International Symposium Titled “Use of Standard Vocabularies in Art and History Areas – Getty Vocabulary Program Activities and Japan”
An international symposium titled “Use of Standard Vocabularies in Art and History Areas – Getty Vocabulary Program Activities and Japan” took place at the National Museum of Japanese History on June 16th, 2018. Researcher Hideki KIKKAWA attended the symposium from the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems so as to report on the progress of providing data on Japanese artist names to the Union List of Artist Names of the Getty Research Institute. You may not frequently hear the word “standard vocabularies,” which supports the informatization and distribution of personal and geographical names by standardizing their notation. For this symposium, planned by Dr. Makoto GOTO (Professor at the National Museum of Japanese History), Mr. Jonathan WARD (Senior Editor of the Getty Vocabulary Program) gave a lecture on the concept of Getty Vocabularies and their current utilization status, and Ms. Sophy Chen (Associate Researcher at the Institute of History and Philosophy, Academia Sinica) lectured about multilingualization of vocabularies. Following these lectures, researchers from Japanese related institutions also gave reports on personal name information, corporate area information, contemporary art information, and operation of Linked Open Data. During the panel discussion, contributions made by Japan to Getty Vocabularies were discussed. Additionally, on June 18th, 2018, Mr. Ward and persons in charge from the National Museum of Japanese History, the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, and the Tokyo National Museum were invited to this Institute to consult on how standard vocabularies associated with cultural properties should be in Japan. These opportunities allowed us to share the possibility of collaboration among the institutions creating standard vocabulary databases in Japan.
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) drastically renewed the cultural property database in 2014 by using WordPress, a content management system. WordPress is an open source system used on a third of the websites in the world now. Its formal event, WordCamp, took place 128 times in 48 countries and regions in 2017 alone. In the Word Camp Osaka 2018 (https://2018.osaka.wordcamp.org/) held in Osaka on June 2nd, 2018, three researchers: Tomohiro OYAMADA, Yoko FUTAGAMI, and Taiki MISHIMA gave a joint presentation titled “Make a cultural property information database using WordPress” so as to report on how to customize and operate using WordPress for the cultural property database. After the presentation, active information exchange was carried out based on lots of questions asked by people engaged in system operation at local governments and research institutions.
Each of the operations required for TNRICP is unique. The information system which accumulates and transmits its achievements also requires uniqueness. We shall willingly release findings accumulated through the development and operation of the information system, in addition to our research outcomes.
Reading Books on the Art of Painting by the Early Modern Tosa School – Seminar by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems
For the monthly seminar by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems held on June 26th, 2018, Senior Researcher Mayumi ONO delivered a presentation titled “Study of “Honcho Gaho Taiden” written by TOSA Mitsuoki – Getting “Gaguseihou Heisenhou Gokuhiden” as a Clue” with Ms. Miho SHIMOHARA (Kagoshima University) as commentator.
TOSA Mitsuoki (1634-1654) is a painter regarded as “a contributor to the revival of the Tosa family” since he reacquired the position of court painter (edokoro azukari) that had for many years been held by the Tosa family. Mitsuoki painted lots of new and elegant works by introducing Song and Yuan painting styles and sketches into the traditional Yamato-e painting.
Honcho Gaho Taiden (possessed by Tokyo University of the Arts) is one of the books on brushwork written by Mitsuoki representing the early modern period. For this seminar, the coloring method mentioned in this book was compared to those referred to in the books on the art of painting at the Kano school: Honcho Gaden by KANO Einou and Gasen by HAYASI Moriatsu, and sketches by KANO Tsunenobu which are owned by the Tokyo National Museum. For example, as for the color called urumi, Mitsuoki wrote that “after applying cochineal red, indigo blue is attained.” However, the books on brushwork for the Kano school indicate another method under which whitewash is mixed. Accordingly, when referring to Tsunenobu’s sketches, urumi is mentioned as notes of Yamabato-zu (picture of turtledoves) and Kuzu-zu (picture of arrowroots). It turns out that actual colors unique to turtledove legs and arrowroot flowers are consistent with the coloring method Mitsuoki wrote about. These comparisons have clarified that the contents of Honcho Gaho Taiden are more practical and concrete than those of the other brushwork books.
At the seminar, various comments were offered from the viewpoints of the Tosa, Sumiyoshi, and Kano schools, as well as research on Japanese-style painting. By further studying Mitsuoki’s book along with these researchers, the study of brushwork in the Edo period is expected to advance.
Mr. Tamon MIKI, who passed away in April 2018 at the age of 89, wrote as an aggressive critic in modern and contemporary art with focus on sculpture. After working for the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, and the Cultural Properties Protection Department of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, he held directorial posts at the National Museum of Art, Osaka, the Tokushima Modern Art Museum, and the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.
His bereaved family has indicated their intention to donate his manuscripts related to fine arts to the Institute through an intermediary, Ms. Eri NAKAYAMA working as a curator for the Koriyama City Museum of Art. The manuscripts include valuable materials regarding the postwar art trends, in addition to his achievements such as fine art articles written for newspapers and magazines, notebooks with records of his overseas visits in detail, and scrapbooks to organize handouts for exhibitions held at galleries. After they are filed at this institute, they will be accessible for browsing and utilization as research materials.
On June 17th, 2018, a traditional rite for Ainu people called icarpa was established out on the Ichani Karikariusu-iseki Ruins (nationally designated site) inside the Po-gawa River Historical Nature Park in Shibetsu Town, Hokkaido. Researchers of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage also visited the site.
Shibetsu Icarpa is a memorial service for 23 Ainu people who were executed due to the Menashi-Kunashir rebellion in 1789, one of the resistance activities against the Wajin (the ethnic Japanese). The icarpa, organized by the Shibetsu municipal Ainu Association, was started in 2009, and it commemorated its tenth anniversary this year. For the first half of the rite, kamuinomi was established to offer sacred sake to the gods. For the last half of the rite, icarpa was conducted as a memorial service for the deceased. At the end of the rite, a song and a dance called upopo and rimse were performed.
Shibetsu Icarpa was carried out at the Ichani Karikariusu-iseki Ruins, where a settlement had been formed most probably in the period when the Tobinitai culture had flourished from an archaeological perspective (circa 9th – 13th century). Together with Shibetsu Wetlands spreading in front of the site, it is now preserved in the Po-gawa River Historical Nature Park. Strictly speaking, the zenith of prosperity in the site is not consistent with the time when the rebellion occurred. Given that the site was run by their ancestors, it seems to have been chosen as a ritual place for reviving the traditional rite for Ainu people.
In recent years, following the requirement of utilization of cultural properties, the case of Shibetsu Icarpa may become one of the good models in the utilization of relics. This is because utilization is realized by making good use of an intangible element of the site or “cultural space” as the land of the ancestors. That is, the historical value of the site can be considered utilized as a cultural resource in today’s cultural renaissance for the Ainu.
On the other hand, the value of the Ichani Karikariusu-iseki Ruins does not belong to Ainu people only. In time, with Shibetsu Icarpa, “Po-gawa River Festival” is held for local citizens by organizing a variety of events such as canoeing, historic spot guide touring by curators, and Jomon kids’ village. As part of the educational program, local school children continually participate in the icarpa in an attempt to understand the local culture. Although most of the residents in Shibetsu Town do not trace their roots to the Ainu, the site is utilized as a local cultural resource for these people too. At the same time, the site also serves as a place of interaction between people who have Ainu ancestry and non-Ainu ancestry.
Recently, one city and four towns in Eastern Hokkaido including Shibetsu Town (Nemuro City, Betsukai Town, Shibetsu Town, Nakashibetsu Town and Rausu Town) have started an activity to jointly nominate the heritage of this area as Japan Heritage. The Ichani Karikariusu-iseki Ruins is positioned as its key component. In Hokkaido, a region where people with diverse roots live in harmony, how to honor its local heritage is a difficult issue. We will continually pay attention to the movements in Eastern Hokkaido including Shibetsu Town.
The Institute of Asian Cultural Studies and the Peace Research Institute of International Christian University, and Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties held a symposium titled “Towards a History of “HERE”: Learning from the Phantom Jet Engine” at the University on June 2nd, 2018. This symposium focused on looking back at the history of International Christian University (hereafter called “ICU”) founded on the premises of the research institute of the Nakajima Aircraft Company, which developed three jet engine components discovered on the campus in 2015, while widely sharing their values as cultural properties.
For the first half of the symposium, Mr. Masahisa TAKAYANAGI, a teacher at ICU High School, talked about how the components were discovered, and their significance. Then, Mr. Hiroyuki NAGASHIMA, former visiting researcher at this Institute, introduced the outcomes of the survey on cultural properties conducted jointly by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Japan Aeronautic Association in 2017; and Mr. Shigeyoshi KANDA, a visiting researcher at this Institute, presented reference information contributing to their publication and utilization in the future. For the last half of the symposium, following the screening of a video work produced by students, Mr. Hikaru OKUIZUMI, a writer, Dr. Yoko KATO, a professor at the University of Tokyo, and Dr. Masakatsu OKADO, a professor at Yokohama National University, gave their perspectives from their own points of view in a bid to evoke speculation about the jet engines, and the histories of the Tama area and World War II. At the end of the symposium, a comprehensive discussion was created based on questions from the audience.
ICU is expected to continually consider conservation and utilization approaches that are unique to education and research institutions by clarifying the histories of the university and the surrounding area and using cultural properties to convey their values to many people while reviewing the issues presented by them.
Training for “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation” in the “Human Resource Development Project toward the Improvement of the Conservation and Management System for Mural Paintings in the Republic of Turkey”
As part of the above-mentioned program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the training for “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation” was conducted at the St. Theodore (Tagar) Church in Cappadocia from June 25th to 28th, 2018. Similar to the previous year, this second training program attracted 30 conservators and restorers from 10 national conservation and restoration centers in the Republic of Turkey.
This training aims to review the existing emergency procedures working as the linchpin to conserve mural paintings in Turkey, as well as to establish the protocol. For this training, the conservation status of the frescoes painted inside the rock-hewn church was carefully observed for recording, and the plaster with flaking risks was temporarily held on. On the last day of the training, the techniques and materials used as emergency measures were discussed with the trainees.
As for the first seminar held in October 2017, introductory lectures on basic concepts in conservation and restoration of wall paintings were delivered. This practical training allowed the trainees to experience concrete intervention methods while contemplating which specific emergency measures would work under the framework of the previous seminar. The trainees commented that the objective of the training became clearer due to this on-site training.
The next training will be conducted in October 2018. Aiming for the skill enhancement through the continued on-the-job training, the trainers and trainees will invest much effort into the establishment of the protocol for emergency procedures in Turkey.
From May 28th to June 13th, 2018, the International Course on Paper Conservation in Latin America: Meeting with the East, was held as part of the LATAM program (conservation of cultural heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean). This course has been jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH). It has been held since 2012 at the Coordinacion Nacional de Conservacion del Patrimonio Cultural (CNCPC), which belongs to INAH, in Mexico City. This year, 11 conservation specialists from 8 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Spain) participated.
TNRICP hosted the first part of the course (May 29th to June 5th). TNRICP researchers and the instructor, who is from a certified group that holds the Selected Conservation Techniques dubbed “Restoration Techniques of Mounting,” offered practical works and lectures on the materials, tools, and techniques used for conservation. The objective of these sessions was to apply Japanese restoration techniques to cultural properties overseas. The practical session was carried out with CNCPC staff members, who learned “Restoration Techniques of Mounting” for several months at TNRICP.
In the latter half of the course (June 6th to June 13th), specialists in the restoration of cultural properties from Mexico, Spain, and Argentina gave lectures. The main theme was the application of traditional handmade Japanese paper to Western conservation and restoration techniques. They spoke about how to select materials and apply their techniques to Western paper cultural properties. The lecturers had previously participated in international courses organized by TNRICP, and we were able to reaffirm that informational and practical exchanges through these courses contribute to the protection of cultural properties overseas.
From June 24th through July 4th, 2018, the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee was held in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. Staff members of this institute attended the session, and collected information on a variety of discussions over the World Heritage Convention.
During the deliberation of inscription on the World Heritage List, the Committee often adopted decisions against recommendations by the Advisory Bodies as with the previous year. Among the nineteen sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, the Advisory Bodies had determined that seven sites were not sufficient as World Heritage Sites. This year in particular, some of the sites on which non-inscription had been recommended by the Advisory Bodies were decided to be inscribed on the List by the Committee. Several States Parties attending the session as observers criticized the attitude of the Committee members referring to it as disregard for expertise.
The States Parties will also suffer adverse effects from ignoring recommendations from the Advisory Bodies. Forceful inscription will obscure the value of the sites, prevent establishing proper boundaries and eventually cause trouble in the conservation and management of the inscribed sites. In response to such unfavorable circumstances, the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre have made efforts to achieve mutual understanding and improvement in nomination details through dialogues with States Parties during the evaluation process. However, that has not achieved satisfactory outcomes so far.
Under the circumstances, “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region” nominated by Japan, whose registration had been recommended by the Advisory Bodies, were unanimously decided to be inscribed on the List. Although their nomination dossier was submitted once in 2015, it was withdrawn considering the Advisory Bodies’ opinion, followed by its refinement over two years. As Japan realized this inscription with a huge amount of efforts through re-nomination, its sincere approach to implement the World Heritage Convention is highly esteemed.
Exhibition “Making notes of Japanese Art History―The research notes of Aimi Kouu, Tanaka Ichimatsu, and Doi Tsugiyoshi”
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties collects the materials of its former researchers and utilizes them as research archives. Approximately 70 items of the Tanaka Ichimatsu （1895 – 1983）archive, such as notebooks, records, and photographs, were displayed to the public for the first time in the exhibition “Making notes of Japanese Art History―The research notes of Aimi Kouu, Tanaka Ichimatsu, and Doi Tsugiyoshi” jointly held by Kosetsu Memorial Museum, Jissen Women’s University, and the Museum and Archives of Kyoto Institute of Technology. This exhibition gathers together the study notes of the three researchers who led Japanese art history from the Meiji period to the Showa period: Aimi Kouu（1874 – 1970）, Tanaka Ichimatsu, and Doi Tsugiyoshi（1906 – 91）. The exhibition allows visitors to experience how these predecessors of Japanese art history viewed and recorded the artworks they studied. Tanaka was skilled at drawing from childhood; his sketches of artworks throughout his life are excellent and suggest the importance of recording by hand, even in the current digital age. The exhibition was held at Jissen Women’s University in Tokyo between May 12th and June 16th, 2018, was visited by a total of 953 people for 32 days, and closed successfully. The exhibition is scheduled to be held at Kyoto Institute of Technology from June 25th to August 11th.
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) has published a database for 61 lists of calligraphers and painters issued in the Meiji and Taisho periods (http://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/
banduke). This database has been reconstructed from the original one accessible exclusively with a dedicated application, which was created based on the collection of Mr. Shigeru AOKI, an art historian, as an outcome of Scientific Research on Priority Areas: Inventions in the Edo Period (Planned Research A03 “Research on the establishment of categorizations of objects and techniques in Japanese modern art”) in 2004.
For reconstruction, the database became accessible through different types of equipment with universal technologies, without depending on specific applications. To enhance the legibility of the details, the lists were photographed again at a high resolution.
Using the original name and classification data, a new database, focusing on the names, was created (http://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/
banduke_name) and linked with the photographic images owned by TNRICP. These lists alone are just arrays of names, but they will surely allow you to explore new possibilities from the database as a platform. We would be glad if you could experience the great potential of the database with the linked images.
Finally, we express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Aoki and those who were involved in creation of the original database, as well as the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama, which now possesses these lists, and Ms. Saki NAGATO, its curator.
Storage, Conservation and Provision of Archives at the University of California, Los Angeles – Seminar by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems
In the seminar conducted on May 23rd, 2018, by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, Researcher Hideki KIKKAWA delivered a presentation titled “Storage, Conservation and Provision of Archives at the University of California, Los Angeles – Taking YOSHIDA Yoshie Collection as an Example.” The presenter visited the departments involved in the storage, conservation, and provision of archives at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and consulted with the concerned personnel on the occasion of opening the collection on YOSHIDA Yoshie, a Japanese critic, at UCLA in February 2018. Based on his visit and consultation at UCLA, the presenter reported the outlines of UCLA and its group of libraries, as well as how to manage archives, while discussing not only a budget scale for archives but also a more effective way of operating archives at domestic institutions with less personnel assigned. From outside the Institute, artist Ms. Yoshiko SHIMADA, who was involved in the donation to UCLA, and curator Mr. Yukinori OKAMURA from Maruki Gallery for the Hiroshima Panels, the gallery of Mr. and Mrs. Maruki, who had close relationships with YOSHIDA Yoshie, attended the seminar to exchange opinions from the viewpoints of specialists during the discussion after the presentation. In recent years, when artists and concerned personnel who pioneered postwar Japanese art have begun to pass away, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties is now expected to partially assume the role of securing the access to their archives without dissipation at a permanent institution.
Joint Research on Kokuzo Bosatsu (Akashagarbha Bodhisattva) and Senju Kannon (Sahasrabhuja Avalokitesvara) (owned by the Tokyo National Museum)
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Tokyo National Museum (TNM) have jointly conducted optical research on Buddhist paintings in TNM’s collection. As part of this joint research, high-resolution photography with image dividing technique and analyses of coloring materials using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry were conducted on paintings of Kokuzo Bosatsu (Akashagarbha Bodhisattva) and Senju Kannon (Sahasrabhuja Avalokitesvara) from May 22nd to 23rd, 2018. These Buddhist paintings, which are representative of the later part of the Heian period, were produced with a particularly sophisticated aesthetic sense and a highly developed painting technique; the delicate and elegant depiction of their subjects is their most significant feature. Through this joint research on Buddhist paintings of the Heian period, high-definition color, near-infrared, and fluorescent images have been obtained. A comprehensive analysis of coloring materials using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry was carried out for the essential parts of the painting such as the subjects’ faces, bodies, clothes, accessories, belongings, and halos, as well as the canopies and backgrounds. The results of this analysis are not only beneficial for the understanding of each artwork but are important indicators for Japanese art history. After this, we will conduct further research, examine our results, and proceed to publish them as research materials.
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been conducting research exchanges with the National Intangible Heritage Center in the Republic of Korea since 2008. During the exchange, staff members of each institution stay at the other institution to conduct research while holding joint symposiums. As part of this research exchange, Tomo ISHIMURA, Head of the Audio-Visual Documentation Section of the Department, stayed in Korea for overseas research for two weeks from April 23rd to May 7th, 2018.
The objectives of overseas research currently was to research the movements of anthropological and ethnological studies made by Japanese researchers in the Korean Peninsula during the colonial period and to critically redefine their significance today. In this instance, research was conducted to retrace the steps of Professor Seiichi IZUMI (1915-1970), who worked as an assistant professor at Keijo Imperial University in the Korean Peninsula until the end of the war and was involved in the establishment of Japan’s first Cultural Anthropology Department at the University of Tokyo after returning to Japan.
During the first half of the research in Korea, Tomo ISHIMURA visited Jeju Island where Professor IZUMI conducted research in the 1930s and 1960s, in order to organize a hearing survey in the villages that Professor IZUMI had visited. The society on Jeju Island drastically changed due to the Jeju uprising that lasted from 1948 through 1954. It resulted in the replacement of most village residents. Fortunately, ISHIMURA could meet an old man who had been living in the same village since the 1930s when Professor IZUMI conducted the first research. ISHIMURA succeeded in clarifying the tangible changes in the village. Through research, Professor IZUMI defined multiple families who jointly owned a flour mill as a “molbange (mill) association” by regrading such a group of families as a unit comprising the social aggregation on Jeju Island. However, through the current research, ISHIMURA found that the use of the mill almost ceased from the 1950s to 1960s and that not only social changes but also mechanization of flour milling affected the extinction.
In the last half of the research in Korea, ISHIMURA stayed at Jeonju, where the National Intangible Heritage Center is located. He organized the details of his research on Jeju Island to report the achievements at the workshop while expanding exchanges with the staff members at the National Intangible Heritage Center．
Through this study in Korea, ISHIMURA confirmed that Korean society including Jeju Island drastically changed during the prewar and postwar periods and that former anthropological and ethnological research materials are significant today in understanding such changing processes.
Last but not least, we would like to express sincere gratitude to Myung Jin LEE (National Intangible Heritage Center) and Doc Woo LEE (Kanagawa University), who supported his study during this research exchange.
Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of the Damaged Cultural Properties in Nepal (Part 10)
As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have continually provided technical assistance to Nepal. Already, in 2018, we have dispatched on-site research missions in February, March, April, and May.
For the rehabilitation of the Aganchen Temple and its associated buildings in the Hanumandhoka Palace in Kathmandu, we surveyed detailed specifications and traces of transformation of the brick masonry surfaces of the inner walls whose finishing layers had peeled off. The brick masonry, all of which looks the same, differs in material, dimension, or construction method according to age. Evidence remains at places where the wall or opening was altered. Observation following the cleaning inside cracks blocked by the rubble that had collapsed from the upper section, revealed numerous clues to retrace the history of various extensions and alterations since its construction in the 17th century. The number of targets to be clarified through further research has increased, including the existence of an unknown mural painting unveiled during this process. We have further increased our awareness of this building’s great value as physical evidence to comprehend history, in addition to the highly elaborate work applied to the subsequently altered sections as a particularly important building in the palace.
As preparations for the rehabilitation work are being made under the direction of experts dispatched from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), we are cooperating in the examination of concrete conservation methods and consultation with the relevant institutions in Nepal. Although the work has not yet begun due to various difficulties in procedures, as a united team we would like to make every effort to conserve the building’s value as a cultural heritage.
Meanwhile, we have continued to cooperate in the conservation of historic settlements in the Kathmandu Valley. In May 2018, we organized a workshop at the historic settlement of Sankhu, inscribed in the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites of Nepal, but seriously damaged by the earthquake, for those officers in charge of public administration in each city holding jurisdiction over historic areas and settlements. Under the theme of conservation of historic water channel networks, participants from six cities discussed their current situations and issues together with urban design experts, and developed six suggestions. The outcomes will be shared with those concerned in other cities who could not attend the workshop this time. We expect the suggestions will help to conserve each historic settlement.
Conducting Training Seminars to Conserve and Restore Paper Cultural Properties for Syrian Experts and Providing Materials Related to Syrian Cultural Heritage
In Syria, the Middle East, a conflict that began in March 2011 has not ended even after seven years. The conflict has caused serious damages to both the Syrian people and their precious cultural heritage.
Since 2017, the Japanese government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have been supporting Syria in preserving its cultural heritage. In addition to the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, academic institutions, such as the University of Tsukuba, Teikyo University, Waseda University, Chubu University, and the Ancient Orient Museum, plan to accept Syrian experts for a variety of training seminars in archaeology, and conservation and restoration of cultural properties, since February 2018.
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) invited two Syrian specialists to Japan from May 15th to 30th, 2018, (two weeks) to conduct training seminars on conservation and restoration of paper cultural properties. At the seminars organized in cooperation with the National Diet Library and the National Archives of Japan, they learned basic restoration and conservation methods for documents and books.
In January 2018, a news report that the ruins of the Ain Dara Temple, built in Northwestern Syria during the Syro-Hittite period, were severely damaged by an air raid was released. For this temple, TNRICP conducted a conservation and restoration project from 1994 through 1996. Project leader and Researcher Emeritus Tadateru NISHIURA provided related materials of that time. The materials were offered to the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria through the Syrian specialists invited to the seminars for utilization in the smooth restoration of the remains. In addition, valuable old photographic data on Aleppo, Damascus, and Palmyra, shot by Shin WADA in 1929 and 1930, which are now in possession of TNRICP were provided.
Koai TAKEMURA and Female Japanese-Style Painters in the Meiji Era – Seminar by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems
At the monthly seminar conducted by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems on April 24th, 2018, a presentation was made, titled “Koai TAKEMURA and Female Japanese-Style Painters in the Meiji Era,” by Tai TADOKORO (Associate Fellow of the Department).
Koai TAKEMURA was a female Japanese-style painter in the Meiji Era well known for her paintings of flowers, birds, and landscapes. While Koai is also considered a fine art educator now, her life and works as a painter have been scarcely revealed. Based on her diaries in the possession of the library of Kyoritsu Women’s University, this presentation unveiled her painting career focusing on her activities as a painter, along with a study of the aspects of other female painters’ activities in the Meiji era.
Koai was born in Edo in 1852 as the daughter of a feudal retainer of Sendai Domain. Her real name was Chisa or Sada. She showed a keen interest in painting and pictures even as a child. She learned painting from Kazunobu KANO, Kinkoku YAMAMOTO, Nammei HARUKI, Togai KAWAKAMI, and other masters. Koai studied various schools of painting, and even produced Western-style works. Endowed with good English language skills, she assumed the post of assistant professor in English at Tokyo Women’s Normal School in 1876. From around 1877, as a professor in painting, she devoted herself to the education of women. In 1889, she joined the Japan Art Association. Her work, Yochihoiku-zu (Scene of Children’s Education), displayed at the exhibition of the Association held in the fall of the following year, was awarded the bronze prize, and the painting was bought by Prince Arisugawa Taruhito, the Honorary Patron of the Association. In April 1898, she resigned from the Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School due to an illness. However, two months after her resignation, Keikanyuri-zu (Lily in the Valley), displayed in the first exhibition of the Japanese Painting Associateon, was highly commended as the best by Masao GEJO, honorary members of the Society, and Kampo ARAKI. In addition, Yuri-zu (Picture of Lily) was conferred the bronze prize in the women’s department of the Japan-British Exhibition of 1910. In this work, depth and spatial breadth were expressed in her use of weak/strong outlines, gradations of color, and layout of motifs.
Koai also taught painting to her disciples at home, which totaled to almost 150 people including women and young ladies of peerage, as well as foreign women.
Taking a close look at her activities, it is clear that women painters in the Meiji era had their own role and demand during the period. Against the activity on the center stage of the art world of showing paintings at exhibitions, their role was related to backstage activities.
Further research on the activities and interactions of female painters in this period will help reveal their actual situation, aspects of their social recognition, and their development toward prosperity during the Taisho era.
The Institute has been proceeding research studies of cultural properties in various ways and releasing the results. This time, the digital contents of Illustrated Handscroll of The Tale of Genji (The Tokugawa Art Museum), Birds and Flowers of Four Seasons Screens and The Western Kings on Horseback Screens (Suntory Museum of Art) have been produced and launched to open access in the Tobunken Library. Various images such as high resolution color images, X-ray images and near infrared images and analysis results of color materials by X-ray fluorescence spectrometer are on display on a dedicated terminal device. It is for academic and study purposes only and coping and printing are prohibited, but abundant information on the artworks utilizing the characteristics of digital images is available. In addition to those three artworks, nine artworks in all have been released such as The Eleven-Headed Kannon (Nara National Museum), The Hikone Screen (Hikone Castle Museum),Genre Figures said to be Honda Heihachiro Screen, Kabuki Performance Handscroll, Various Amusements known as the Sooji Byobu Screen (The Tokugawa Art Museum), and Red and White Plum Blossoms Screens (MOA Museum of Art). It is planned to add newly digital contents of other artworks and provide exclusive research materials. A display terminal is available for accessing the images and information during the opening hours of the Library. For more information about the Library, please see the Visitor’s Guide.
In the Kariyado area, Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture, intangible cultural heritage such as “Shishimai (Deer Dance)” and “Kagura (sacred Shinto music and dance)” have been passed down from generation to generation. In 2011, however, all residents of the area evacuated due to serious nuclear accidents caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The succession of their folk performing arts also faced a crisis. Therefore, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage conducted several surveys to accumulate information on Shishimai and Kagura, as well as the history and life of the area supporting such intangible cultural heritage, in order to compile it into a folk journal. In March 2018, “Kariyado Folk Journal” was finally published.
Although the residents were allowed to return to their homes in the Kariyado area in April 2017, only some households have returned now in a year. Under the circumstances, a “Monument for the Reconstruction of the Kariyado Area Devastated by the Great Earthquake” was built, hoping for the recovery of the area. Its unveiling ceremony was held on April 21st and was attended by Hiromichi KUBOTA from the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage. During the ceremony, the newly published folk journal, whose number of copies is large enough to be distributed to all households in the Kariyado area, was introduced to the public. We hope that this folk journal will contribute not only to the succession of the intangible cultural heritage of the area but also to the further progress of the reconstruction of the area.
As part of the “Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Mitigation Network Promotion Project” (a project subsidized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs), the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage developed a website called “INTANGIBLE” to start its publication and operation for intangible cultural heritage lovers. Prompt relief and recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake were hindered due to very limited information on devastated intangible cultural heritage and its support. Particularly, intangible cultural heritage includes numerous assets other than designated cultural properties. To collect such diverse information, networks for the people involved and lovers were focused on.
This website was started to share information required for the construction of such networks. To attract as many web surfers as possible, news and backstage reports on intangible cultural heritage, as well as the gallery and collection pages for lovers, have been provided. Along with the unique characters of the website, friendly pages will welcome all visitors.