Study of “the original” (3): fundamental principles for the restoration of cultural propertie

 The Department of Research Programming holds workshops on the theme of “the original” in preparation for the International Symposium on the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property which it will host next fiscal year. In December discussion was held with Director General Suzuki Norio who has been engaged in the restoration of cultural properties for many years.
 Today, the fundamental principle for the restoration of cultural properties in Japan is to conduct the minimum necessary treatment without hindering the scientific, historical and aesthetic value of cultural properties and keeping in mind the maintenance of the present condition. However, the question as to where the focus should be placed with regard to the material or the form of cultural properties or on which point in the history of a given cultural property the appearance of that cultural property should be maintained is a matter that is closely related to the fundamental question of where the essential value of cultural properties lies. It is a matter for which a standard rule cannot be laid and which requires many important decisions to be made during restoration.
 What was of interest was the comment that in Japan people have a unique sensitivity and sense of value that find beauty in the changes that passage of time brings to cultural properties – what is often referred to as “ageing” – and hope to transmit it. There was much active discussion since such a way of looking at cultural properties, not merely looking at them in their original but also placing focus on the value brought about by history, has something in common with the idea of “the original” that we wish to propose in the Symposium.

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