An elegantly dressed courtesan reads a letter, possibly from a suitor, in this hanging scroll painted by Japanese artist Kitagawa Utamaro in 1805. It has been conserved over two years in our Hirayama Studio for East Asian paintings – swipe to see the process unfold.
After conservators examined the scroll, the textile borders (old kimono silk fabric) were cleaned with a special vacuum cleaner to remove any dirt. The old and degraded lining papers of these textile borders were carefully removed using humidification, and a new lining of thin ‘kozo’ paper added using wheat starch paste, which means this conservation work can be reversed in the future without damaging the scroll. The delicate embroidery of the textile borders was then reinforced with silk thread by the Museum’s textile conservators. Find out more about what it’s like to work at the Hirayama Studio in our blog post – link in bio.
Completed in 2016, this remounting process was made possible as part of the Collaborative Project for the Conservation of Japanese Paintings in the British Museum, working with the Association for Conservation of National Treasures of Japan, sponsored by the Sumitomo Foundation. This year the Hirayama Studio is celebrating 10 years of the project, which allows complex treatments to be completed by experts, and staff and students to be trained thanks to this generous support.
A trait of mine is to dive into hugs. I love human connection, the healing power of touch and people. I hugged a friend recently which was likened to hugging a block of ice. Nothing to do with me. Her ego had been challenged, ripped apart against her will. She was dealing with it. Her way was to retract her energy inward as a default safety. Nothing is personal here. Hugs are always free as is love. #freehugs#japan#shibuya