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Re: Adhering paper to cloth for scrolls

   A couple years ago I attended a lecture at the Peabody Museum in Salem
Massachusetts which discussed the traditional methods for scroll mounting
in Japan.  I can't recall every detail, but there were many.  Among the
points of interest still in my mind was that the Japanese scroll mounters
(and conservators) ferment their wheat paste for about ten years before
using it.  This requires a cellar and a strong resistance to odors.  The
speaker observed that this aging process allows the various moulds to eat
whatever they want before the paste is used, producing a relatively sterile
medium (like brussel sprouts at a Christmas party, I guess).  I also recall
that there are something like sixteen different paper layers in a scroll
mounting, with nearly as many different papers.  This, of course, depends
on the size and weight of the item being mounted.  In addition to various
sorts of pounding brushes used to meld the various layers, he described some
other techniques including his favorite-he uses a set of rosary beads to
smooth out his papers.
  All in all it was an incredibly intricate process.  I wouldn't say "don't
try it", but on the basis of what I heard I would say that those who want
to try scroll mounts should be prepared to do a lot of experimenting and
extensive reading.
 Good luck to all!

Dorothy C. Africa
bookbinder, Harvard Law School Library

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