08 March 2006

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Business Today

HP to preserve Japanese treasures

HP and the Kyoto International Culture Foundation have announced a programme to preserve a critical element of Japan’s heritage through the digital replication of fine art from 3,500 temples and shrines, beginning with artwork created between the 13 and 17 centuries.
The original paintings have been deteriorating due to the effects of time, climate and air pollution and were in danger of being lost forever.
The foundation chose HP for the Kyoto Digital Archive Project, initiated in 2000, because of the company’s ability to provide a complete fine art replication solution, including very high-quality large-format printers and powerful IT resources for long-term, secure storage.
“HP is honoured to be working on such a historically significant program with the Kyoto International Culture Foundation,” said Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president, Imaging and Printing Group, HP. “The technology we’ve developed enables us to produce reproductions with a depth of detail and color that makes them almost indistinguishable from the originals.”
The new digital reproductions will be displayed in place of the originals at the Kyoto shrines while the original artwork will be moved to a more secure and controlled environment for preservation.
By collaborating with HP, the Kyoto International Culture Foundation will be able to use the fine art reproductions to share their rich cultural heritage with the approximately 40 million visitors who travel to this UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site every year. A major centre of Japanese culture, Kyoto is home to a third of the country’s national treasures.
The complex process of replicating and storing intricate artwork leverages HP’s unique capacity to provide a complete solution featuring PCs, servers, storage devices, printers, colour management technologies and managed services.
To maintain the look and feel of the original artwork, the printing process features Japanese Washi paper. A Japanese artist using traditional techniques completes the replication process with a gold leaf application. The end result is a fine art replica that withstands the wear and tear of urban pollution, weather and a host of other causes of deterioration, while allowing the safe preservation of the originals.
The Kyoto International Culture Foundation supports training, research and educational activities that aim to contribute to the understanding and development of international culture to promote international exchanges in the regional community of Kyoto. The foundation is also committed to digital archiving in order to preserve precious cultural and historical icons of the Kyoto region.

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