Online Lecture 14

2010年10月* The Asiatic Society of Japan /日本アジア協会にて、仲裕次郎先生(非常勤講師)が 当研究室での研究について講演を行いました。その内容(英語での講演)を簡略して掲載します。

The Asiatic Society of Japan /日本アジア協会
Internet website; www.asjapan.org

SocietyThe Asiatic Society of Japan
October Meeting: Monday, 18th October, at 6.30 p.m.
Speaker:Mr. Yujiro Naka
Subject:Research into the Traditional Japanese Use of Color
    Restoring Polychrome Sculptures of Buddha
Place:Tokyo University Youth Buddhist Association

 Mr. Yujiro Naka received his BA in Japanese painting from Department of Painting at Tokyo University of the Arts in 1983, and his MA from the Graduate Department of Conservation in the Japanese Painting Laboratory from the same university in 1985. After working as a conservation scholar in this laboratory, in1986 he founded the Issei Studio of Fine Art Conservation of which he is Japan and East Asia, and in research projects on the traditional use of color on polychrome sculpture and architecture in Japan, Mr. Naka is also an artist of Japanese-style painting and has held many exhibitions. He is a part-time lecture in the Sculpture Laboratory at the graduate department of Conservation at Tokyo University of the Arts. He is a member of The Japan Society for the Conservation of Cultural Property and the Japanese Conservation Project.

Research into the Traditional Japanese Use of Color
- Restoring Polychrome Sculptures of Buddha-

日本古典彩色の研究 - 仏像彩色の復元 -

 We are doing research on one aspect of the field of Japanese Cultural Properties, traditional use of Color. Japanese culture developed greatly after the introducing of Buddhism from the continent of Asia, as you already know, in the middle of the 6th century. Aspects of many distant civilizations were transmitted through the Silk Road. This year marks 1300 years after the Heijokyo transfer of the capital to Nara, so people are now greatly interested in Japan's traditional culture. Our research on the traditional use of color is concerned only with the years from the Nara to the Kamakura Period. What materials and techniques were employed in coloring statues of Buddha (Buddhist images)? By our alterations we are attempting to recreate the statues' original solemnity.

1 Japanese Traditional Art Works from the Nara to the Kamakura Period
日本の古典彩色作品(奈良〜鎌倉時代)

<Koin-za 香印座> Treasure of Shoso-in in Nara period.

<Shukongo-jin 執金剛神像> Statue of Todai-ji temple in Tenpyo of Nara period.

<Kondo-hekiga 法隆寺金堂壁画> Wall painting in the main hall, Horyu-ji temple,

<Sui-ten 水天図> Painting of To-ji temple, in Heian-period.

<Ita-kohai 室生寺板光背> In Muro-ji temple, in early Heian-period.

<Ashura 阿修羅像> Standing Ashura statue in Kofukuji, in Tenpyo of Nara period.

2 Introducing main materials of traditional coloring
古典彩色の材料

Paints : "Pigments" is a color that is not dissolved in water.
    (Mineral pigment ; Iwa’enogu / Earth pigment ; Doro’enogu )
    "Dye" is a color that is dissolved in water.

Adhesives : Glue made from animals and plants call ’Nikawa’.

Supports : The painting is supported by rock, earthen wall, skin, wood, cloth such as hemp and
      silk, and paper.
      The polychrome sculptures were painted on rock, earth, Urushi-lacquer, and wood.

Water : Also, another important ingredient is 'water’. All materials were related with water.
    Our research has shown that in making the coloring, it was very important that the
    proper quantity of water be used.

 As you see, the coloring materials were characteristically gathered from nature. People of olden days also glorified deities and Buddha with paints made from pigments formed from jewels brought from the Asian continent and also with familiar, domestic earth and plants.

 In this coloring technique, also known as the Nikawa technique, all the paints are fixed onto the support using Nikawa as an adhesive.  The technique employed is one that existed virtually everywhere, not only in China, India and the Middle East, but also in Europe and Egypt. Therefore, it can be said to be a global technique. In Europe it was one of the main techniques before the latter part of the Renaissance.

 The action of painting things with beautiful colors and adhesives gathered from nature is assumed to be one of the initial expressions of the human race's love of coloring. It spread and was refined through the ages, and has since been handed down in Japan for a very long time. This coloring technique was standard in Japan until the Edo period.

3 Report for our research- restoring polychrome sculpture of Buddha
私たち
の研究- 仏像彩色の復元 -

 Next, I would like to discuss how we have sought to restore such ancient objects in recent years. Most importantly, we are studying what coloring was used for Buddhist statues from the Nara Period to the Kamakura Period. We have inherited many Buddhist statues from hundreds of years, even a thousand years, ago. It seems that almost every statue gets more and more blackened by stains each passing year. The result is that often nobody notices that the statue has any color at all. However, at the time when these statues were made, each statue was glorified by the use of gold or some other brilliant coloring. How did a statue appear when it was new? What materials and what techniques were used? Researches is done from various angles.

1. <Standing statue of Jizo-Bosatu 地蔵菩薩立像> in Shinyakushi-ji temple.
 1-1. Present condition and observation with naked eyes
 1-2. Investigation with optical instruments
 1-3. Reconstructions of patterns
 1-4. Completion work of traditional coloring


Assumed reproduction


 We could many undertake many types of investigations in this manner. Finally, we could make reproductions with such vivid coloring based on the information which we had gathered. Of course, no amount of investigation can obtain all the relevant information of almost 800 years ago. Such aspects as the details of a delicate shade, the brushwork, and the actual techniques used cannot be uncovered by our data, and these are perhaps the most important elements. Such uncertain elements must be made up for our own scholarly or artistic sensibilities. In reconstructing artistic works of the distant past, it is necessary to commune with the artists of that past by oneself trying to cultivate the sensibility of an artist of old. What we have determined is, admittedly, only one possibility in determining the solemn coloring of Buddhist images of the Japanese medieval period. Research such as ours into the traditional use of color can, though, be considered to be one useful element in the rare reports which can be of use in future research. Though this investigation is clearly limited in scope, and is also clearly experimental in nature, it may well serve as one step to a widespread understanding of the traditional use of coloring, a field that still presents many questionable points.

2. <Kongara-doji 矜羯羅童子像>  one of eight attendants in Kongobu-ji temple of Mt.Koya
We have often observed it with the naked eye
and have done much research on it .
In the same manner as was used for the Jizo‐Bosatu,

〈jouhaku〉     〈kosi-nuno〉    〈kun-1〉    〈kun-2〉






想定復元彩色図




3. <Ryutoki 龍灯鬼像> in Kofuku-ji temple

This statue was an assumed reproduction,
its reconstruction undertaken as a research theme by a member of the doctoral program in the Tokyo University of Arts, last year,
Dr. Masuda, himself also a sculptor, joined us in
studying the coloring finish on the surface.
These Images show the process of coloring.















 Reproduction with wood Coating with white clay During the process of coloring Completed work Assumed reproduction

4.<A petal of Lotus flower shaped pedestal 蓮弁>

for Seated stature of Nyoirin-kan’on in Kanshin-ji temple

5.<Gobujo 五部浄像> one of eight attendants in Kofuku-ji temple

It is a pity that this statue has lost its body.Assumed reproduction.

Assumed reproduction

Workshop


4 Meaning and policy of our researches

 I would like to conclude by making some points about the significance of our research. The members of my group have studied mainly Buddhist statues from the Nara to the Kamakura Period and their coloring. Over the centuries since these sculptures were created, much information as to their coloring has been lost. It seems certain that when the sculptures were new they had bright colors, but that original coloring has largely disappeared. This is especially unfortunate, for when these works of art were new their beautiful shapes and their beautiful colors must have formed a wondrous harmony. The people of the old period must have been impressed ? even awed? when they saw these sculptures, especially since there were fewer bright colors in their lives than we are used to now. Our group has tried to reconstruct the stunning original combination of shape and color.

 This research has been conducted by bringing together the expertise of experts in many fields, such as ancient coloring, sculpture, architecture, the techniques of painting, art restoration, art history, history of coloring, and image processing. This has truly been a study which has attempted to bring together and synthesize many fields of knowledge.

 We moderns are moved to see these figures from the ancient past. These sculptures are wondrous not only in themselves, but also because they have come down to us over so many centuries. It is now our responsibility to pass them on to future generations. The articles which have been chosen have been worked over a long period and continue to be loved. The articles which are going to be passed on to the future, we call “Art.”  What is the “power” which has caused these articles to be loved by so many people across the boundaries of space and time? Through our intensive study of Cultural Properties, we are discovering such power in our own terms as an artist.

 We were very happy that we have the opportunity to talk to all of you about the results of our researches.
Thank you for listening to the end.
'I would like to express my gratitude to Dr. Lee Colegrove, Professor Emeritus of Tokyo Joshi University and Professor Emeritus of the Asiatic Society of Japan, who kindly translated in part and corrected the English version of the text.