Re: Yakusha-e


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Posted by Theo de Kreijger on January 29, 1998 at 01:06:35:

In Reply to: Yakusha-e posted by Megumi Mizumura on January 27, 1998 at 19:03:41:


: I'm studyig Paper Conservation now and have chosen Japanese actor prints (Yakusha-e) of the Meiji era. There are 5 prints, and three of them are in a triptych format and two are in a diptych format. They are pasted together side by side and are in the form of a scroll. I have to separate them for the conservation treatment, however, I'm wondering how I should store them after the treatment. For the prints, it is better to keep them separate and mount in a flat form, as the scroll form causes damage to the prints. But, on the other hand, the scroll form is a part of the history of the prints, although it is not an original form and done by a collectore as the artists, publishers, and the dates of publishing are all different, and I have to think about keeping the historical evidence. I would appreciate if you could give me any information on the storage of similar kinds of prints, such as whether the scroll form is common practice or not.

: Thank you very much.

: Megumi Mizumura
: BA (Hon) Conservation
: Camberwell College of Arts

Dear Megumi Mizumura,

As a member of the S.J.A. (Society of Japanese Arts) I have seen a fair amount of prints but I'm not familiar with prints mounted on scrolls in such a fasion. The only prints mounted on scrolls that I have seen belonged to vertical sets forming only one image. For instance: the last one I saw was a bejin-ga by Kunisada in the form of a vertical diptych.

The question conserning preservating the original form on the scroll or keeping them separated is a difficult one. But I think it's also a very common one. Japanese prints are often pasted on something or bound into books. What you have to do is to dicriminate the value of the act of the collector (was he well-known? are these scrolls important?) against the value of the prints for instance as works of art.

If you are the owner of the prints then perhaps the best thing to do is that you record the original state of the prints by means of some pictures or scans, and conservate the scroll and the prints separate to avoid damage. In this way you'll have both the historical evidence and a good conservation. And if necessary one might be able to re-assemble them correctly on a later date.

If you really need to put them all together again then perhaps you should mount the scroll itself on a flat surface and store it this way.

I hope this answer helps you. Lots of success with your study,

Theo de Kreijger

P.S.: If necessary remove "nospam." from my e-mail adress.


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