Restoration of Kinkaku-ji temple

Restoration of Kinkaku-ji temple

  • Previous Director
    Kazuo Yaguchi
  • restoration of Kinkaku-ji temple

    Rokuonji Head prist
    Syunin Kajitani

Invented “Quintuple Golden leaf “(we have a certificate of trade mark registration)

I had a request from a former chief priest of Rokuonji Temple, Murakami Jikai to repair Kinkakuji Temple since golden shiny surface of the building was almost came off and lacquer base was exposed. It was far from an elegant simplicity, it was painfully damaged. Walls of second and third strays were dirty as if ink was rubbed on. Colour of edges was uneven. The golden Pavilion floating on a pond should be elegant and sophisticated but there was different from that because of serious damage.

I visited Kinkakuji Temple for a primary inspection. At that time, I thought I should maintain its brightness to last long. To make it possible, I should use a method which was used when it was founded.

Japanese lacquer is deteriorated by ultraviolet light. And also gold leaves used at that time were very thin and had many pin halls which cause ultraviolet transmit. Therefore if I used existing gold leaves for repair, it would cause deterioration of lacquer base. Gold leaf is regarded as a decoration but essentially it has UV cut off performance. It is possible to minimize ultraviolet transmission if I could maximize the performance of gold leaf. To make the best performance, sufficient lacquered process and thick gold leaves are required.

I tried to make layers of gold leaves by ordinary thin gold leaves on lacquered object but still liquid state lacquer oozed through pin halls of gold leaves. So I searched gold leaves with shiny, flexible and less pin halls. Historically, there was evidence that thicker gold leaves were used before. Later, by improve of manufacturing technique, gold leaves were getting thinner but I wanted use original type one. So I invented “Quintuple golden leaf”, the one has five times thickness of existing product. I had difficulty to preparation of lacquer to use quintuple golden leaves. It did not stick well by an ordinary adhesive because of its thickness.

And then after all the trouble, I could make a suitable lacquer compound. I could clearly imagine shiny Kinkaku-ji Temple covered with quintuple golden leaves.

The first step of Kinkakuji-Temple repair project was searching for new golden leaves and pure lacquer. I searched for them all over Japan by myself. I examined materials for repair well until I satisfied enough. Regarding lacquer, beautiful finished surface could only make by fine materials. Adding to it, lacquer should have durability. I examined many times and confirmed the fine quality of lacquer which was made in Japan. ・・・

(To be continued soon)