Roland DG’s VersaUV LEC2-640 UV printer reproduces famous ceiling artwork for exhibition in Japan

June 09, 2022
Phoenix Glaring in All Directions at Gansho-in Temple in Obuse, Nagano Phoenix Glaring in All Directions at Gansho-in Temple in Obuse, Nagano

Roland DG Corporation, a leading manufacturer of wide format inkjet printers and printer cutters, is pleased to announce its cooperation on a high-resolution digital reproduction of Katsushika Hokusai’s Phoenix Glaring in All Directions ceiling painting that will be shown in the "Digital x Hokusai"*1 special exhibition.

The remarkable artwork is currently featured in the main hall of Gansho-in Temple*2 in Obuse, Nagano Prefecture. Renowned artist Hokusai, who passed away at the age of 90, painted this work in his final years, and it is said to be the largest painting of its kind (5.5m in depth × 6.3m in width). The high-resolution digital reproduction will be exhibited as the centrepiece of the "Digital x Hokusai" interactive art exhibition to be held from June 2, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan.

The high-resolution digital reproduction of this painting was conducted as part of the "Distributed Digital Museum"*3 promoted by NTT East and NTT ArtTechnology. The ceiling painting was digitised by Ars Techne Corporation., a partner of NTT ArtTechnology, using its patented technology, DTIP, a high-definition three-dimensional texture image processing technology*4. Ars Techne estimated and restored incomplete painting areas and performed multi-layer processing for each texture. Based on this high-precision data, of approximately 30 billion pixels, Roland DG output the image in its original size by using a UV inkjet printer*5.

Our LEC2-640 UV inkjet printer was used to print the reproduction of the original painting. This project required not only a wide colour gamut and accurate colour reproduction, but also the need to faithfully reproduce the texture of the paint and the brushwork done by hand, the brilliance of the gold leaf, and the reflections of the oil and smoke ink, which is a unique highlight of this work. The expressive power of our UV inkjet printer, that is capable of printing special effects, was indispensable in this process."

Kohei Tanabe, President, Representative Director of Roland DG


We are very pleased with the results of the high-definition digital reproduction. We were able to reproduce the vivid coluors and elaborate techniques used in the Phoenix Glaring in All Directions, particularly the way the ceiling painting shines under certain conditions that were discovered during the digitalisation process. By utilising digital technology, we can now view artwork that previously could only be seen on site, in an environment that is accessible to all, regardless of space, distance, or time. This will not only protect valuable cultural assets, but also open up new possibilities for the enjoyment of culture and the arts and will lead to an interaction among people and regional revitalisation."

Mr. Manabu Kunieda, President and CEO of NTT ArtTechnology

There are many UV inkjet printer makers, but Roland DG was willing to take on the challenge of producing a huge size, high-definition, multi-textured output, which was an uncharted area. The positive attitude of Roland DG was a great example of their corporate culture, and I think that this project would not have been possible without Roland DG."

Mr. Iwao Kubota, President and CEO of Ars Techne

Tanabe concluded, "The visions and initiatives of NTT East, NTT ArtTechnology, and Ars Techne, that are to use digital technology to convey the beauty of art and culture, have much in common with our company, that values the creativity of people. I feel great significance and pleasure in participating in this project, and it is also a great honour for us to be involved with Hokusai's works, which are the pride of Japan. We hope that many people will come to see the wonderful exhibition of the restored original paintings, that also include projection mapping and other exciting digital effects."

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