Those who study the past too closely are doomed to repeat it
T. and I went down to Mishima this weekend, to eat eels and immerse ourselves in hot water. We also dropped by the Sano Museum to see their exhibit about the new Genji Monogatari picture scroll recreation -- re-enactment, really, given the focus on original methods, tints and tools.
You can get a general idea of the principle by comparing OKADA Motoshi's recreation of the second Suzumushi picture to the original (via Arthur Choi's handy page). Obviously a lot depends on how the images are lit, digitized, and stored, but you can see that Okada's has already lost that shibui, atmospheric feeling that is the very foundation of the appeal of these images to us today.
And Okada's is apparently one of the recreation industry's more subdued styles. The "Heisei recreation", of which no individual piece dates from before the late 1990s, and which is based on the very latest scholarship and investigation, is garish beyond belief. I found the greens especially jarring and ugly. If you saw this stuff in a gift shop, you would assume it was an ultra-cheap knock-off, unfit even to shine the metaphorical boots of the browned, crumbly original -- and yet, the people who commissioned that original, who thought it so appealing and cared for it so well that it survives to this day, delighted in precisely that repulsive shade of aqua.
Lesson: if you revere ancient art to the extent that you come to attach as much importance to the accidents of time and wear as you do to its actual content, do not ever attempt to recreate the original as the ancients themselves saw it. You will only be disappointed.