Investigation and Photographing of the Paintings by Yosa Buson in Myōhōji Temple of Marugame City

Damaged “Hanshan and Shide”

 Myōhōji Temple, located in Marugame city, Kagawa prefecture, is known for the fact that Yosa Buson (1716-1783), a painter and haiku poet of the Edo era, visited it in 1768 and left many of his paintings there. His painting “Hanshan and Shide,” an Important Cultural Property, is damaged and Hanshan’s face is partially lost. Fortunately, the previous image including Hanshan’s face undamaged was retrieved from the monochrome films that were shot in the Myōhōji Temple by the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) in 1959. It was recently found that the films showed the painting in its undamaged form.
 TOBUNKEN conducted an investigation, photography project, and research study to reproduce this damaged painting placed on sliding doors (fusuma-e) as digital images based on the existing monochrome films and new images produced through this project.
 Four researchers from the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems—SHIRONO Seiji, EMURA Tomoko, YASUNAGA Takuyo, and MAIZAWA Rei—visited the Myōhōji Temple from August 24th to 28th, 2021 for this research investigation and photography with sufficient infection control measures against COVID-19. The investigation targets were “Hanshan and Shide,” “Cycad,” “Landscapes,” “Bamboo,” and “Jurō (God of longevity),” all works of Yosa Buson. All paintings were shot in color, while “Hanshan and Shide,” “Cycad,” and “Landscapes” were also shot using infrared (IR) imaging. Furthermore, experts of sliding door making and cultural property conservation measured “Hanshan and Shide” sliding doors because the reproduced image of “Hanshan and Shide” will be mounted on sliding doors and placed in the main hall of Myōhōji Temple.
 There are still challenges such as finding a way to convert the monochrome image into a color image. We would like to explore new ways to utilize the image materials accumulated by TOBUNKEN through this reproduction experience.

to page top