26 January 2010

Article: Furunori (aged wheat starch paste) (2009)

Title: Furunori (aged wheat starch paste): challenges of production in non-traditional settings
Author: Regina Belard, Hisashi Higuchi and Jennifer Perry
Journal: Journal of the Institute of Conservation
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2009
Volume: 32
Issue: 1
Pages: 31-51
DOI: 10.1080/19455220802630735
Download: http://www.informaworld.com/... (pdf, 618 Kb)

Furunori (aged wheat starch paste) is a traditional adhesive used to bond layers of paper and/or silk in the mounting of Japanese scrolls. It differs from fresh wheat starch paste in texture, consistency, tack and ageing characteristics. Furunori is produced in traditional Japanese mounting studios using the same general process: paste is cooked as for fresh wheat starch paste, placed in large storage jars, covered with a layer of water and stored in a cool environment. For a number of years, conservators in the East Asian Paintings Conservation Studio (EAPCS) at the Freer Gallery of Art, USA, have been trying to make furunori with limited success. This article addresses various adaptations of the process of making furunori in a non-traditional setting. The authors take a brief look at the starting material, wheat starch, and its manufacture in Japan as well as the chemistry of the process by which fresh wheat starch paste is transformed into furunori with long-term storage. A thorough description of the annual process of making furunori in a traditional Japanese mounting studio is also provided. The EAPCS process of making furunori is re-examined in an attempt to elucidate problems that lead to failed furunori. In addition, for comparison, a survey was conducted of other conservation studios located outside Japan that are making furunori.

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