Upgrading of Ultra-high Definition Digital Photography Equipment

March 21, 2012

Nissha Printing Co.,Ltd.

Nissha Printing Co., Ltd. (hereinafter "Nissha") successfully improved the performance of its backsliding sectioned photography equipment*1 used to create ultra-high definition digital archives of cultural properties, to obtain image data composed of 2.8 billion pixels within five minutes.
If photographing takes a lot of time, it can damage the cultural property. Therefore, speediness is an important factor, in addition to high quality, when taking digital photographs of cultural properties. This equipment has achieved the world's highest standard both in terms of image quality and photographing speed.
On February 15, 2012, Nissha used this equipment to take digital photographs of one of Japan's national treasures, the Mandala of the Two Realms*2. Digital archiving this highly valuable work, Japan's oldest such artwork and measuring over 4 m in length, was realized only with this equipment that satisfies both requirements of high image quality and photographing speed.
Nissha intends to continue using its ultra-high digital archiving technology to help preserve and research valuable cultural properties. 

*1 Backsliding sectioned photography equipment
Digital photography equipment developed by Nissha in 2006 to digitally archive large cultural properties such as fusuma (sliding paper door) paintings and byobu (folding screens). The object is photographed in sections, and the series of images is combined with Nissha's own super high-performance image processing technique. Since the equipment allows us to take photos without changing the distance from the object and the optical axis, it requires no treatment to compensate (deform) the combined image and therefore provides highly precise ultra-high definition image data.

*2 Mandala of the Two Realms
An esoteric Buddhism painting housed in Jingokokuso Shingon-ji Temple (popularly known as Jingo-ji Temple), Ukyo-ku, Kyoto. Also known as Takao Mandala. Produced in the early part of the Heian Period, it is the oldest mandala extant up to this day. It is composed of the mandala of the two worlds, or Diamond Realm and Womb Realm, each measuring about 4m in width and length, and the largest mandala. It was produced while Kukai was alive; it is highly important and valuable in the field of art history as well as Buddhist history. National treasure. One of the two realms was photographed on February 15, 2012.


Latest backsliding sectioned photography equipment

Deeply involved in cultural properties and artworks through printing artworks since its foundation, Nissha started technical development of digital archiving of cultural properties in 1995.
It was in 2006 when Nissha developed backsliding sectioned photographing equipment to take photographs of large cultural properties. It used to take at least 16 hours to obtain a photograph having 2.8 billion pixels in the past.
It is an essential requirement to reduce the filming duration in photographing cultural properties where meticulous care is a must so as not to damage those valuable objects.
Nissha refined the then leading-edge image data analytical technique to gradually increase the performance of the equipment and finally succeeded in acquiring 2.8 billion pixels within 5 minutes in December 2011. 

Taking Digital Photographs of National Treasure, Mandala of the Two Realms

Taking digital photographs of the national treasure, the Mandala of the Two Realms

Nissha took digital photographs of the Mandala of the Two Realms, a national treasure housed in Jingo-ji Temple, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, using the advanced backsliding sectioned photography equipment in February 15, 2012, entrusted by the Tokyo National Museum.
The oldest and largest extant mandala of the two realms, this mandala is a large piece of art measuring about 4m in length and width. Despite its size, Nissha finished taking conventional digital photographs and infrared photographs in a single day. Nissha obtained super-high definition image data of 22.5 billion pixels.
When the data is partially enlarged, we can observe details of the work that cannot be seen even with a magnifying lens. The infrared photography data, obtained on the same day, also allows us to see the work and its details that are almost impossible to recognize because of deterioration.
The Mandala of the Two Realms is usually stored in a dark place under constant strict control, therefore the digital archive of it will be utilized in research activities together with its records. 
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- "Nissha" is a generic name of Nissha Co., Ltd. and "Nissha Group" is a Nissha Co., Ltd. and its group companies.

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