Master Naohachi Usami, 8th generation head of the Kyoto Shōkaku-dō Conservation Studio, at work in 1978 on a Japanese painting

It is with very great sadness that The Heritage Trust reports the death this morning of Mr Naohachi Usami, 8th generation head of the Shōkaku-dō conservation studio in Kyoto – one of only a few studios in Japan accredited with conserving and restoring Japanese National Treasures and other pictorial works of national and international importance.

Beginning with his father, Naoyuki Usami, Naohachi Usami continued and promoted a policy of accepting and training foreign students in the centuries’ old Japanese tradition of mounting, restoring and conserving works of art on paper and silk. Some of those students studied at the Shōkaku-dō for only a few weeks, while others trained tirelessly there for a decade or more, eventually taking back to their respective countries skills and techniques which are now being used to conserve our precious heritage of Far Eastern pictorial art.

In Asia, Europe and the United States there are national museums and private conservation studios that have conservators, trained at the Shōkaku-dō, who are now working at those studios or running them. The Hirayama Asian Pictorial Art Conservation Studio at the British Museum is just one example which has grown out of Naohachi Usami and the Shōkaku-dō’s open-door policy towards training foreign students and will remain his abiding legacy to the world of Far Eastern pictorial art conservation.

Naohachi Usami was 86, he is succeeded by his son at the Shōkaku-dō, Mr Naohide Usami.

 

From The Kyoto Shimbun

宇佐美直八氏死去 前宇佐美松鶴堂社長

印刷用画面を開く

 宇佐美直八氏(うさみ・なおはち=前宇佐美松鶴堂社長、元国宝修理装潢師連盟理事長)25日午前4時14分、肺炎のため、京都市下京区の病院で死去、86歳。京都市出身。葬儀は28日午後1時から、京都市南区西九条池ノ内町60、公益社南ブライトホールで。喪主は社長の長男直秀(なおひで)氏。

 江戸中期に創業した表具店の8代目。西本願寺飛雲閣障壁画、厳島神社の平家納経、二条城障壁画など多数の国宝や重文の文化財修理を手掛けた。