Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems seminar held: Interim report on a joint study of Kasuga Gongen Kenki-e [The Kasuga Gongen Miracles] in the Sannomaru Shozokan [The Museum of the Imperial Collections, Imperial Household Agency]
Kasuga Gongen Kenki-e is a voluminous work that was commissioned by SAIONJI Kinhira, the Minister of the Left, in the early 14th century. The work consists of a total of 20 scrolls painted by TAKASHINA Takakane, head of the official court atelier. Masterfully painted, the work is a treasured part of the history of Japanese paintings. The work is currently curated by the Imperial Household Agency. The Imperial Household Agency has been dismantling and completely restoring the scrolls in line with a 15-year plan that started in 2004. As part of joint research by the Institute and the Imperial Household Agency, optical studies of the work were done prior to its restoration.
On September 25th, the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems held a seminar to report on the interim results of those studies. OTA Aya, a senior researcher from the Sannomaru Shozokan who is directing the restoration, described the restoration overall and findings yielded by the restoration. SHIRONO Seiji of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems delivered a report focusing on the characteristics of high-resolution images in visible light. The various optical studies done by SHIRONO include visible-spectrum images as well as near-infrared reflectance, near-infrared transmittance, and fluorescent images. As the current point in time, studies of 12 scrolls have resulted in image information consisting of close to 6,700 sections. KOBAYASHI Tatsuro of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems described some of that information in terms of its significance to art history. The optical studies also include a scientific study of pigments via X-ray fluorescence analysis done by HAYAKAWA Yasuhiro of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques. The information that study is yielding is clearly quite valuable. Suitable ways of publishing that information will be explored in consultation with representatives from the Imperial Household Agency.