Survey on Yamaji (mountain road) painted by Yokoyama Taikan

Fluorescent X-ray analysis of 'Yamaji' painted by Yokoyama Taikan

 Yokoyama Taikan, a giant of modern Japanese-style paintings, painted “Yamaji” when he was 43 years old (in 1911, stored by Eisei-Bunko Museum and deposited by Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art). It is an important piece in which Taikan heavily used the “touches”, a reputed technique consisting of the blending of the Western impressionist school and the Southern school of Chinese painting at the time the piece was made public. It was the vanguard of the ‘new Nanga-style painting’, prevalent in the Taisho Period, escaped from the hazy style attempted by Taikan in the Meiji 30’s (1897). In addition, Mr. Arai Kei (Tokyo University of the Arts) recently pointed out that ‘Yamaji’ likely used mineral pigments, which were new at that time. This painting is thus noteworthy even when examining the materials used in Japanese style paintings during the era.
 On the occasion of the restoration of “Yamaji”, the Eisei-Bunko Museum, which owns the painting, and our Institute will begin joint research, conducting many-sided investigational studies with Mr. Miyake Hidekazu of the Museum. To start with, on October 10th, we conducted near-infrared reflectance photography and qualitative analysis using the fluorescent X-ray analysis method at the Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art where ‘Yamaji’ has been deposited This was done together with Mr. Arai mentioned above, Mr. Taira Yuichiro (Tokyo University of the Arts) and Ms. Ogawa Ayako (Tokyo University of the Arts), in cooperation with Mr. Hayashida Ryuta at the Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art. The result of research revealed that ‘Yamaji’ consisted of an abundant amount of modern pigments, which are different from conventional pigments. The restoration will continue for a period of one year. We will gather the obtained survey results; the progression status of the restoration, and various types of information that include reviews from the time the work was made public. We would like to release such items publicly as fundamental materials.

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