Thu, Jun 25, 2020

Repair work of important cultural property ‘Images of the gods’ set to start in Kyoto

Repair work of “Images of the gods,” a designated important cultural property owned by Hoshaku-ji temple (Oyamazaki, Kyoto Pref.), is set to start at the Kyoto National Museum. The color on wood was moved to a repair facility inside the museum on June 22 to undergo restoration works under the Tsumugu Project, which was jointly initiated by Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs, Imperial Household Agency and national newspaper The Yomiuri Shimbun (Tokyo).

The images of the gods were painted on wooden boards in 1286 (during the late Kamakura period). Four of which remain today are entrusted to the Kyoto National Museum for conservation. The unknown artist is believed to have been an expert painter due to the refined technique involved in portraying the deities.

The wooden boards are warped and splitting, while the paint on the surface is flaking or peeling off. The repair work will therefore involve taking dirt off the surface with soft brushes and fixing the color using traditional nikawa glue and other substances.

Repair experts examine the “Images of the gods” at Kyoto National Museum with representatives of Hoshaku-ji temple. (The Yomiuri Shimbun)

Two of the four boards were brought to the repair facility from the repository this day for inspection by repair experts. A representative from Hoshaku-ji said he was grateful for the repair work which would enable the temple to hand down the artwork to future generations.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun’s June 23 issue)

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