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Cause of Creases and Countermeasures
Hanging scrolls gets creases easily due to its complex structures made of silk, paste and multiple layers of Japanese paper.
Creases and cracks can be a result of interrelated issues such as construction, wear and materials.
The crease is troublesome not only because it disfigures hanging scrolls but also leads to the deterioration if the crease is severe. Our clients often ask us for repairing the crease so let us see why the crease occurs and how we handle it.
The Cause of Creases and Countermeasures
Due to Materials
Due to Handling and Storage Practices
Simply, the hanging scroll is rolled around a rod and tied with a cord when stored. The repeated rolling and unrolling of the hanging scroll will inevitably cause creasing. They are also susceptible to damage as a result of environmental factors, both on display and in storage.
As the Japanese proverb says, “Do not leave your hanging scroll hanged in an alcove all year round”, “Conversely, do not keep it in the box for a long time. ”
Our ancestor has learned lessons through their experiences. A tradition of changing hanging scrolls at frequent intervals (once every 2 to 3 months for each season) is not only for joy but also for the protection. Just a reminder, please make sure to roll up and store your scroll on a fine, dry day in order to keep out moisture as possible as you can.
Due to Other Factors
Consult a Conservator
If the crease becomes severe, the main work itself may be at a risk of break or flaking and a new mount may be recommended. Please consult qualified conservators who are experts in scroll mounting.
Most of creases will be mended by wetting the main work and reinforce it with new backing paper. However, this does not apply when the crease is too severe.
For big creases, narrow strips of Japanese paper are applied to reinforce the creases. (We call it ore-buse, ore-dome, ori-ate or suji-kai)
In a case the crease can not be mended, scrolls can benefit from a futomaki. (a special insert rod which can support a scroll when rolling up. )
By making the diameter of the roller rod bigger, creasing and other forms of tension on the main work can be eased and prevented.
For more info about futomaki, please see below :
Restoration of a Scroll with Deep Creases
Let us explain with an example.
This is a picture of “God of Longevity” with many deep creases.
If you leave this picture unattended, it will end up in the break or flaking.
You can have a clear view of the creases from the side of the picture.
The creases were mended by remounting.
Now we can clearly see the faces of a deer and the God thanks to the smooth surface.
Let us see the picture from the side once again.
The picture restored to its former glory, compared to the one before restoration.
That brings us to the end of today’s topic.
Hanging scrolls are delicate work of arts that require utmost care when handling, viewing and storing. However, it is worth taking care since they can last for a century if treated properly. We hope your precious hanging scrolls will be enjoyed for a lifetime.
If you have any questions regarding the creases or the restoration of hanging scrolls, please feel free to contact us.