Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties Center for Conservation Science
Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation
Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage


Workshop on the Conservation, Management and Enhancement Plan for Ta Nei Temple, Angkor

The workshop in progress

 For more than 15 years the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) has been collaborating with the Cambodian national authority for the protection and management of Angkor and the region of Siem Reap (APSARA) in various ways, including conducting joint research and personneltraining. Over this period of time, fieldworks have been conducted mostly at the Ta Nei Temple ruin of the Angkor onuments. The most recent workshop was held in Cambodia from January 26th to 28th, 2017 to support the creation of conservation, management and enhancement plan for the site.
 Joining the workshop were H. E. Mr. Ros Borath, Deputy Director General of APSARA, and other experts from the organization’s sections on the conservation of monuments, tourism, forestry and hydrology. A total of more than 20 staff members attended. On the first day, lectures were given at the APSARA head office addressing basic outlining and planning procedures for the conservation and management of archaeological sites. The second day was a site visit to Ta Nei and its vicinity to survey and confirm the current state of the area. On the third day, the participants returned indoors to discuss the basic direction for moving forward with planning and how to carry out the conservation and enhancement project after this.
 Ta Nei Temple is a major archaeological ruin within the core zone of the Angkor World Heritage Site that is constantly filled with tourists, but it still retains the striking atmosphere of a lost temple overgrown by jungle forest. A major outcome of the workshop discussions was the agreement on significant issues such as the determination to upkeep the temple, maintaining its present state so that people can safely tour the ruin, and to restore the original access route to the temple so that visitors can get a physical sense of the site’s relationship to nearby Angkor sites. There was also agreement that all the concerned sections would work together on steadily pursuing specific areas of endeavor, including archaeological excavations and other necessary surveys. This project is being positioned as a pilot model project for the maintenance of ruins conducted by Cambodian initiative, and TNRICP will continue to provide the necessary technical assistance to enable the work to be carried out properly and smoothly.

Charitable Contributions Received

Masakatsu ASAKI, Chairman of the Tokyo Art Club (center) and Nobuo KAMEI, Director General of TNRICP (right)
Tadahiko MITANI, President of Tokyo Art Club (left) and Nobuo KAMEI, Director General of TNRICP (center)

 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) has received charitable contributions from the Tokyo Art Dealers’Association (Director: Jun NAKAMURA) to support research publication (the publishing enterprise) and from the Tokyo Art Club Co., Ltd. (President: Tadahiko MITANI) to support research projects. The transfers into TNRICP’s bank account were made on November 30th, 2016.
 As a token of gratitude for the donations, Nobuo KAMEI, Director General of TNRICP presented a certificate of appreciation to both Masakatsu ASAKI, Chairman, and Tadahiko MITANI, President, of the Tokyo Art Club. As Jun NAKAMURA, Director of the Tokyo Art Dealers’ Association was unable to attend, Mr. ASAKI accepted a certificate of appreciation on his behalf.
 We are very thankful for the donations and for the understanding of the work we do at the research institute. We aim to make good use of the funds in upcoming endeavors.

Facility Tour in December

Teachers from Kyoritsu Women’s University and Metropolitan Museum of Art receiving an explanation

Two teachers visit from Kyoritsu Women’s University Faculty of Home Economics
 On December 5th, 2016, a professor from Kyoritsu Women’s University visited Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) to learn things that would assist in student education regarding textile preservation and restoration theory and hands-on museum training. Also, a member from the Metropolitan Museum of Art joined to attain knowledge of restoration of textiles. They toured the Library, the Performing Arts Studio, and the Chemistry Laboratory and received explanations about the work being done in these areas from the researchers in charge.

Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems-Letter to Kuroda Seiki from Yamamoto Hosui

Image: Dated April 5th, 1895, a handwritten letter from Hosui YAMAMOTO to Seiki KURODA The illustration depicts Hosui himself returning from China with a dog in his rucksack and a daffodil in his basket.

 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) owns several letters written to painter Seiki KURODA(1866–1924) who later in life was closely involved in the establishment of the institute. These letters are valuable materials for elucidating KURODA’s network of personal contacts during his life. For the reprinting and annotation of the letters, the TNRICP sought the cooperation of researchersoutside of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems. As part of the research work, the department hosted a seminar on Dec. 8th, 2016, inviting Mr.Akifumi SHIINO of the Fukui Fine Arts Museum to give a talk on “The Reprinting and Annotation of the Letters of Hosui YAMAMOTO to Seiki KURODA.”
 Hosui YAMAMOTO (1850–1906) was a leading Western-style painter of the early Meiji Period. During his time studying painting in France, he is known to have encouraged KURODA to become a painter instead of a lawyer. After returning to Japan, he established a painting academy, the Seikokan, which he later handed over to KURODA. He also joined the new artists’ society formed by KURODA, the Hakubakai, maintaining a strong friendship. The institute owns 14 letters written by YAMAMOTO to KURODA, documenting their friendship in Japan. Of these, nine were date-stamped in 1896, when they had both just returned from service as artists in the Sino-Japanese War. The letters dealt with their painting activities and YAMAMOTO’s thoughts on KURODA’s “Morning Toilette,” which sparked a controversy on nude painting when it was submitted for the 4th National Industrial Exhibition. One letter includes a self-drawn image of YAMAMOTO immediately after his return to Japan from China; many things he writes are amusing. These letters are noteworthy primary materials that shed light on YAMAMOTO’s disposition after his return to Japan, whereas he is primarily known for his lighthearted character in the social world of Paris’ artists and intelligentsia. SHIINO’s talk also touched on the positions of the two artists in the world of Western-style painting in Japan, both of whom were held in high esteem while being 16 years apart in age.

The 11th Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties

 On December 9, 2016 the 11th Conference on the Study of Intangible Folk Cultural Properties washeld on the topic titled “Intangible cultural heritages and disaster prevention—risk management andrecovery support.”The meeting featured four presenters and two commentators for a day of reports anddiscussion.
 The Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and numerous smaller natural disasters in recent years have brought crisis to intangible cultural heritages, leaving many vulnerable to total demise. Significant physical and societal devastation occurs throughout Japan due to earthquakes, tsunamis, torrential rains, and other extremes of nature. While awareness is growing toward safeguarding cultural properties from disasters, little thought has been given to intangible cultural heritages. At this conference, many issues were raised regarding this situation and measures being taken were shared. Discussions arose regarding what kind of preparations are needed to safeguard intangible cultural heritages from natural disaster and what kind of support could be given after such an occurrence.
 The first report was from Iwate Prefecture, which presented findings on the current state of harm to intangible cultural heritages resulting from the Great East Japan Earthquake and the ongoing recovery process. The second report was from Ehime Prefecture, which presented a survey of the region’s history of damage due to past Nankai Trough earthquakes and the building of a disaster prevention and mitigation system network. This was followed by a report on the replication of Buddhist statues as a means of preventing the theft of cultural properties.
 Finally, there was a report on how to keep the necessary records for the repair and restoration of festival implements. In the general discussion that followed, comments were shared on efforts that are being taken in the Kansai area based on the experience of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake; examples were also shared from outside Japan. Based on such comments there was a discussion on the need to form networks, also touching upon the political issues involved in risk management.
 The content of this conference was published in a March 2017 report that is scheduled for release on the website of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Workshops on Conservation and Restoration of Urushi Objects in Cologne, Germany

Practical training on making a material sample book
Practical training on Ryukyu decoration techniques

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation holds these workshops every yearas part of the project ‘International Courses’. Urushi objects are an important part of collections inmuseums around the world, and a certain amount of knowledge and techniques are required in their handling. These workshops contribute to better conservation and restoration of cultural properties by enhancing theunderstanding of materials and techniques used for urushi objects.
 Two advanced workshops, ‘Investigation, Storage and Exhibition Conditions of Urushi Objects’ from November 30th to December 3rd, and ‘Finishing and Decoration Techniques’ from December 6th to 10th, 2016, were held at the Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne. Both of the workshops had been renewed to cover more specialized contents, and the conservators attended the workshops from several countries around the world. The first workshop provided lectures on storage and exhibition conditions of urushi objects and a storage tour of the Museum of East Asian Art led by the Director of the museum. The practical training sessions covered investigation of the urushi objects which belong to the museum collection and allowed the participants to understand various materials such as wooden substrates, various types of urushi and ground layers by making a materials’ sample book. In the second workshop, a specialist in Ryukyu lacquerware from the Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts gave lectures about the history and the decoration techniques. In the practical training, the prevalent decoration techniques of Ryukyu lacquerware were presented. The participants also experienced roiro-age, which is one of the final step of urushi coating, to understand the finishing process of Japanese urushi objects.
 A series of workshops will be planned and continued to be held in the future, taking into account the opinions and wishes of the participants and the related staff members to contribute to the conservation and restoration of urushi objects.

Facility Tour in November (1)

Nomura’s employees listening to an explanation

NOMURA Co., Ltd. 20 attendees
 On November 7th, 2016, a party of 20 visited the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (NRICPT) for the purpose of acquiring accurate knowledge of “cultural assets” and contributing to their exhibition in an environmentally friendly manner at facilities including museums. They attended a lecture in the seminar room, followed by a facility tour to the Library and the Analytical Science Section, where researchers in charge described their business activities.

Facility Tour in November (2)

Participants in a Cultural Affairs Agency Workshop for Fine Arts and Crafts Repair Specialists receive an explanation.

Cultural Affairs Agency Workshop for Fine Arts and Crafts Repair Specialists 34 attendees
 On November 17th, 2016, a party of 34, who participated in a Cultural Affairs Agency Workshop for Fine Arts and Crafts Repair Specialists, visited NRICPT on the belief that it would be extremely useful to take a look at the national center for research on cultural assets in Japan. After receiving an explanation in a conference room in the basement, they took a tour to its facilities, such as the Performing Arts Studio and the Physical Laboratory, where researchers in charge described their business activities.

The 50th Open Lecture Organized

A lecture being given

 The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems organized a two-day open lecture in the seminar room of the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) on November 4th and 5th, 2016. This year’s seminar marked the 50th milestone. Every autumn, TNRICP invites people from the general public to attend presentations given by its researchers and invited outside lecturers on the results of research that they conduct on a daily basis. This program is not only held as part of the Lecture Series of the Ueno no Yama Cultural Zone Festival organized by Taito Ward but is also associated with Classics Day on November 1st,2016.
 The following four lectures were given this year: “Documentation Activities and Archives – A group of materials on the Year Book of Japanese Art and its transmission (Hideki KIKKAWA, Researcher, Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems) and “Wolves Coming Back into Existence – Yamatsumi Shrine in Iitate Village – On the Restoration of the Ceiling Paintings) (Kyoko MASUBUCHI, Curator, Fukushima Prefectural Museum) on the 4th and “Techniques to Hand Down Forms – Welcome to the backstage of an exhibition) (Chie SANO, Director, Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems) and “Forms to Memorize and Those to Find – Meanings and Value of “Cultural Properties”) (Ken OKADA, Director, Center for Conservation Science) on the 5th. The event drew a total of 159 visitors from the general public over two days, and gained favorable reviews.

Acceptance of visitors and other activities under the 2016 project for inviting, giving training to, and exchanging with, Japanese-art librarians from outside Japan (commonly known as the JAL Project)

 The JAL (Japanese Art Librarian) Project is a project started in fiscal 2014the fiscal year before last supported by grants from the Agency for Cultural Affairs and led by the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo with the purpose, among others, of reconsidering the ideal framework of the service to provide information materials on Japanese art and related information by inviting to Japan experts (including librarians and archivists) who handle Japanese-art related materials outside Japan.
 The nine invited experts visited related organizations in Tokyo, Kyoto and Nara from November 27 to December 10, 2016. The group visited this institute on November 30 and we showed them in the library, etc. book materials, photos taken in the surveys of artworks, files of modern and contemporary artists, and moreover, the materials and projects related to art sales catalogues, and explained how we provide information on the Internet. Furthermore, the group exchanged information and discussed researches with our institute’s researchers and officials of related organizations in Japan. On December 9, the last day of the training, an open workshop was held in the lecture room of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo where the invitees made recommendations regarding the dissemination of information on Japanese art. It became a good opportunity to review how we provide information on cultural assets on a global basis.
Preceding the invitation, Dr. Emiko Yamanashi, Deputy Director General of this institute, had been asked to serve as a Member of the Executive Committee of JAL2016 and gave a seminar on information on Japanese art for graduate students of the University of Pittsburgh. Moreover, as the three-year project was to be completed at the end of fiscal 2016, an “Answer Symposium” (http://www.momat.go.jp/am/visit/library/jal2016/) was held on February 3, 2017, to respond to the suggestions and recommendations made so far.

DICH participates in the “Inheritance and Development of Cultural Heritage – Event to Support the Restoration of Local Performing Arts”

The event being conducted at the venue

 On November 13th, 2016, an event titled “Inheritance and Development of Cultural Heritage – Event to Support the Restoration of Local Performing Arts – Let’s talk and pass down together” was organized by the National Museum of Ethnology and held in the main hall of the Ofunato Municipal Sanriku Community Center.
 Disaster-stricken performing arts groups, supporters, administrative authorities, and researchers got together and exchanged views and opinions concerning the path that they have taken thus far, proactive measures, and know-how on receiving support and keeping equipment, tools and costumes safe.
 The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage (DICH) exhibited posters for the “311 Reconstruction Support and Intangible Cultural Heritage Information Network” that it has operated with more than one collaborative body since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and for the protection of intangible cultural properties from disaster.
 While support has been diminishing, disaster-affected performing arts groups continue to face harsh circumstances. Few events that bridge these performing arts groups, supporters, administrative authorities, and researchers have been held to discuss the actual situation surrounding the devastated performing arts or issues associated with support on site and on a face-to-face basis. Continuously having opportunities to form “loose networks” such as this may lead to the ideal form of protection from disaster for intangible cultural heritages both now and in the future.

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Basic Research Underway for Developing New Ways of Killing Insect Pests in Historical Wooden Architecture (How to Capture Insect Pests)

A FIT
installation of FIT

 The Center for Conservation Science has been moving forward the basic research on “hot-air processing” as one of the new ways of exterminating insect pests in historical wooden architecture. It heats a structure while maintaining a steady moisture content so that wood or coloration sustains no damage, thereby exterminating insect pests that perforate members inside the building, such as columns and beams, or cause feeding damage to them.
 In research such as this, it is ideal to use insect pests that actually cause damage when evaluating insecticidal effects. However, it becomes necessary to identify ways of collecting living insect pests efficiently or to establish an artificial rearing method to ensure their steady availability. To that end, we here discuss ways of capturing them.
 In the case of ordinary sticky traps for capturing flying insects, because an adhesive substance adheres to the insect pests captured, it is difficult to catch them alive. We therefore looked into how they are captured by applying a method called a Flight Interception Trap (FIT). The FIT utilizes the characteristic that a flying insect shrinks its wings or legs and falls when hitting an obstacle and thus is made up of a transparent collision plate and a trapping container installed underneath.
 When we conducted a survey on insect pests captured by using a FIT at a temple on Mt. Nikko this fiscal year, we succeeded in capturing the intended insect pests (mainly deathwatch beetles) alive. Being able to capture them alive can not only provide clues to elucidating their biology or life history but also lead to artificial rearing.
 We believe that it is important to accumulate the results of such basic research activities as the foundation underpinning the development of new ways to exterminate insect pests in historical wooden architecture.

Exchange of Views and Field Survey Regarding the Mural Painting Conservation and Management System in the Republic of Turkey

Meeting to exchange views and opinions 
On-site inspection of a mural painting

 From October 29th through November 14th, 2016, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation held a meeting to exchange views and opinions on the conservation of and management system for mural paintings and conducted an inspection tour in the Republic of Turkey. The meeting took place, targeting administrative officials in charge of conserving mural paintings in the country, conservation and restoration specialists, educators and university students, at three venues, namely, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Faculty of Art and Design, Gazi University in Ankara, and the Argos Hotel in Cappadocia. Through a presentation on a training program associated with the conservation and management of the mural paintings of cave churches of Cappadocia planned by the Center, we were able to identify participants’ needs firsthand and obtain valuable information that will be helpful in developing projects in the future.
 Meanwhile, the inspection tour covered cave churches scattered about the Goreme district in Cappadocia, cave churches in Ihlara Valley, Çatalhöyük, the Antalya Museum, St. Nicholas Church in Demre, and the ruins of Ephesus, under the cooperation of the Nevsehir Conservation and Restoration Center and the Conservation and Restoration Department, Faculty of Art and Design, Gazi University. This tour allowed us to deepen our understanding of the actual situation of maintaining and managing a wide variety of mural paintings in this nation. We will continue to conduct similar surveys, identifying points to be improved and new issues so as to translate them into new future projects.

Holding International Course “Paper Conservation in Latin America”

Demonstration of straining paste with a sieve

 From November 9th through 25th, 2016, the “Paper Conservation in Latin America” was held as a part of the LATAM program (conservation of cultural heritage in LatinAmerica and the Caribbean) run by the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) at the Coordinacion Nacional de Conservacion del Patrimonio Cultural (CNCPC) in Mexico City, which belongsto Mexico’s Ministry of Culture. The course drew a total of 11 specialists in restoration of cultural properties from 8 countries, that is, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.
 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) hosted the first part of the course (from 9th through 17th), which included lectures and a practical session conducted by TNRICP researchers and a restorer of a certificated organization holding “soko” (restoration technique based on traditional mounting) which is selected as Techniques for the Preservation of Cultural Properties by Japanese government. With the aim of applying Japanese restoration techniques to cultural properties overseas,
lectures were given on the protection system of cultural properties in Japan, and tools and materials used in restoration. In addition, a practical session was held to deepen participants’ understanding of culture and at the same time characteristics of restoration in Japan. The practical session was carried out with CNCPC staff members who learned “soko” for several months at TNRICP.
 In the latter half of the course (from 18th through 25th), specialists in restoration of cultural properties from Mexico, Spain and Argentina gave lectures. The main theme was application of traditional handmade Japanese paper to Western conservation and restoration techniques. As the conservation and restoration of paper cultural properties in Latin America has not yet reached those in Europe and the United States, they lectured on how to select materials and apply their techniques to Western paper. These lectures were followed by practical sessions. Specialists in charge of the lectures and practical sessions had previously participated in international courses organized by TNRICP, and we were able to reaffirm that technical exchange through these courses contributes to the protection of cultural properties overseas.

A Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of the Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal” (Part 4) “Conference on Conservation of Historical Settlements in the Kathmandu Basin”

 Under the above-mentioned assistance project, as part of the “Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project” commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we continue to send a mission to the local site in Nepal. This time (November 20th through December 6th, 2016), we dispatched a total of 16 people, including outside experts and students of the University of Tokyo, Kagawa University, and Tokyo Metropolitan University.
 The local field survey under this mission covered an extensive range of topics from architectural history to structural study to urban planning, and in this issue, we report on the “Conference on Conservation of Historical Settlements in the Kathmandu Basin” held on November 30th,2016, among others.
 Many of the historical settlements scattered about the Kathmandu Basin were struck by the Gorkha Earthquake that hit the area in April 2015, and restoration efforts have faced a number of hardships to date. One of them is the fact that the system to preserve historical settlements as cultural heritage is not fully in place and the situation is not necessarily moving in the direction of maintaining and making use of their cultural value. Against this background, Nepalese government authorities, including the Reconstruction Agency and the Department of Archaeology, are working on establishing a system for preserving historical settlements. However, in order to achieve such conservation, while the role to be performed by the local administration that has jurisdiction over them is significant, it has been revealed that owing to shortfalls in budget or personnel, authorities are unable to formulate effective policies.
 We thus offered overtures to six cities, that is, four cities that hold jurisdiction over the historical settlements in the Kathmandu Basin and are included in the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list and Bhaktapur and Lalitpur, two of which have historical towns that are already registered as World Heritage sites, and organized a conference to share the present state of a wide variety of efforts and initiatives and issues and to provide information on the Japanese system for conserving historical streetscapes.
 Animated discussions were held on, for example, the necessity of collaboration between the central and local governments and local residents in addressing the issues. Those in charge who participated from each city strongly approved the purpose of this conference and agreed that they would continue to cooperate into the future. We are pleased that this conference helped establish a major foothold for mutually cooperative relations and hope to continue extending effective support.

Survey on Quake Damage in the Ruins of Bagan, Myanmar

 On August 24th, 2016, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake with its epicenter in the central part of Myanmar struck; as a consequence, the ruins of Bagan, one of the representative cultural assets of the nation, suffered serious damage. The group of ruins in the region includes more than 3,000 brick Buddhist stupas and small temples built mainly in the 11th to 13th centuries. According to the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library, Myanmar Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture, 389 of these sites were discovered to have been damaged (as of the end of October 2016).
 Following the dispatch of an advance inspection team in September,2016, the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) was commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs to oversee a project to provide emergency aid and sent a party of eight specialists (on conserving cultural assets, repairing buildings, structure of buildings, and surveying) to the sites with the aim of identifying the actual state of quake damage to valuable cultural properties, from October 26th through November 10th, 2016. They conducted surveys from four standpoints, namely, the situation of damaged historical buildings, the structural analysis of damaged buildings, the situation of emergency protective measures, and the analysis of records of damage.
 The ruins of Bagan sustained quake damage in 1975 as well, and a large number of structures had been restored or rebuilt thereafter. As a result of the current inspections, however, it was discovered that much of the damage from this earthquake was concentrated on the newly reconstructed parts or the boundaries between the newly repaired parts and old parts, such as a tower of the upper part of a building. Moreover, deformation or cracks existing in vaults, walls or podiums owing to age are believed to have been aggravated by the earthquake. Meanwhile, thanks in part to prompt actions by local residents and volunteers under the leadership of local authorities, emergency protective measures appear to have been taken in an expeditious manner.
 With an eye toward subsequent restoration, we must identify the cause and mechanisms of damage by not only conducting further inspection but also discussing the technical and philosophical issues that are common to the conservation of brick architectural heritages in earthquake-prone regions, such as how to reinforce a structure, melding of traditional techniques and modern counterparts, and the validity of reconstructing damaged parts.

Symposium on “The Syrian Civil War and Cultural Heritage – The Actual State of the World Heritage Site at Palmyra and International Support for Its Reconstruction”

Artifacts in the Palmyra Museum destroyed by IS (photograph donated by Dr. Robert Zukowski)

 In the Middle Eastern country of Syria, a massive civil uprising calling for democratization occurred in March 2011 and developed into a civil war that has already lasted five years. Casualties in the nation have topped 250 thousand while more than 4.8 million citizens have fled the country as refugees.
 Because of this state of civil warfare in Syria, valuable cultural assets have suffered damage as well, which has been reported as major news stories internationally. Of particular note is that reports of damage wrought on Palmyra by Islamic State (IS) militants from August 2015 through October last year made headlines and drew public attention also in Japan.
 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) cohosted the symposium titled “The Syrian Civil War and Cultural Heritage – The Actual State of the World Heritage Site at Palmyra and International Support for Its Reconstruction” with the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, and the Cultural Heritage Protection Cooperation Office, Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO at the Tokyo National Museum and Todaiji Temple’s Kinsho Hall on November 20th and 23rd, 2016, respectively.
 The ruins of Palmyra had been controlled by the IS since May 2015 and they were recaptured by the Syrian government forces in March 2016. Polish and Syrian researchers conducted field surveys at the site in April. They recorded the state of damage wrought on the ruins in the region and the Palmyra Museum, and provided preliminary aid to damaged artifacts of the museum and transported them to Damascus promptly.
 At this symposium, Polish and Syrian researchers who witnessed the graphic situation at the site, experts from both home and abroad, and UNESCO staff got together and discussed what type of support would be effective with a view to reconstructing damaged cultural heritages in Syria, including the devastated ruins of Palmyra.

Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems: Acupuncture the Earth in Hiroshima – by Roberto Villanueva, the Last Eco Art in His Career

Sketch of “Sacred Sanctuary (Acupuncture the Earth)” by Roberto Villanueva (1994)

 On October 3rd, 2016, Ms. Midori YAMAMURA, who has been working for this Institute since July, 2016, as a foreign fellow from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, made a presentation titled “Acupuncture the Earth in Hiroshima – by Roberto Villanueva, the Last Eco Art in His Career” at the seminar organized by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems.
 Roberto Villanueva (1947-1995) is a Filipino artist who implemented art with natural materials involving local residents. He called his approach “Ephemeral Art,” which attracted much attention. In her presentation, Ms. Yamamura defined “Eco-Art History” (historical science where environmental issues and art are handled in an interdisciplinary manner) in Europe and the United States first. After looking back at Roberto’s activities in the 1970s and thereafter together with the 1990 Luzon Earthquake and the Eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991, she presented the background and overview of “Sacred Sanctuary,” a participatory approach in art created by Roberto and realized at “Hiroshima Art Document 1995” by volunteers after he had passed away. Ms. Yamamura studied “Ephemeral Art” in relation with modernism including colonialism and the social scale in the Philippines. Perceiving it in the context of “Eco-Art History” in Asia, she presented the relation between this work and the cultural situation in Japan after the Cold War while further examining the “artistic characters unique to Asia.” As commentators, Mr. Masahiro USHIROSHOJI (Kyushu University) and Mr. Masato NAKAMURA (artist, Tokyo University of the Arts) also joined the seminar, where opinions were exchanged actively.
 Her presentation will be reflected in “Mountains and Rivers (without) End: An Anthology of Eco–Art History in Asia,” an anthology to be published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Attending the 7th International Conference of Art Libraries

Appearance of Palazzo Strozzi, the Venue of the 3-Day Conference

 An international conference of art libraries was held in Florence, Italy for three days from October 27th through 29th, 2016. This biennial conference was organized by the Committee of Art Discovery Group Catalogue composed of chief librarians of art libraries in Europe and the United States. This 7th conference attracted almost 100 experts from art libraries throughout the world. The presentations and reports conducted during the session were diverse and fulfilling with a focus on projects for the “Art Discovery Group Catalogue” (http://artdiscovery.net/), a batch retrieval system dedicated to the arts field operated by the organizer, in addition to the latest programs on which such museums of the world are working.
 The “Art Discovery Group Catalogue” is a retrieval system born from the platform for art bibliographies (artlibraries.net), in which art libraries from 15 countries participated, after its positive dissolution. This is a joint international project launched in 2014, in which major art libraries of the world join by using WorldCat (https://www.worldcat.org/) operated by the Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC), a library service NPO in the United States composed of universities and research institutions of the world.
 In FY 2016, the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties will provide data on papers placed in Japanese exhibition catalogues for OCLC. As a result, in FY 2017, our data will be retrievable with “WorldCat,” the largest joint list of world libraries, and also with the “Art Discovery Group Catalogue” having a partnership with OCLC.
 Carefully watching the international movements on art libraries and art bibliography information in the future, we will clarify the roles this Institute should fulfill for utilization in research projects.

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Attending the 40th Session of the World Heritage Committee 2016 (Restarted Deliberation)

Deliberation at UNESCO Headquarters

 The 40th Session of the World Heritage Committee 2016 was held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris from October 24th through 26th, 2016. This session was a restart of the deliberation in Istanbul suspended due to the attempted coup d’etat. Three staff members of the Institute attended the session in Paris.
 At the session of the Committee, whether minor changes of the sites in the list of world heritage sites should be accepted was deliberated, and the extension of the two pilgrimage routes totaling to 40.1 km of the “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range,” for which Japan had made an application, was approved. As for the temporary list where each member country recommends the registration of its sites with the list of world heritage sites, Japan’s addition of “Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, the northern part of Okinawa Island and Iriomote Island” (Amami & Ryujku) to its temporary list was confirmed. For “Amami & Ryukyu,” preparations toward listing as a world heritage site in 2018 are ongoing, but this confirmation formally enabled Japan to submit a written recommendation. At present, Japan’s temporary list has ten sites including this added one.
 The Committee also revised the “Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention,” where the procedures for registration recommendation and reporting on conservation conditions are stipulated. So far, each member country may recommend the registration of two sites per session of the Committee (one of them must be a natural heritage site or a cultural landscape). From the 44th session of the Committee in 2020, the number of sites to be deliberated for each county will become one. At the same time, the number of recommendations deliberated at each session will be reduced from 45 to 35. When the number of submitted recommendations exceeds 35, the ones from the member countries having fewer world heritage sites will be prioritized. Japan already has 20 world heritage sites, so the deliberation may be postponed even if a further recommendation is submitted. Accordingly, the deliberation opportunity available to us will become more and more valuable. Through research on the world heritage sites, we will try to contribute to reinforcement of the foundation to protect cultural heritage overseas, providing useful information for people concerned in Japan in preparing recommendations.

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