Treatment of Hanabusa Itchō’s iconic masterpiece, The Death of the Historical Buddha (Nehan zu) began in the spring of 2016 behind closed doors. In August 2016, the Japanese hanging scroll, last treated and remounted in the 1850s, moved into gallery 178, allowing the public to observe and interact with conservators as treatment continued. This rare 16-foot-tall masterpiece of the Edo period, which has not been on view in more than 25 years, is one of the most important Buddhist paintings of its time. In partnership with colleagues from the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art, this project gives the conservation team an opportunity to engage with visitors in the gallery and field questions as they work on the painting.

Conservation and Collections Management
Sunday, January 15, 2017
With the final linings in place, the finished scroll is mounted onto a drying board (karibari) to stretch-dry for a period of approximately six months…
Conservation and Collections Management
Sunday, November 20, 2016
After joining, two more linings, covering the entire back of the scroll, are required to support and hold the overall structure together. Next, the so…
Conservation and Collections Management
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
With all the individual mounting sections lined and stretch dried, and the painting repaired and similarly lined and dried, preparations are underway…
Conservation and Collections Management
Thursday, September 29, 2016
With the painting relined with two layers of handmade usu-mino paper, supplementary linings need to be applied to the painting and to the various…
Conservation and Collections Management
Monday, September 12, 2016
On August 20, 2016, MFA conservators, along with colleagues from the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, begin treating the…
Conservation and Collections Management
Saturday, July 30, 2016
With the scroll safely dismantled from its mounting, preparation of the new mounting silks begins. The Death of the Historical Buddha is a devotional…
Conservation and Collections Management
Monday, April 25, 2016
Before the scroll can be dismantled, unstable pigments are first consolidated with a diluted animal glue solution applied with a fine brush. This…
Conservation and Collections Management
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Brief introduction to the primary conservators
Conservation and Collections Management
Saturday, April 2, 2016
Treatment of Hanabusa Itchō’s iconic masterpiece, The Death of the Historical Buddha (Nehan zu) began in the spring of 2016 behind closed doors. In…

Sponsors

“Conservation in Action: Preserving Nirvana” is generously supported by The Sumitomo Foundation.