One of the works that we are restoring this year is Mushi Uta-awase Emaki (Insect Poetry Contest hand scroll), owned by the Roma National Museum of East Asian Art (Italia). This is a lovable picture scroll that shows various insects struggling to master waka poetry, but it was clear that there were some parts missing and some pages were out of order. We looked for a similar scroll and found a complete example with the same content stored in a personal residence. When the circumstances were explained to the owner, he willingly consented to the examination, and we could see the actual work on Thursday, February 5. Although some questions remained, it was revealed that both scrolls had been very close; the privately owned scroll had been created by directly copying the Roma scroll (in its initial complete state), or perhaps there was an original that was common to both. As such, those pages that were out of order in the Roma scroll were corrected due to this evidence, and the missing parts were handled appropriately with confidence. On the same day, we brought the results to the shokakudo in Kyoto City that was performing the restoration work, and there we held final discussions on restoration. For the scroll, work on the actual sheets was nearly completed, and then tentatively attached and dried. In the near future, it will be returned to the rolled mount, and restoration will be complete. Then the scroll will be open to public view in the Tokyo National Museum in late May before it is returned to Italy.
Roma scroll tentatively attached and dried (partial)