Utagawa Hiroshige: Minakuchi : a Famous Product, Kanpyö (Drying Strips of Gourd) (Station #51) - Honolulu Museum of Art

Artist: Utagawa Hiroshige

Title: Minakuchi : a Famous Product, Kanpyö (Drying Strips of Gourd) (Station #51)

Date: c. 1833 - 1834

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Source: Honolulu Museum of Art
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This print depicts the drying of kanpyö (strips of gourd), which is a famous Minakuchi product. Kanpyö is used for sushi or stews. It is interesting to see how they are made, since the final product looks very different. This print was in generally good condition, except that it had been adhered, or laid down, to a secondary support of non-archival paper. This type of backing is potentially harmful to ukiyo-e prints, as impurities in the backing paper and adhesives can migrate forward into the sheet, causing staining or planar distortion. The print was removed from the secondary support by carefully placing the print face down, and mechanically detaching areas of the backing paper in small sections. Controlled humidity and moisture were used to soften the adhesive between the print and backing paper, allowing its safe removal. This treatment, called a backing removal, is slow and laborious, but it allows the print to expand and contract with environmental changes, and to be examined on the verso, or back, an important detail for scholars. (from Washi in the Floating World exhibition 10/18/2004-)

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