Study of “the original” (2) – the question of authenticity

Hondo of the Shin’yakushiji temple in Nara (built in the Nara period)
(top) before the Meiji restoration (1897)
(bottom) today
During the restoration in 1897, the building in front of the Hondo was dismantled, causing debate about reproduction

 The Department of Research Programming holds workshops on “the original” in preparation for the International Symposium on the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property which it will host next fiscal year. In the November workshop emphasis was placed on architecture. Inaba Nobuko and Shimizu Shin’ichi of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation joined the discussions, the former on the 14th and the latter on the 21st. Unlike paintings and sculptures which are carefully conserved indoors, buildings are exposed to the elements or are necessarily subjected to repeated repairs and renovations because they are used as residences and facilities. In addition to such characteristic of buildings, that they are subject to change, the differences in the materials employed, be it wood or stone, call for different maintenance methods. This in turn creates differences in the concept for their conservation among different cultures in which different materials are prevalent. The question as to which form of a building in which period of its history and using what type of materials is to be handed down – in other words, the question of authenticity, is a topic for endless discussion.

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