Digital Technology x Traditional Craftsmanship
Photography,Color Matching,Printing,Gold leaf,Framing

<Input> Capturing high resolution digital data

<Input> Capturing high resolution digital data

With the combination of the expertise of the Kyoto Culture Association and Canon's latest photography equipment and image processing technology, Tsuzuri project choose the method of photography best suited to the original property. A digital SLR camera (EOS-1Ds Mark III) is mounted on a specially designed turntable, which is controllable precisely. This arrangement is used to shoot multi-segmented images of the original. The multi-segmented images are digitally stitched together on a computer. For one folding screen, the digital data is about 2 hundred million to 3 hundred million pixels. Deterioration resulting from image processing is kept at a minimum, and image distortion and other effects caused by lens aberration are also corrected.

<Color Matching> Precision color matching system

<Color Matching> Precision color matching system

A special image processing algorithm is applied to the digital data to correct color variation caused by differences in lighting. Colors are reproduced faithfully by making adjustments according to inherent differences in the lighting environment at the shrine, temple, or museum where the artifact is displayed. With the conventional process it was difficult to match the color of the print with that of the cultural artifact in one pass.

The image had to be printed over and over, each time followed by a minor adjustment, to eventually match color. This time-consuming process has been greatly reduced by the introduction of a precision color matching system, which has helped minimize wear on the cultural artifact.

<Printing> World’s highest level of printing technology

<Printing> World’s highest level of printing technology

Ink and wash paintings may perhaps be the culmination of Japanese beauty. They express a dimensional depth through tonal subtleties and shading. Every aspect of this beauty is reproduced, from its subtle texture variations developed by age, to the feel of the original, through use of a large-format printer, the imagePROGRAF, equipped with a 12-color pigment ink system. Even the washi paper was specially adapted, through our own research and development, to make it suitable for printing cultural artifacts and applying gold leaf and other finishes. Development was also done to enable printing on silk paper, traditionally thought to be problematic.

<Gold leaf> Reproduced through time-honored traditional ‘leaf’ techniques

<Gold leaf> Reproduced through time-honored traditional ‘leaf’ techniques

Reproducing the most significant feature used in Japanese cultural artifacts -- gold leaf, gold paint, and isinglass. The call for help in this reproduction process was answered by an authentic Nishijin craftsman and 'leaf' artist, Hiroto Rakusho. The successive owners of each cultural artifact have taken care to preserve their possessions, which, as a result, reflect their history through aging. This Project has made efforts to reproduce the 'era' of the work by laying emphasis on the level of `color fading` that has taken place. Care has been taken to observe and apply gold leaf that has been properly sized and shaped to reflect the era and location where the artifacts originate from.

<Mounting> A discipline developed in Kyoto

<Mounting> A discipline developed in Kyoto

Once the work has been digitally printed on washi and finished with gold leaf, it must be mounted by a master craftsman. The final work is completed when it is mounted on an authentic Japanese sliding door or folding screen. This is done using the skills of an authentic craftsman from Yokoyama Seiwado, the atelier responsible for restoring mountings and various cultural artifacts in Kyoto from ancient times. High resolution facsimiles of cultural properties offer more people opportunities to know and see Japanese culture and arts, and it will also promote the rediscovery of Japanese culture.

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Kyoto Culture Association (NPO)
Formerly Kyoto City Seitoku Junior high school 3F
290 Hanjocho Takatsuji Street Muromachi nishi
Shimogyo ku
Kyoto City, Kyoto
Japan 600-8433