Two international conferences held in China on protection of murals

Group photo of participants at Dunhuang conference
Section Head YAMAUCHI Kazuya delivering his summary speech at the Dunhuang conference
Group photo of participants at Shaanxi Province conference

 National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo is conducting investigative research to protect mural cultural properties over a broad region extending from western Asia to Japan. In October of this year, two international conferences were held, and these were good opportunities to describe those activities, and make an appeal for our goals.
 The first of the two conferences held was the “2014 International Conference on Protection of Ancient Sites on the Silk Road” (October 8–9) commemorating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Dunhuang Academy of China (Dunhuang City, Gansu Province). This academy has had a cooperative relationship with our institute for a quarter of a century. The second conference was the international symposium “Preventive Conservation of Chinese Ancient Murals in Global Perspective” (October 16–17) at the Shaanxi History Museum (Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province). This museum has many years of experience in conservation, restoration, exhibition and publication of tomb murals.
 OKADA Ken and YAMAUCHI Kazuya, Head of the Regional Environment Section of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, were invited by the Dunhuang Academy of China. OKADA gave a keynote address entitled “What Does ‘Conservation’ of Murals Mean?―Thoughts Based on Investigation of Murals in Cave 285 at Mogao.” YAMAUCHI spoke on “Protection of the Bamiyan Murals in Afghanistan,” and at the end, summarizing the conference as a representative of foreign experts, he expressed his hopes that research on protection of murals throughout Eurasia will be carried out through cooperation by experts from all countries.
 OKADA was invited by the Shaanxi History Museum. Based on the results of investigative research on murals in the Takamatsuzuka Burial Mound, which the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo has worked to protect over the last 40 years, he gave a report entitled “Research and Protection of Murals on the Eurasian Continent―The Significance of International Cooperation.” He proposed that understanding of cultural values should be deepened by carrying out mural research with a wide-ranging perspective.

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