If I want to be able to take the Hitomaro Kakejiku with us when we go camping or whatnot, it is going to need a storage box to protect it in transit. Such things exist in the Japanese tradition, so I made one.
It’s made mostly of poplar. I had an abundance of quart-inch poplar in my stock of surplus wood, so this was an easy choice. The top of the lid is actually 3/4″ poplar, to give the whole thing a little heft. I rabbeted the top so that it would fit inside the walls of the lid, and not appear thicker from outside.The inside is unfinished.
There are small blocks of cedar at either end of the box that cradle the ends of the scroll rod and keep it centered in the box. You can see the rabbet for the lid top and the interior blocks in this process photo.
The outside is finished with several layers of garnet shellac with a black dye added. That’s what gives the final finish that deep mahogany color. I was hoping this mixture might be a good substitute for black lacquer. It is not, but as its own thing it is very nice.
I did a third portrait of Hitomaro while doing the ones described in Poetic Brushwork. I did this one on larger paper, with the intention of mounting it as a kakejiku hanging scroll. There was a lot of work involved in that, but I’m happy to say that this is now complete.
In addition to mounting the painting on more paper, the fabric all had to be backed with paper and attached around the outside of the painting. Then, the oak rod and half-rod had to be cut and added. Following that, I had to braid the suspensory cords and figure out how to mount them to the upper rod. I made the weighted ends for the lower rod and finished them with tinted shellac.
When I started doing research on kakejiku, the advice from most sites was to leave it to professionals. You can see pretty clearly that this advice was sound. I never really did get the painting flat, and there are a host of other minor problems with this. Now I have a portrait of Hitomaro that I am not afraid to take camping, though!