On July 1 - 2, 2020, “National Treasure – Merrymaking Under the Cherry Blossoms”, an event hosted by the National Center for the Promotion of Cultural Properties (CPCP) for a new screen experience using high resolution facsimile, was held at the Tokyo National Museum.
The National Treasure “Merrymaking Under the Cherry Blossoms” is artwork from the 17th century that depicts noblewomen dancing under fully bloomed cherry blossoms. The center panels of the right screen were destroyed in the Great Kanto Earthquake, and presently, blank washi Japanese paper is used in their place to make up the screen. As part of a joint research project with CPCP, a high resolution facsimile was produced using the techniques cultivated through the Tsuzuri Project, and work to restore the destroyed portion was carried out.
The destroyed portion had depicted a festive party scene featuring noblewomen, which serves as the main theme of the screen, and a record of the entire image on a glass photographic plate taken around 1911 remains. This glass photographic plate was scanned, the black-and-white data that was obtained was compared with the surviving portions, gradation corrections were made and then color reproduction was performed.
With regard to the color reproduction, the colors of drawings that overlap between the destroyed portion and surviving portions, such as the background and cherry blossom tree, were captured by extracting the color of the surviving portions and coloring was carried out for those portions under supervision by researchers at the Tokyo National Museum. While referring to the partial copy of the original work that remains as the only clue, only the parts for which the colors could be determined were colored, and other parts were left in black and white.
The high resolution facsimile that reproduced the destroyed portion was planned on being exhibited as part of the special exhibition “The World of Traditional Performing Arts” at the Tokyo National Museum, but due to the coronavirus outbreak, this exhibition has been put on hold. An exhibit for the high resolution facsimile of “Merrymaking Under the Cherry Blossoms” was held upon recruiting visitors for this experience. During the limited-visitors exhibit, the artwork was exhibited in a whimsical space onto which cherry blossoms in full bloom were projected using projection mapping. Over the course of the two days, 72 people making up 55 groups were able to experience a dream-like space.