Seminar held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems―“Possibility and acceptability of past refurbishing of Kohaku Fuyo Zu (Red and White Cotton Roses)
The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems held a seminar on December 22nd, 2015, where Kyoko ISHII of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques made a presentation on the topic: “Possibility and acceptability of past refurbishing of Red and White Cotton Roses. It concerned Red and White Cotton Roses (designated as a National Treasure and owned by Tokyo National Museum), paintings signed by the Chinese court painter Li Di in the Chinese Southern Song dynasty in 1197. At the presentation, she reported on accurate depiction of details as well as her perception on inpainting added by posterity based on the results of various kinds of optical examinations using infrared rays, x-rays, etc. Based on the detailed map of damages that remain on the paintings, she also reported the possible refurbishing made by posterity. Large longitudinal bending lines exist on both paintings. Today, the paintings of white cotton roses and red cotton roses are said to be a pair of hanging scrolls. However, it can be possibly presumed from these longitudinal bending lines and inpainting that they were originally made as a picture scroll, which were then trimmed and made into hanging scrolls. Ishii further reported that the both paintings had already been recognized each as an independent painting in the early Edo period and provided with unique values added in Japan. The two large longitudinal bending lines on both paintings occur in an equal interval on each of the paintings that are different in nature from longitudinal bending lines observed in ordinary picture scrolls. Ishii’s presentation was followed by a lively discussion as to possible causes of these lines, as to a question arising on the signs on the pictures if they had been a picture scroll, etc., thus disclosing and posing a series of interesting problems.