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Perpetuating the Art of Antiquity for ProsperityPerpetuating the Art of Antiquity for Prosperity

The Tsuzuri Project

The Tsuzuri Project is an initiative that marries Canon’s latest digital technologies with traditional artisanal work to replicate precious works of Japanese art that are rarely seen by the public.
By creating high-resolution facsimiles, these rare cultural assets can be shown to a wider public, perpetuating the art of antiquity for prosperity.

2018/12/27Activity introductions

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Making High-resolution Facsimiles Substantially Identical to Originals Widely Available for Public Viewing

The Tsuzuri Project was launched by Canon and the Kyoto Culture Association (NPO) in 2007 to create high-resolution facsimiles of precious Japanese cultural assets rarely shown to the public using the latest digital technologies in combination with traditional artisanal work for wider public viewing. A high-resolution reproduction is created by first photographing the work of art using Canon’s latest digital SLR camera. The image data that is captured then undergoes Canon’s proprietary color correction and the processed image is printed in its original size using a Canon image PROGRAF large-format inkjet printer. Master Kyoto artisans add various finishing touches as necessary, such as applying gold leaf and mounting the work.
Japan has numerous valuable cultural assets made of vulnerable materials such as paper, wood, lacquer, etc. These works of art are fragile and easily damaged. While it is necessary to offer opportunities for the public to view such works of historical and scholarly value, the works must also be protected from deterioration. In the Tsuzuri Project, 35 works have been created to date (as of December 2017), including many valuable paintings that exist on folding screens and sliding screens, and the reproductions have been made available for public viewing. These include many national treasures, such as “The Wind and Thunder Gods” by Tawaraya Sotatsu and “The Three Portraits of the Jingoji Temple,” attributed to Fujiwara no Takanobu. In 2017, the Tokyo National Museum featured a high-resolution video installation that included reproductions of “Pine Trees” by Hasegawa Tohaku and “Cranes” by Ogata Korin, the latter from the collection of the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. This new style of exhibition holds great promise for allowing more people to appreciate classic works of Japanese art.

A New Experience of Japanese Art:“Diving into Screen Paintings (Byobu to Asobu)”

An experiential art installation held in 2017 at the Tokyo National Museum’s Family Gallery, “Diving into Screen Paintings (Byobu to Asobu)” featured a fusion of video and the reproductions of “Pine Trees” and “Cranes” from the Tsuzuri Project. Visitors sat on a tatami mat platform and were treated to an immersive video enhancement projected onto a semicircular screen behind the “Pine Trees” work, experiencing as if they were in an actual pine grove with special effects added such as music, breezes, and aromas. For the “Cranes” installation, the “dancing” of the cranes was synched to the movements of people in the audience for a mysteriously interactive exhibition.

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Exhibition of “Pine Trees” by Hasegawa Tohaku (high-resolution facsimile)

Production Process

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1. Input
Segmented capturing of high-resolution data of a precious cultural asset

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2. Color Matching
Output on-site and color matched with the original

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3. Output
Output by using world-class printing technology employed to reproduce fine textures

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4. Gold Leaf, Gold Paint and Mica
Colors degraded over time are reproduced through traditional craft techniques

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5. Mounting
Mounting reproduces time-honored technique of Kyoto master craftsman

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