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

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” ( 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.


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

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.

Charitable Contributions Received

 A set of documentary materials formerly held as part of the collections of Ms. Masako Yamashita was donated by Ms. Noriko Nakamura on October 13, 2016. The donation of these materials is much appreciated by the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (Tobunken), as the donation reflects an in-depth understanding of Tobunken’s activities, and the materials will be of great importance for Tobunken’s research work. We believe that these materials have an important role to play in Tobunken’s future operations.

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” (, 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 (, 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 ( 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.


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.

Rescued Cultural Property Afterward – Restored Shochuhi memorial in Sendai

Bronze Black Kite Being Hoisted by the Crane on October 13th
Restored Shochuhi memorial (Photographed by Mr. Takashi OKU)

 As repeatedly reported through this activity report, the Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters having its secretariat in this Institute provided rescue activities for numerous cultural properties damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. The Shochuhi memorial (managed by Miyagiken Gokoku Shrine) standing on the site of the inner citadel of Sendai Castle (Aoba Castle) is one of them. The monument was built to console the souls of war victims related to the Second Division in Sendai in 1902. Due to the earthquake, a bronze black kite installed on the stone tower about 15 m in height fell to the ground. Its broken pieces were collected and the main body was relocated as Cultural Properties Rescue Operations by the Committee. After the completion of the Operations in 2014, the Monument was restored as the Disaster-Affected Museum Reconstruction Project in Miyagi Prefecture. The joining work for the broken black kite conducted at Bronze Studio located in Hakonegasaki, Tokyo from FY2015 was finally completed. From October 11th through 17th, 2016, the black kite was installed at its original location in Sendai.
 The bronze black kite (4.44 m in height, 5.68 m in width, 3.819 t in total bronze weight), whose original virile appearance with its wings widely spreading was restored in Tokyo after about five and a half years, was transported to Sendai by trailer on October 12th, 2016. On the next day, the bronze statue was installed in the lower front of the stone tower by crane, under the watchful eye of the people concerned, local mass media, and tourists visiting Sendai Castle. The bronze black kite, which had been placed on the top of the tower, was installed at the foot of the tower for security, considering the possibility that it may fall again from the tower top when another large earthquake occurs if placed in its original position. This bronze statue was commissioned, and then produced and cast at Tokyo Fine Arts School (Tokyo University of the Arts, today). Now, you can get a close look at the dynamic appearance of the huge black kite produced with the united efforts of the art school in the Meiji era, although it is now located in a place different from its original position.
 The restoration process that has taken over a little more than five years has revealed a lot of unknown facts about the Shochuhi memorial. The boring survey conducted in June, 2016 showed that there is a large hollow surrounded by brick walls inside the tower. Another fact that one of the wings of the black kite had toppled over due to an earthquake on November 3rd, 1936 prior to the Great East Japan Earthquake was confirmed with a newspaper at that time.
 According to the restorers of the bronze statue, the restoration process has revealed a variety of techniques made full use of for production. Particularly, the lead and concrete filling the inside of the statue to fix the rail inserted as an iron core connecting the black kite and the stone tower, as well as to balance the black kite in weight, was removed in this restoration for weight reduction. On the other hand, for installation of the restored black kite, steel pipes with different diameters are connected like inserts are used as a support rod inside the bronze statue. To join the steel pipes, lead was cast to fill the gap for fixing. The fixing method used for this statue clarified during the restoration process was applied to this approach. Thus, the Shochuhi memorial has been revived from the earthquake damage by utilizing the excellent technique of our predecessors. We sincerely hope that this valuable monument in the Meiji era will be handed down from generation to generation for ever after re-realizing the value of new knowledge obtained during the restoration process.

The 6th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems

On-going Seminar

 At the 6th seminar in 2016 organized by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems on October 25th, 2016, Koji KOBAYASI, Head of the Trans-Disciplinary Research Section, made a presentation titled “Japanese Lacquerware Motifs and Techniques Prevalent during the Late Keicho Period to the Early Kan-ei Period – Dialog between Painting Materials and Lacquerware Passed Down” from the perspective of material culture history. At this presentation, he compared and studied the contents drawn in the picture of “Maki-e Craftsman” composing a folding screen depicting various craftsmen possessed by Kitain Temple in Kawagoe City as an important cultural property and the same picture shown in one of Maekawa family’s books owned by Suntory Museum of Art as an original picture depicting various craftsmen of Kitain Temple’s so as to reconfirm the conventional view that these pictures were painted in the early 17th century. Then, he regarded it as reasonable to consider the landscape age of “Kabuki Picture Scroll” and “Picture of Play in the Residence (folding screen of Sououji Temple)” stored at the Tokugawa Art Museum as important cultural properties as the 1610s (between the late Keicho period and the early Genna period) and around 1630 (around the early Kan-ei period) respectively from several perspectives not referred to in past theories. In addition, he pointed out the possibility that you may recognize the living conditions of those days drawn fairly extensively and accurately in these genre paintings.
 As lacquerware having large vine and wisteria patterns and painted lacquerware using silver powder are often depicted in these pictures, he suggested that these lacquerware patterns and techniques were prevalent in the early 17th century (between the late Keicho period and the early Kan-ei period). He also suggested that the pained lacquerware, lacquerware made for trading with Europeans who visited Japan, and painted lacquerware using silver power with large vine and wisteria patterns passed down to today may be produced in this period.
 The relation between the contents/expressions of genre pictures in the early modern period and the historical reality is an unsolved issue due to the diverse views posed by scholars in art history and history. During the argument after the presentation of this research, that issue was referred to, leading to active discussion among the participants.

Seminar III On Passing Down Intangible Cultural Heritage (Traditional Technique): “Meiji’s Super-Techniques Handed Down to Today”

 On October 17th and 18th, 2016, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held Seminar III on Passing Down Intangible Cultural Heritage (Traditional Technique): “Meiji’s Super-Techniques Handed Down to Today” jointly with SEN-OKU HAKUKO KAN. This seminar particularly focused on Arita ware among the craft works produced in the Meiji period. On the first day, we organized a lecture and a session while on the second day, we visited the exhibition titled “Meiji Kogei: Amazing Japanese Art” held at the University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts, and the exhibition of “Arita Porcelain 400th Anniversary: The Compelling Beauty of Arita Ceramics in the Age of the Great International Expositions” at SEN-OKU HAKUKO KAN.
 On the first day, we reconfirmed the process of how Arita ware in the Meiji period has been handed down to today with an invited lecturer involved in the abovementioned exhibition. Then, we had a session together with experts from other craft fields under the title of “Utilizing Craft Works Produced in the Meiji Period Today.”
 In recent years, there have been several exhibitions that have attracted attention for elaborating on the techniques used for artifacts in the Meiji period. We can access “Craftsmanship” = “Intangible Cultural Heritage” through the artifacts of the Meiji period that have been handed down to the 21st century. We think researchers should not separate such cultural properties into tangible and intangible ones but should regard the two as complementary from now on. The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage will continue to provide debate opportunities to increase interest in today’s intangible cultural heritage.

Investigation of inner structure of Baird’s beaked whale specimen

Damaged Baird’s beaked whale specimen being X-rayed for investigation

 The Baird’s beaked whale specimen (Berardius bairdii : nickname “Tsutchy”) exhibited at the Rikuzentakata Sea and Shell Museum is a whale (total length is about 10m) that was stuffed to celebrate the meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Tokyo in 1954. The specimen was damaged by the great east Japan earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, 2011. After the primary inspection of damage at the museum on May 28th, 2011, the specimen was transferred to the Tsukuba Research Department of the National Museum of Nature and Science on June 30th, 2011. Currently, the project for restoration of the specimen is in progress.
 In this project, it is important to understand the structure of the timberworks and the location of corroded nails inside the specimen. At the request of the National Museum of Nature and Science, Masahide INUZUKA and Midori HAMADA investigated the inner structure of the specimen using X-ray radiography from October 16th to 18th and from 23rd to 25th, 2016. For this research, we used the developing equipment, which is dedicated to imaging plates that were introduced to our institute in 2015. Accordingly, we proceeded with the research by confirming the X-ray transmission images each time they were obtained.
 To investigate the overall inner structure of the specimen with the total length of about 10m, we obtained 375 X-ray images in total. The information about the structure of the timberworks and the location of corroded nails inside the specimen obtained from these X-ray images will be referred to during the investigation using an endoscope and the restoration works.

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