International Symposium – Capturing the Original: Archives for Cultural Properties

Session 1 Discussions
Mr. Mark Barnard (The British Library) presenting in Session 3
All symposium presenters and chairpersons

 For three days from December 6 to 8, 2008, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo hosted the 32nd International Symposium on the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties entitled Capturing the Original: Archives for Cultural Properties in the Heiseikan Auditorium of the Tokyo National Museum. The purpose of this symposium was to consider how “original” cultural properties may be transmitted to posterity without affecting their essential value. Presentations were given and discussions were held by 25 persons, including 5 persons from overseas (USA, UK and Taiwan).
 In Session 1 (“Confronting Objects/’Originals’”) on the first day, the fundamental stance towards cultural properties was re-examined, seriously considering those objects deemed to be “original”. In Session 2 (“’Originals’ beyond Objects”) on the second day, various matters that remind people of “originals”, either those that remain or materials related to them, were chosen as topics. In Session 3 (“Handing over ‘Originals’”) on the final day, ways of operating archives for cultural properties that support and transfer the originals were examined, based on the discussions up to that point.
 A total of 281 participants attended the symposium during the three days. There was great interest in the theme of the symposium, which especially sought to capture “originals” from the standpoint of archives for cultural properties. Although focus was placed on Japanese and East Asian art, western aesthetics, contemporary art, and intangible cultural properties were also considered. The Department of Research Programming, which is in charge of the Institute’s archives, served as secretariat for this symposium. There were numerous matters to be considered regarding how cultural properties should be documented while focusing on the original. The Department will continue to deal with these big topics. A detailed report of the presentations and discussions will be published next year.

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