Increasingly scholars are turning to pictorial evidence which often quite literally illustrates a wide variety of subjects. A couple of years ago we were approached by a scholar of envelope and letterfolds who was trying to identify from Japanese paintings and prints some of the traditional folds used for letters in Japan. Fortunatley courtesans clearly received a lot of mail so there are many different examples especially in Japanese woodblock prints.
|The Bamboo Cutter delivers a folded message to Kaguyahime|
A recent visitor to the studio was Dr Mari Akazawa from the National Institute of Japanese Literature. Her interest in the 'Tale of the Bamboo Cutter' was not confined to pure art history, it was also the architecture of the various buildings within the scrolls. She is studying a wide variety of sources to see what information can be gathered from the historic depiction of buildings. These are often incredibly detailed and can lend fascinating insights into the construction of buildings over the centuries.
So, whilst we continue the conservation, every beam, joint and roof truss in the scrolls will be closely examined to see if they can offer any further insights into the construction of Japanese buildings.