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 October 15th to 20th, 2018. Like the previous training in June, this third 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. In this third training program, we conducted experiments for various effective restoration materials to use in emergency procedures from diversified perspectives, and all the trainees verified the results. On the last day of the training, the Head of the Analytical Science Section, Dr. Masahide INUZUKA, delivered a presentation on the research outcomes of the terahertz imaging technology used for wall paintings in the Takamatsuzuka Tumulus at Cappadocia University. During the training, opinions were also exchanged over how mural paintings should be conserved and restored in Japan and Turkey.
The participants commented that they learned a great deal from the process of reverifying the characteristics of the restoration materials with which they were familiar, as well as from knowing the efforts being made for conservation and restoration of wall paintings outside of Turkey, where those opportunities are rare.
The next training will be conducted in June 2019. With the goal of skill enhancement through continued on-the-job training, the trainers and trainees will invest their efforts into establishing the protocol for emergency procedures in Turkey.
The 29th European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists (EAJRS) conference took place at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania, from September 12th through 15th, 2018. EAJRS is an association comprising librarians, professors, curators, and other specialists who handle Japanese studies materials in Europe. The 2018 conference organized under the title of “(G)localizing Japanese Studies Resources” attracted 82 members from 20 countries (44 from Europe, 34 from Asia and 4 from North America). Mr. Hideki KIKKAWA, Researcher of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems of this Institute reported the progress of the “Project to Make Japanese Exposition and Exhibition Materials Published from the Meiji to the Showa Open Access,” on which the Institute has been working together with the Getty Research Institute. During the Q & A period after the presentation, the expectations for the project were expressed and a lot of requests were made. This period provided us with a precious opportunity for further development of the project in the light of the received requests such as the one requiring the materials covered under the project to be increased or expanded. The annual conference consisted of 14 sessions, where 31 presentations were delivered, including the ones on studies of Japanese material collections and facilities having such collections delivered and introduced by overseas institutions, as well as a variety of activities and services to support overseas Japanese studies introduced by Japanese institutions. Opinions were actively exchanged in various places of the venue. Please access the URL of EAJRS for details of the conference program (https://www.eajrs.net/). The 2018 conference successfully ended after deciding the 2019 conference schedule to be held in Zurich (Switzerland).
Participation of the World Social Science Forum (WSSF), and Invitation of a Traditional Navigator from Micronesia
The “World Social Science Forum (WSSF)” took place in Fukuoka City from September 25th through 28th, 2018. This is one of the largest international conferences on social science. The opening ceremony, which was held on September 25th, was attended by Their Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako. His Imperial Highness Crown Prince Naruhito delivered the opening speech. On September 26th, the session “Protection and Promotion of Heritage and the Diversity of Cultural Expressions to Foster Culture of Belongings in Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) under Globalization and Climate Change” co-chaired by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States took place. Prior to the session, to exchange opinions particularly on the conservation and utilization of canoes as intangible cultural heritage, the Institute invited Mr. Larry RAIGETAL, who has traditional navigation technique and heads up Waa’gey, an NGO working on revival of canoe culture and environmental issues based in Yap State of the Federated States of Micronesia.
Mr. Tomo ISHIMURA, from the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, TNRICP and Dr. Akatsuki TAKAHASHI from the UNESCO Office for the Pacific States moderated the session. In addition to the presentations by Mr. Raigetal, Ms. Sandy MORRISON (University of Waikato), a researcher on the native tribe in New Zealand (the Maori), and Mr. Yuji KURIHARA (Executive Vice Director of Kyoto National Museum), Dr. Matori YAMAMOTO (Hosei University), the President of the Japanese Society for Oceanic Studies, offered a comment. At the session, an active discussion was held over how to conserve tangible and intangible cultural heritage in the Pacific States and how it should be developed further into the renaissance of culture.
During the presentation, Mr. Raigetal expressed his opinion that the conservation of traditional culture in a sustainable manner under the current circumstances of climatic change and globalization would result in finding a key to solving the problems of modern society while referring to traditional navigation technique for canoes acquired by him, particularly to his knowledge on star navigation. The opinion of Mr. Raigetal, who has wide international knowledge by attending the Conferences of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was a precious, thought-provoking one.
On September 29th after the forum, we were invited to the workshop organized by the Nippon Voyaging Association (Representative: Mr. Tomoki OKU) in Hyuga City, Miyazaki Prefecture. Mr. Raigetal exchanged opinions with the members of the NPO association. The association has been working on the restoration of traditional navigation canoes donated by the Republic of Palau to Japan and their test navigation, as well as on attempts to revive ancient Japanese navigation technique. Through the exchange between the association and Mr. Raigetal, the linkage of canoe culture is expected to extend from the Pacific States to Japan, boosting the momentum for interactions between the two regions.
TNRICP has been involved in international cooperation for conservation and utilization of canoe culture in the Pacific States by organizing “the First Canoe Summit” at the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture held in Guam in May 2016. Presently, people in the Pacific States are getting the momentum rolling toward the nomination of canoe culture as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. TNRICP hopes that it will contribute further to such a movement as part of its international cooperation.
Development of a New Insecticidal Treatment Method for Historical Wooden Structures- On-Site Inspection of the Bell Tower of Chuzen-ji Temple
On September 10th, 2018, we visited Chuzen-ji Temple to inspect the “Humidity-controlled warm air treatment ” for its bell tower. This treatment method aims to expel noxious insects harming pillars and beams of wooden structures under a high temperature (around 60°C). Usually, as the temperature increases, wooden building materials crack or strain. However, it is possible to increase the temperature inside the wood almost without affecting its physical property, since the temperature rises while the humidity in the treated space is controlled with the wood water content maintained at a certain level. The conventional yet sole insecticidal method for historical wooden structures is fumigation treatment, where a structure sealed with covering is filled with vaporized pesticide to exterminate noxious insects inside the wood. However, vaporized gas also affects human health, thus, requiring safety measures against greater risks. Accordingly, it was hard to implement such large-scale treatment for wooden structures continually. This Humidity-controlled warm air treatment is expected as a new approach to overcome such a challenge.
So far, a research team comprising the Association for the Preservation of the Nikko World Heritage Site Shrines and Temples, Kyoto University, Kyushu National Museum, Total System Laboratory Co., the Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments, National Museum of Ethnology, Natural History Museum and Institute, Chiba, and Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been proceeding with the studies from basic research for application to old wooden buildings to establishment of application technique. In the basic research, we verified the humidity distribution in the treated space during the test with a chamber, as well as the temperature distribution inside the wood, measured surface strain, and effects on wooden materials. Then, following the treatment testing with a model structure by using a pilot unit manufactured to control the temperature and humidity of actual structures, we finally realized on-site treatment testing of a historical wooden structure for the second time in Japan after Aizendo Hall of Chuzen-ji Temple. We would like to move ahead with this research toward the dissemination as one of new insecticidal methods while organizing these two treatment test results obtained from two buildings of Chuzen-ji Temple.
The congress of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC) was held from September 10th to 14th in Turin, Italy. From Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Dr. Masahide INUZUKA of the Center for Conservation Science participated in the congress.
The theme of this congress was “preventive conservation.” Therefore, as well as the specific topics about conservation environments, material analyses and restoration, the importance of preventive conservation, leadership required for experts, public engagement and other relevant subjects were discussed.
In the session about preventive conservation for historic sites, Dr. Inuzuka made a presentation on the condensation problems and their preventive measures in a conservation facility for a decorated tumulus in Japan. In the poster sessions, the history of the environmental inspection of museums conducted by the Preventive Conservation Section was reported and information was exchanged with attendants from other countries.
The International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper was run from August 27th to September 14th, 2018. This course has been jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) since 1992. It is aimed at contributing to the protection of cultural property outside Japan by disseminating the knowledge and techniques of conservation and restoration of paper cultural property in Japan to participants from around the world. This year, 10 specialists in conservation from 10 countries (Argentina, Australia, Bhutan, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, France, Poland, the UK and Zambia) were selected as participants among 80 applications from 38 countries.
The course was composed of lectures, practical sessions and an excursion. The lectures covered protection systems of both tangible and intangible cultural property in Japan, basic insights into Japanese paper, traditional conservation materials and tools. The practical sessions were led by instructors from a certified group holding the Selected Conservation Techniques on “Restoration techniques for mounts.” The participants gained experience of restoration work of paper cultural property from cleaning it to mounting it in a handscroll. Japanese-style bookbinding and handling of folding screens and hanging scrolls were also included in the sessions. The excursion to the cities of Nagoya, Mino and Kyoto, arranged in the middle of the course, offered an opportunity to see folding screens and sliding doors in historic buildings, the Japanese papermaking which is designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property of Japan (Honminoshi), a traditional restoration studio, and so forth. On the last day, the conservation materials for paper cultural properties and approach to the selection of appropriate materials for paper conservation were discussed.
The participants could gain a deeper understanding of not only conservation materials and tools used in Japan but also conservation approaches and techniques using Japanese paper throughout this course. We hope that the knowledge and techniques they acquired in the course will be applied to conservation and restoration of cultural property overseas.
On August 3rd (Fri.), 2018, the 12th public lecture of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the 24th exhibition and demonstration seminar of Tokyo samisen and koto” were held jointly by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and Tokyo Japanese Musical Instruments Association (Tohokyo) under the theme of the “craftsmanship underlying the traditional sounds.”
In the morning, instrument makers (koto and samisen) from Tohokyo gave demonstration and explanation along with time for Q&A session and hands-on experience. Participants had a valuable opportunity to talk directly with makers and learn how to play the instruments. At the lunch time, a staff member who had been engaged in instrument manufacturing and inspection for repairs in the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage gave a panel talk by introducing specific examples. At the public lecture in the afternoon, three lecturers raised the issues concerning the craftsmanship underlying Japanese traditional sounds and reported their activities from different positions. With a commentator joining in the seminar, all those issues and problems were organized, and opinions were exchanged on clues for solution. Lastly, young promising players closed the seminar with their nagauta (ballads sung to samisen accompaniment). The seminar participants shared the issues at various levels surrounding the traditional craftsmanship with producers, researchers, and players being linked together.
The seminar was attended by 148 participants from various communities, such as manufacturers of music instruments and their accessories, live performers from different genres, researchers, educators, and devotees of traditional performance arts. It was found that there is a great interest in the craftsmanship underlying traditional performance arts. A report will be published at the end of this year, and going forward, we will conduct multi-faceted research on this theme and continue with our studies benefitting the preservation and inheritance of craftsmanship, by utilizing the newly established network at this opportunity.
To conserve Japanese paintings, calligraphic works and other pictorial artifacts, we are now increasingly required to have some knowledge of conservation science. To meet these demands of conservators Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Association for Conservation of National Treasures (ACNT) jointly conducted a workshop with a training program for conservators from July 31st to August 1st, 2018, which included lectures on basic knowledge and practical work sessions. The workshop aimed to provide hands-on knowledge that can be applied to actual conservation works. To achieve this purpose, we designed a curriculum that would help participants accurately understand the chemical properties of organic solvents and enzymes as well as the proper handling of basic laboratory instruments and chemicals for more effective and safer restorations. The workshop has been held once a year since 2016.
A total of 11 people, one from each corporate member of ACNT, participated in the workshop. Dr. Sano, Director of the Center for Conservation Science; Dr. Sato, Head of the Biological Science Section; and I provided lectures on the safe handling of organic solvents; integrated pest management (IPM) for cultural properties at restoration studios; and removal methods of adhesives and stains, respectively. Based on these lectures particularly using models of the molecular construction of solvents, the participants practiced removing various types of stains on the sheets of paper that we prepared, by using suitable solvents and enzymes. The practical work session also covered other topics such as the use of cyclododecane as a temporary protective coating for water-sensitive colorants. Mr. Kimishima, ACNT’s Senior Conservator, taught in the work session and provided hands-on training to the participants.
The program ended with a lively Q&A session and discussion. We will continue to hold such workshop in the future.
“International Symposium on the Conservation of Modernization Heritage and Its Promotional Planning” in Taiwan
The Modern Cultural Heritage Section has been interacting with Taiwanese officials and researchers working on cultural properties since FY 2017 so as to share mutual experiences and issues on conservation and utilization of modern cultural heritage for their smooth resolution through research.
As part of this activity, we participated in the “International Symposium on the Conservation of Modernization Heritage and Its Promotional Planning” held under the auspices of the Bureau of Cultural Heritage, the Ministry of Culture and Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan on August 17th, 2018. At the symposium, Japanese experts representing the industrial heritage, railway and machinery areas delivered lectures. Mr. Kitagawa, the Head of the Modern Cultural Heritage Section at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, lectured on the administration of cultural properties related to modernization heritage. The symposium attracted a large Taiwanese audience, including administrative officials, owners of cultural properties, university researchers, and citizen groups, resulting in engaging discussions ranging from the principles of conservation and utilization of modernization heritage to their approaches.
In conjunction with the symposium, we discussed with Taiwanese researchers how hydraulic structures, factories, and railway facilities constructed during the period of Japanese rule have been conserved and utilized, along with various approaches and issues. Among them was a very interesting case in which a motorcycle manufacturer who had developed an electric-assist railbike made use of the dead track of a now-defunct railway. The railway is now protected as a cultural property for the operation of the facility.
We also visited Director-general Gwo-Long Shy and other officials at the Bureau of Cultural Heritage, the Ministry of Culture in Taichung. There, we exchanged ideas on Japanese and Taiwanese histories, and on concepts concerning systems for the protection of cultural properties associated with modernization heritage, as well as their conservation and utilization.
Two workshops on the conservation of Japanese textiles were jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese textiles overseas. A basic workshop “Cultural Properties of Textile in Japan” was held from August 8th to 10th and an advanced workshop “Conservation of Japanese Textile” was held from August 13th to 17th, 2018. Both were conducted at the Research Center for Conservation of Cultural Relics in NTNU by researchers specialized in textiles and conservators from Japan and Taiwan. The participants were conservators, researchers and students; the basic course had nine participants from six countries and the advanced one had six participants from five countries.
The basic workshop started with lectures on the systems of protection of tangible and intangible cultural properties, and moved its focus to fibers and threads as textile materials and some of the representative textiles in Japan. Following the lectures, the participants also experienced folding and displaying Japanese garments (kimono). The practical work on making a paper model of kimono helped the participants to understand the general way in which kimono is constructed from a bolt of fabric. The first half of the advanced workshop focused on the identification of dyes, surface cleaning and wet cleaning. The latter half introduced a Japanese approach to textile conservation and treatment, and the participants experienced stitching a support silk fabric to the back side of an old textile fragment and making an enclosure for it. In both workshops, there were lectures on case studies, and various methods of the display and conservation of Japanese textiles were shared. It served as an opportunity to comprehend conservation materials and application methods as well as textile materials and techniques.
Similar projects will continue to be implemented with the aim of contributing to not only the conservation and utilization of Japanese tangible textile objects abroad, but also the preservation of related intangible cultural properties.
Mr. Nobuo KAMEI, Director General of our Institute since April 2010 passed away on July 17th, 2018, of gastric cancer. He devoted himself to the growth and advancement of the Institute until his very last moment. Mr. KAMEI graduated from the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering of the University of Tokyo and completed the doctoral course in the Department of Urban Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering of the same university in March 1973. He joined the Architecture Division, Cultural Properties Protection Department of the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Government of Japan as a Technical Official in April of that year. He moved to the Nara National Cultural Properties Research Institute (current Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties) in 1975, then to the Board of Education of Nara City in 1984 and became President of the National Institute of Technology, Miyakonojo College in 2003. In 2005 he returned to the Agency for Cultural Affairs and served as Councillor of the Cultural Properties Department until he assumed the post of Managing Director of the Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments, an incorporated foundation in 2008. During his service at the Agency for Cultural Affairs, he made a great contribution to the enhancement of the program for the registration of cultural properties and also played an instrumental role in the selection, repair and landscaping of the “Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings.” In addition, Mr. KAMEI launched the “Hometown Forest for Cultural Properties” program designed to ensure that Japanese cypress bark and other resources required for the maintenance and repair of traditional buildings will be available for years to come. When the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake struck on January 17th, 1995, he demonstrated his leadership in the restoration of affected cultural properties as chief investigator.
Between April 2010 and March 2013 he was Director of the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage and concomitantly Director General of our Institute, the latter of which he continued to hold after he stepped down from the former organization. In the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred less than a year from his arrival at our Institute, he took Chairman of the Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters that was set up by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Mr. KAMEI successfully led the rescue operation that involved 6,800 people in total from around the country and lasted for two years.
Outside the Institute, he served as the chair of the Subdivision on Cultural Properties of the Council for Cultural Affairs since 2017. In that capacity he took the initiative in proposing recommendations concerning the “Preservation and Utilization of Cultural Properties for Assured Inheritance in the New Era.” His contribution to the protection and inheritance of cultural properties encompassed not only architecture, his own specialization, but also all other cultural properties.
All of us at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties are deeply saddened by the loss of Mr. KAMEI, especially at a time when the national policy on the preservation of cultural properties is entering a new dimension following the March 2018 revision of the Act on the Protection of Cultural Properties. We renew our commitment to carrying on Mr. KAMEI’s last wishes of duly passing on our precious cultural properties to future generations.
On July 30th, 2018, the above seminar was conducted at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) with ten research presentations delivered by eleven experts.
Wat Rajpradit is a first-grade royal Buddhist temple located in Bangkok, Thailand. It was built at the request of King Rama IV in 1864. The windows of the ordination hall (ubosot) and the inner sides of the entrance doors of the Temple were mother-of-pearl with underpaint and the panels were decorated with lacquer paintings. For the mother-of-pearl with underpaint, thin strips of abalone or other shells were placed on the base material after coloring, line drawing and metal foil were applied on the reverse of the shell pieces. At the request of the Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture of Thailand and the Temple, TNRICP started providing technical assistance for the restoration project in Thailand in 2012. From 2013 through 2015, two door panels were brought to Japan to conduct a detailed scientific survey and trial restoration in collaboration with experts inside and outside the Institute.
At this seminar, the results of an optical survey implemented in Thailand and the interpretation of icons found in the lacquer painting patterns were also reported, in addition to the outcomes of the scientific surveys such as X-ray photography of door panels, fluorescent X-ray analysis of pigments, and organic analysis of lacquer coating film and undercoat. These outcomes identified the techniques and materials used for decorating the door panels, showing evidence that they were made in Japan. In addition, the manufacturing techniques used on these door panels and the Japanese style of mother-of pearl with underpaint that existed in Japan and Thailand were considered, while how and when such techniques evolved were also studied.
The technique of mother-of-pearl with underpaint was used for a short period from the end of 18th century until the late 19th century. Its technical genealogy has not been fully clarified yet. We will continue to provide technical support for the door panel restoration project at Wat Rajpradit while conducting research and study on door panels and mother-of-pearl with underpaint in both Japan and Thailand.
Renewed memorandum of agreement on a joint project with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures
In July 2013, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties signed a memorandum of agreement on a five-year joint project with the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) located in Norwich in the County of Norfolk, UK and worked on the project of “Shaping the Fundamentals of Research on Japanese Art” while sending researchers of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems to give lectures on Japanese art at the SISJAC every year. In the project of “Shaping the Fundamentals of Research on Japanese Art”, SISJAC has collected and entered data related to the study of Japanese arts written in English to be added to the database of our institute. By the middle of June 2018, 4675 items including 2584 titles of articles on Japanese cultural properties, 1631 titles of art exhibitions and movie festivals held overseas, and 460 titles of books on Japanese cultural properties published overseas had been sent and gathered into the database of our institute to enable cross-searches.
To continue these projects, Dr. Simon Kaner, General Director of SISJAC and Yamanashi, Deputy Director General of the institute signed the renewed memorandum of agreement on the joint project on July 13th at the SISJAC. Continuation of the joint project would help to enrich the database and enhance research exchange.
On July 30th, 2018, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage recorded a live performance of Miyazono-bushi (for the first time) at the Performing Arts Studio of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. Miyazono-bushi is designated as a nationally important intangible cultural property.
The first MIYAKOJI Sonohachi created Miyazono-bushi in Kyoto in the early 18th century. It declined later in Kyoto, but was revived in Edo in the mid-18th century, and has been inherited until today. The musical features of Miyazono-bushi are its unique joruri (vocal part), which is heavy yet silky, and the sound of the chuzao (middle neck) shamisen (Japanese banjo), which is soft yet thick. The traditional tunes are divided into 10 classical ones and modern ones, whose themes are mostly elopements for double suicides.
This time, a classical tune, the “Scene of KOHARU Jihee Using Kotatsu (Japanese foot warmer)” (Kotatsu), and a modern tune, “Double Suicide in Minowa” were recorded. Both were performed by MIYAZONO Senroku (lead singer: an individual certified as a Holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property or what is called living national treasure), MIYAZONO Senyoshie (supporting singer), MIYAZONO Senkazuya (lead shamisen player), and MIYAZONO Senkoju (supporting shamisen player).
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage will continue to record the live performance of classical Miyazono-bushi tunes as well as its modern tunes, which are seldom played.
From June 25th through July 6th, 2018, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties organized a workshop on the conservation of historic textiles in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture in the Republic of Armenia. Based on the cooperation agreement regarding the cultural heritage protection area established between them in 2014, this workshop was implemented for the second time following last year.
This workshop was conducted at the Scientific Research Center for Historical and Cultural Heritage and the Museum of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin with Dr. Mie ISHII, a visiting researcher from the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, and Ms. Midori YOKOYAMA from the NHK Culture Center Saitama, as lecturers. Fourteen trainees from seven institutions such as museums and galleries in Armenia attended the workshop. At the Scientific Research Center, historic textiles unearthed from archaeological sites in the 12th century, which the Center possesses, were analyzed by microscope before practical training on how they should be stored. At the Museum of the Mother See, the trainees stitched the Museum’s textiles for reinforcement with more advanced techniques before exhibiting them at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the United States in September.
This time, we provided practical training with historic textiles that provided the trainees with very good experience. We will organize a workshop in 2019 as well to transfer our knowledge and techniques to Armenian specialists.
Conservation and Restoration of the Outer Walls of Brick Temples and Studies of Mural Paintings in Bagan, Myanmar
From July 11th to August 5th, 2018, we conducted conservation and restoration work on the outer walls of Me-taw-ya Temple (No. 1205), a brick temple at the Bagan Archaeological Site in Myanmar, aiming primarily to protect the mural paintings from rain. Continuing the work implemented from this January through February, we reviewed the portions damaged by the earthquake in 2016, and considered the restoration methods for stucco decorations and joint fillers that would affect the beauty of its facade. As a result, we successfully indicated how collapsed bricks should be restored together with the materials to be used, which was highly esteemed by the Bagan Branch, the Department of Archaeology and National Museums, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture of Myanmar.
In addition, we continually conducted studies on art history, iconography, and the evolution of mural painting techniques in Myanmar. First, we collected further information on representative mural paintings from the 11th century through the 13th century in Bagan for a greater understanding. Second, we moved to Mandalay from where we visited temples scattered in Inwa, Sagaing, Amarapura, and Kyaukse in order to grasp the features of wall paintings from the 17th century through the 19th century.
During our stay in Myanmar, we visited the Embassy of Japan in Yangon to briefly outline this project. We will share information on our activities to conserve cultural properties in Bagan through regular progress reports.
In cooperation with the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites, Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs of Bhutan, we surveyed traditional houses built with the rammed earth construction technique in the capital, Thimphu, and the Paro Dzongkhag from July 16th to July 24th, 2018.
We focused on an old house located in Kabesa Village in the northern outskirts of Thimphu as the best example of a house built in an ancient style among the old farm houses we discovered through the surveys. Regrettably, the upper floors and other wooden elements of the house, which had been left uninhabited for many years, collapsed last year, but its external walls built with rammed earth remain. As a result of emphasizing the significance of preserving this house at a workshop held in the city in March 2018, the owner withdrew his intention to demolish the house, and a movement began toward its restoration. In response to this, we collected the wooden members of the house, and individually recorded and identified their original locations, before placing them into temporary storage. We confirmed that the members were far less damaged or missing than expected, which enables an accurate restoration. We expect that examination of concrete restoration and utilization measures will progress after this.
Since 2016, the research and study of old houses in Bhutan has been conducted under Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research. During our stay in Bhutan this time, we received the sad news that the representative of the research project, Dr. Nobuo KAMEI, Director General of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, had passed away. The Bhutanese people involved in the cooperation project proposed that we should hold a memorial service for the DG at Changangkha Lhakhang, a venerable temple overlooking the city of Thimphu. The staff members involved in the joint activities gathered there to pray for the repose of his soul by lighting 108 votive candles.
These workshops are held annually for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese art objects, such as paintings and calligraphic works overseas, and promotion of the understanding of these objects. This year, the basic course “Japanese Paper and Silk Cultural Properties” held from July 4th to 6th, 2018, and the advanced course “Restoration of Japanese Hanging Scrolls” held from July 9th to 13th were conducted at the Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin (Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) with the support of the Asian Art Museum and Museum of Technology (Deutsches Technikmuseum).
In the basic course, 13 restorers, conservators and students from ten countries participated. This course consisted of lectures, demonstrations, and practical work that covered the process from the creation of a cultural property to its appearance before the public, that is, its creation, mounting, exhibition and viewing. Participants were lectured on the materials used for the cultural properties, such as adhesives, mineral pigments and paper, and participated in the practical work of painting on silk, Chinese ink painting and handling of hanging scrolls.
In the advanced course, instructors from a certified group that holds the Selected Conservation Techniques dubbed “Restoration techniques for mounts” conducted practical work sessions and lectures to ten restorers from six countries. The instructors demonstrated techniques such as lining and reattachment of roller knobs, and the participants experienced the removing and attaching of the rods of a hanging scroll during the practical work sessions. Through these sessions, the participants could gain an understanding of the structure of hanging scrolls and knowledge and techniques for the restoration of hanging scrolls. Discussions were actively held in both courses. In addition to a question and answer session, opinions about restoration and applications of Japanese techniques and materials were exchanged.
Similar projects will be implemented with the aim of contribution to the preservation and utilization of Japan’s tangible and intangible cultural properties overseas by sharing information about conservation materials and techniques in Japan with conservators overseas.
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.