that the tiger was done beautifully. Well, he has been a good-looking guy from start to finish though. Please see before and after pictures of the tiger.

 

Countless wrinkles were smoothed out.

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A scar (vertical slit) on his face became less noticeable.

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Lacking parts and moth holes were repaired.

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Unattended moth holes in the former remounting became less noticeable by hosai (toning). His fur looks softer and shinier.

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Adding colors to countless holes seemed endless, but it was very worthwhile.

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From the side, we can clearly see the wrinkles are smoothed out.

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The tiger has been restored to his new life and now looks full in vigour.

 

 

Customer’s Voice

We were so grateful to receive a heartwarming message from the customer :

I am deeply impressed by the sincere work that you and your team have done.

The result after hosai is very good, and also the mounting and the color of the fabrics fit perfectly to the painting.

I am really thankful to your countless efforts and skills to bring this tiger to life again! You are doing a great, wonderful job being largely responsible for the conservation of the Japanese Cultural heritage.

The next time when I am in Japan, I would love to come and visit your shop to meet and thank you and your team personally. It is such a pleasure to work with you together in my humble attempt to feature and preserve the fantastic Japanese culture heritage.

 

Thank you very much for recognizing our work. We feel very happy every time when we meet a customer living far away from Japan and who loves and understands the charm of Japanese traditional art, kakejiku. It is so encouraging and inspiring to receive such kind compliments. It really means a lot to us. Thank you very much. We will make further efforts in providing better service.

 

Thank you for reading this post to the end.

 


 

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CEO Message

Our Feelings For Kakejiku


 The Japanese people have long set a high value on aesthetic senses since ancient times. As a result, the
peculiar culture which is not seen in other countries blossomed and many aspects of the modern Japanese
culture come from it. Parts of Japanese culture has been introduced to people in other countries recently,
so the number of people from other countries who are interested in Japanese culture has been increasing.
However, the Japanese aesthetic senses, which are the bases of Japanese culture, have been nurtured
through a long history, intertwining various elements intricately, such as climate, geographical features,
religion, customs and so on. Therefore, they are very difficult to understand not only for people from other
countries, but even for the Japanese people. I think the best tool which conveys these difficult senses
understandably is a “kakejiku.”
 The kakejiku (a hanging scroll; a work of calligraphy or a painting which is mounted and hung in an
alcove or on a wall) is a traditional Japanese art. It's no exaggeration to say that paintings are what
express aesthetic senses at all times and places. The kakejiku is an art which expresses the Japanese
aesthetic senses. The kakejiku has long been used in traditional Japanese events, daily life and so on since
ancient times. As a result, there are various customs of kakejiku in Japan; kakejiku and the life of the
Japanese are closely related. We can see Japanese values through kakejiku.
 The kakejiku is a cultural tradition which the Japanese people should be proud of. However, many people
in other countries don't know much about it because it hasn't been showcased as much. This is why I
decided to try to introduce it. The kakejiku world is very interesting and beautiful. We want not only the
Japanese, but also many people from other countries to know and enjoy it. I hope that many people will
love kakejiku someday.

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Company Profile
syaoku.jpg(120220 byte)

Name Art Nomura


President Tatsuji Nomura


Founded1973


Established1992


Address7-23 Babadori, Tarumi-ku, Kobe city,
Hyougo Prefecture, 655-0021, Japan



Capital10 million yen


URLhttp://nomurakakejiku.com


Our Business

 Art Nomura is an art dealer which produces kakejiku (hanging scrolls). We mount many paintings and calligraphic works in kakejiku in my factory. Kakejiku are our main product. We also remount and repair old or damaged kakejiku. We share the traditional Japanese art of kakejiku with people all over the world.



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Access Map

Access Map


 The Japanese people have long set a high value on aesthetic senses since ancient times. As a result, the
peculiar culture which is not seen in other countries blossomed and many aspects of the modern Japanese
culture come from it. Parts of Japanese culture has been introduced to people in other countries recently,
so the number of people from other countries who are interested in Japanese culture has been increasing.
However, the Japanese aesthetic senses, which are the bases of Japanese culture, have been nurtured
through a long history, intertwining various elements intricately, such as climate, geographical features,
religion, customs and so on. Therefore, they are very difficult to understand not only for people from other
countries, but even for the Japanese people. I think the best tool which conveys these difficult senses
understandably is a “kakejiku.”
 The kakejiku (a hanging scroll; a work of calligraphy or a painting which is mounted and hung in an
alcove or on a wall) is a traditional Japanese art. It's no exaggeration to say that paintings are what
express aesthetic senses at all times and places. The kakejiku is an art which expresses the Japanese
aesthetic senses. The kakejiku has long been used in traditional Japanese events, daily life and so on since
ancient times. As a result, there are various customs of kakejiku in Japan; kakejiku and the life of the
Japanese are closely related. We can see Japanese values through kakejiku.
 The kakejiku is a cultural tradition which the Japanese people should be proud of. However, many people
in other countries don't know much about it because it hasn't been showcased as much. This is why I
decided to try to introduce it. The kakejiku world is very interesting and beautiful. We want not only the
Japanese, but also many people from other countries to know and enjoy it. I hope that many people will
love kakejiku someday.

(or press ESC or click the overlay)