Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties Center for Conservation Science
Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation
Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Structural investigation of Kote-e (plaster reliefs) and Statues at the Izu-no-Chohachi Art Museum

The investigation conducted at the Izu-no-Chohachi Art Museum

 For research on materials and structures of cultural properties, non-destructive and non-contact methods are required frequently. Therefore, investigation techniques using X-ray play an important part. With X-ray radiography, one of the techniques using X-ray, it is possible to investigate the inner structure and the layer of materials, both of which cannot be visually confirmed, in a non-destructive and non-contact way by using the difference in X-ray transmission levels resulting from a difference in density and thickness of the material composing cultural properties.
 The latest research was conducted on works of Chohachi Izu, a kote-e (plaster relief) artist who was active from the late Edo period to the early Meiji era. Chohachi left a large number of statues and kote-e works – paintings drawn with plaster using a trowel, a tool used by plasterers to plastera wall. To investigate the techniques for producing these works, we conducted an investigation into the inner structures of these works using X-ray radiography on the second floor of the Izu-no-Chohachi Art Museum in the town of Matsuzaki, Kamo-gun District, Shizuoka Prefecture, on May 19 and 20, 2015. As a result of our research, we identified the layered structure of a kote-e work sets in frames, the inner structure of statues and their production techniques.

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