Traditional Scroll Mounting


Paintings on rice paper can be mounted onto silk scrolls using either the wet mount method or dry mount method.

Wet mounting is all done by hand the traditional way. It dates back to the Han dynasty (Around 200 B.C.).  It is a dying art which requires superb skills, years of experience. Dry mounting is the shortcut and cheap way which uses silicon adhesive.

Differences between wet and dry mounting:

Traditional wet mounting method is all done by hand and uses flour paste as the glue. It embodies the spirit of Chinese art, and requires superb workmanship. On the other hand, dry mounting uses silicon paper as the adhesive and uses either a mounting machine or a hot iron during the process.

Wet mounted paintings can be remounted in the future, but not so with dry mounted artwork. Wet mount is also more environmentally friend than dry mount.

Very often folds and creases appear in dry mounted scrolls due to carelessness or machine malfunction, and these errors cannot be corrected and the paintings are thus ruined.

All famous masters’ works and expensive paintings are wet mounted.

Different styles:

The most common forms are  vertical wall scroll and  horizontal wall scroll. Vertical scrolls are more convenient for hanging, but the horizontal scrolls are more suitable for sumi-e with a western feel.

There are different hanging scroll styles:

  • 一色裱, one color mount
  • 二色裱, two color mount
  • 三色裱, three color mount
  • 宣和裱 or 宋式裱,, Xuanhe style/ Song style
  • 中堂裱, large hall painting style

The picture below shows the three colour mount (三色裱)
Three Colour Mount of Dragon Calligraphy by Tai Oi Yee

The styles below are Xuanhe style/ Sung style done with decorative ribbons known as wind ribbons 風帶 or scare swallows 驚燕. The ribbons used to be free flowing in the Sung Dynasty (between 960 and 1279), and the purpose was to scare the swallows from resting at the top of the painting and soiling it.

The style has later evolved to fixed ribbons for decorative purposes as shown below. The one on the right is Xuah He style wit the wind ribbons.



I have been getting enquiries from different countries about scroll mounters that I can recommend. I am based in Toronto, so I cannot really provide any, but I have found these on the internet if the info is helpful to you:

If you have a precious Chinese scroll painting that needs restoration, here are some resources I have found online:



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About inkwashpainting

Follow the heart…go with the flow That’s how I paint, that’s how I live. My sumi paintings are essentially monochromatic. I find boundless freedom in expressing myself through different shades of black, white and grey. I love to use minimal strokes capturing the essence while leaving enough white space for the viewer’s imagination. That stems from the Taoist thinking – sometimes not doing anything is action in itself. You can read more about me at my website: 戴愛兒 - 簡約寫意水墨畫

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