Aaron Studios

Specialist in Restoration of Japanese Screens

Care of Screens

Unlike other works of art on paper, screen paintings are pasted down onto a floating layer of paper and are secured around all edges. While most Western works on paper are minimally attached to their supporting material, screens are not. This means certain precautions must be taken.

Paper is hydrostatic, which means it easily absorbs and gives off water depending on the relative humidity. In practical terms this means as it gets warmer and drier, the paper wants to shrink. If it gets to tight and all the layers of paper are stressed to much, the painting will tear with a loud crack.

This means:
Do not display your screen where a heating duct will blow hot or cold air on it. Do not hang your screen over a working fireplace. Above all else, do not hang your screen in any direct sunlight.

If at all possible keep the relative humidity above 50%.

If your screen needs dusting, use a clean feather duster that has not had any cleaning products put on it. Carefully and lightly dust in vertical strokes from top to bottom. If your screen has any loose or flaking paint, or has any raised areas, moriage, it is better not to dust these areas or you may lose some of your image.

We highly recommend you do not try to clean your screen of any dirt. It is far to easy to wash away paint and even easier to remove gold and silver foil.


Detail from 18th Century painting on Silk.