The Moromasa Scroll conservation project – 1 year on

Edinburgh Libraries and Information Services are excited to announce that the Moromasa Scroll project has completed its first year. Even more thrilling, the Sumitomo Foundation have generously awarded a further grant for £17,500 to finish the conservation of the Moromasa Scroll.

Moromasa Scroll in workshop

Conservator at work on the Moromasa Scroll in the Leiden studio.

The scroll which was brought to light 2 years ago in Edinburgh Central Library has turned out to be a real treasure and an artwork of national importance.  As such, securing its future was vitally important.  Academics and specialists have supported this work, and have visited the scroll whilst it is away from home in Leiden at the Restorient Studio.

One of the visiting academics has gone the extra mile and handmade a traditional roller for the scroll.  None were available commercially even in Japan.  In return, with its illustration of Kabuki and puppet theatre scenes, the scroll has given researchers information about Japanese theatre they had not previously found elsewhere.

Detail of the roller of the Moromasa Scroll

Detail of the roller of the Moromasa Scroll

And the story is not yet over. The scroll is currently in 10 pieces! No need to worry though, this has been done so it can be rejoined on new lining papers. Its silk cover will be replaced and its silver decoration brought back to life for what should make it a real showstopper.

Silvering on cloud detail and the scroll's silk cover

Detail from scroll shows silvering on cloud design on left and the silk cover on right

We shall be following progress closely and will keep you updated until the scroll returns safely to Edinburgh Central Library. Many thanks to everyone who is helping to restore the scroll to its original splendour.

You can see images of the scroll online at Capital Collections where you can zoom into the incredible detail of life in early 18th century Edo (Tokyo).

You can catch up on the Scroll story so far with these earlier blog posts:

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