Four members from the Council for the Protection of Cultural Properties in Sakegawa Village, Yamagata Prefecture
Due to rapidly aging cultural property administrators, it is becoming increasingly difficult to conserve and manage cultural assets year after year in Sakegawa Village. They came to the Institute on September 13th to find solutions to be reflected in their cultural property protection program. The members visited the Biological Science Section and others to receive briefings from the staff in charge.
Six Members including Vice-Chancellor from the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute in India
They visited the Institute to attend the “Seminar on Indian Cultural Heritage” on September 26th.
After a brief overview provided by the staff from the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, the members toured the Performing Arts Studio and other sections.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Tajikistan in Japan, Dr. Hamrokhon ZARIFI, Second Secretary, Mr. Azizu Nazarof, and Interpreter, Mr. Kireer
They paid a courtesy call on the Institute. The members also toured the Biological Science Section, the Library, and the Performing Arts Studio to receive briefings from the staff in charge.
Seminar on Art Archives in France Today – Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems
The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been making efforts to collect, organize and publish art materials accumulated since its foundation in 1930 as The Institute of Art Research, following the art archive models in Europe. After more than 80 years, the way in which European art is archived has progressed. The presentation titled “Introduction of Modern Art Materials, Museums, Libraries, Archives and Internet Resources in France and Their Utilization Cases” provided on September 5th by Mr. Tatsuya SAITO (visiting researcher) of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems was a good opportunity for us to understand the current situation in France.
Mr. Saito, who now researches French modern art for his doctorate at Paris-Sorbonne University in Paris, daily accesses archives in France. From the viewpoint of their user, he mainly introduced the cases in public institutions, such as the Bibliothèque nationale de France, L’Institut national d’histoire de l’art, the Musee de l’Histoire de France Archives Nationales, and the Musée d’Orsay. Compared with Japan, the digital archives operated by each institution are excellent in quality and quantity in general. Particularly manuscript materials, including letters written by artists, are digitalized well. The staff of this Institute, where lots of similar materials are housed, were extremely inspired. On the other hand, as not all materials are digitalized, it is also necessary to refer to original materials. We nodded in agreement at his comment as researchers.
At the seminar, Mr. Masaya KOIZUMI from Hitotsubashi University gave comments as a commentator while Ms. Masako KAWAGUCHI and Ms. Megumi JINGAOKA from the National Museum of Western Art and Mr. Rei KOZAKAI from the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art joined the seminar. Although the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems daily focuses on Japanese art, the staff proactively exchanged opinions with researchers in Western art about what art archives should be like.
Research of the Western-style Cruciform Sword Possessed by Fujisaka Shrine in Minakuchi, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture by an Expert from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and an Initial Report at the 7th Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems
The cruciform sword possessed by Fujisaka Shrine in Minakuchi, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture is a slender Western-style sword, which is said to have been owned by feudal lord Yoshiaki KATO (1563-1631) who served Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, the founder of the Kato family ruling the Minakuchi Domain in the Tokugawa Shogunate. This sword of excellent workmanship is formed completely differently from those used in Japan or in Asia. A survey conducted by domestic specialists in 2016 revealed that this was a rapier produced in Europe between the 16th and early 17th century and that this is the only Western-style sword handed down to the present time in Japan (reported in TOBUNKEN NEWS No. 65). However, the research conducted at that time did not address some essential problems, such as whether this sword was made in Japan or brought to Japan from Europe, and around which year it was manufactured.
To resolve these problems, we invited Dr. Pierre Terjanian, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Curator in Charge, Department of Arms and Armor, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which boasts the world’s leading rapier collection. After conducting research in Minakuchi, Dr. Terjanian presented his considerations on this Western sword under the title “European Renaissance Rapiers and the Minakuchi Rapier” at the 7th seminar held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems.
According to his consideration, the copper hilt was obviously made in Japan, and the sword blade was probably made in Japan or in Asia, not in Europe. The original European rapier, on which the Minakuchi rapier was modeled, would have been manufactured between 1600 and 1630, but closer to 1630. Moreover, this sword displays less practicability.
His view unveils a new fact utterly unknown so far that Japanese people scrutinized a Western sword from Europe and even manufactured a reproduction of it in the early 17th century in Japan. On the other hand, another fact was also found: that a unique technique was used to connect the hilt to the blade with an advanced screw structure, which has not been confirmed in European rapiers. You can understand that such a unique feature resulted from much effort and ingenious attempts by Japanese artisans of the day who worked hard to accurately reproduce an unfamiliar Western sword with the knowledge and techniques they had.
Thus, the research of a Western-style sword handed down in Minakuchi reveals various facts about the metalwork techniques of the early 17th century and about the acceptance of foreign culture. We will proceed with further research and study, including the issue of where and how this sword was manufactured and by whom. We are planning to disclose the actual situation of this sword and its historical backdrops.
The 28th European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists (EAJRS) Conference was held at the University of Oslo, Norway from September 13th through 16th. From the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems of this Institute, Mr. Kikkawa attended the conference. EAJRS is an organization composed of librarians, professors, and museum and gallery curators who handle Japanese study materials in Europe. The 2017 conference was titled “Digital Strategies for Japanese Studies: Theories and Practices,” attracting more than 90 participants. At this conference consisting of 14 sessions, 30 presentations were made, regarding studies on the collections of Japanese materials overseas by the Chester Beatty Library, the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University, and so forth; digital archive programs by the National Institute of Japanese Literature, the National Museum of Japanese History, the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records, and the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation; the expertise on references using internet tools by the National Diet Library; and initiatives by the EAJRS Conservation/Preservation Working Group.
At the conference, we conducted a resource provider workshop and set up a booth to introduce our research programs and archives. We exhibited our publications and digital archives with explanations. Through talks during the period, overseas experts gave us concrete advice on how information should be disseminated through the institutional repository, as well as evaluation of our publications. This was really a good opportunity for us. You can access the EAJRS site (http://eajrs.net/) to watch this conference. The 2018 conference is scheduled to be held at Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania.
Natural disasters, such as earthquakes and typhoons, are causing serious damage to cultural property. The National Institute for Cultural Heritage has conducted interviews with museums and prefectural offices regarding the risk management of cultural property all over Japan in order to build networks providing for disasters, because it is necessary to protect our cultural heritage and pass it on to future generations. We are in charge of Hokkaido and Tohoku areas, and conducted an interview with Tohoku University of Art and Design on September 15.
In the university, documents that were damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake have been subjected to a freeze-drying process in order to dry them. We obtained information giving a detailed description of the time of the disaster in 2011. In addition, we learned about some problems and tasks on site.
Through these interviews, we found that there were many types of risk management for cultural property in each region. We will continue to conduct interviews, and aim to build Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Mitigation Networks that help people and protect our cultural property when problems arise.
Workshop for the Conservation of Historic Textiles in the Republic of Armenia: “Textile Art and Conservation: Knotting the Past and the Present”
The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties organized a workshop for the conservation of historic textiles titled “Textile Art and Conservation: Knotting the Past and the Present” jointly with the Ministry of Culture in the Republic of Armenia from September 11th through 20th, 2017. This workshop was implemented based on the agreement on cooperation in the cultural heritage protection area concluded between them in 2014.
In the Republic of Armenia, numerous organic substances such as fibers have been unearthed from archaeological sites. However, they do not have sufficient knowhow to preserve such artifacts. In addition, several religiously and historically valuable items, including ritual clothing and accessories, handed down since ancient times are stored in the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin, which is registered as a world cultural heritage site. Among them, however, some are seriously damaged, so it is necessary to restore them in the proper manner for smooth transfer of precious cultural heritage to the succeeding generations.
For this workshop, 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 were invited as lecturers. The first half of the workshop was conducted at the Scientific Research Center for Historical and Cultural Heritage while the second half took place at the Museum of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Thirteen trainees from seven institutions handling cultural heritage such as museums attended the seminar. This first workshop was designed to learn basic knowledge and techniques on textiles. We will continue this cooperative relationship to enable them ultimately to preserve and restore their cultural heritage by themselves.
Seminar on “Protection of Cultural Heritage and the Latest Research on the Indus Civilization in India”
On September 26th, the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Japanese Centre for South Asian Cultural Heritage held a seminar titled the “Protection of Cultural Heritage and the Latest Research on the Indus Civilization in India” inviting Vice-Chancellor of the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute in India, Dr. Vasant Shinde.
Dr. Shinde is an archaeologist representing India, who has conducted many excavations in India. At present, he is working on the Archaeological Ruins at Rakhigarhi, which were the largest city ruins in the ancient Indus Valley civilization overwhelming Moenjodaro.
For this seminar, Dr. Shinde made presentations on the “Current Situation on the Protection of Cultural Heritage in India” and “The Latest Outcomes from the Excavation of the Archaeological Ruins at Rakhigarhi.”
Before the presentations, he toured the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. Deccan College is a post-graduate and research institute specialized in cultural heritage. In 2018, it will establish new departments of “Conservation and Restoration” and “Heritage Management.” For that reason, Dr. Shinde listened intently to the briefing provided by Mr. Kuchitsu, the Head of the Restoration Planning Section of the Center for Conservation Science.
Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of the Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal” (Part 7)
As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have continually dispatched an expert to Nepal. From September 6th through 14th, Mr. Yamada, associate fellow of this Institute, conducted an on-site survey.
This time, he mainly surveyed the finishing specifications of the internal walls for the buildings around Aganchen Temple in Hanumandhoka Palace, Kathmandu, the restoration of which is planned under the guidance of Japanese specialized technicians, while taking photos to provide an official record. The wall surfaces of the buildings have been repeatedly painted since their construction, changing the paint materials. Therefore, the finishing layers damaged by the earthquake were carefully peeled off one by one with a working knife to investigate the history of the internal wall specifications in each room. Toward the future restoration, it is necessary to examine whether the former painted surfaces should be preserved, as well as to consider the specifications for restoration painting. The results of the investigation will be utilized as information for making such decisions, giving us important clues to clarify the history of the buildings repeatedly rebuilt.
On the other hand, on September 10th, he attended the workshop for the preservation of historic settlements in the Kathmandu Valley hosted by Kirtipur Municipality that has historic settlements inscribed on the World Heritage Tentative List, and suggested the items that require urgent attention for the conservation of historic settlements. Responding to this suggestion, the Mayor of Kirtipur, local administrative staff having jurisdiction over each historic settlement, and personnel from the Department of Archaeology of the national government held enthusiastic discussions with one another. Although there are still a lot of tasks to be completed before a proper system for conservation of historic settlements can be established, this workshop allowed the members to anticipate its realization.
The International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper was run from August 28th to September 15th, 2017. This course has been jointly organised by the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and the International Centre for the Study of 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 9 countries (Argentina, Australia, China, Czech Republic, Greece, Israel, Latvia, the Philippines and the USA) were selected as participants among 79 applications from 38 countries.
The course was composed of lectures, practical sessions and excursions. 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 of Mounting.” The participants gained experience of restoration work of paper cultural property from cleaning it to mounting it to 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 (Honminoshi) which is designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property of Japan, a traditional restoration studio, and so forth. On the last day, the present situation and issues with a focus on paper cultural property in each country such as conservation materials and environmental control were discussed.
The participants could acquire a deeper understanding not only on 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 gained in the course will be applied to conservation and restoration of cultural property overseas.
The Third Mission for the Project “Networking Core Centers for the Transfer of Technology Related to Study and Protection of Archaeological and Architectural Heritage in Myanmar” (Architectural Field)
As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs (re-commissioned by the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties), we conducted the third on-site survey for 2017 (from September 17th through October 2nd) by dispatching six members, including three outside experts. This time we conducted structural behavior monitoring, surveys on traditional building and production techniques, material experiments, and so forth.
In the structural behavior monitoring checked for the third time, no progress was found in deformation of the three monitored buildings in particular. However, part of the crack gauge had come off due to damage by birds or animals, and therefore, continual monitoring could not be performed at some of the measuring points. Therefore, we took measures according to the on-site situation by covering crack gauges or switching to crack disks.
The heritage building has various values: not only its appearance but also the techniques used for its construction. Regrettably, in the conventional restoration work in Bagan, people were scarcely aware of the conservation or reproduction of original techniques. And also scarce studies on such techniques are precious few. Thus, for this survey, we checked the bricklaying techniques in 20 buildings together with experts in building structure and conservation/repair. We also collected information on production techniques of traditional buildings through interviews and demonstrations with local bricklayers involved in repair.
As part of our technical assistance, we delivered lectures at the Bagan Branch of the Department of Archaeology and National Museums, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture in Myanmar for its 13 staff members, including the Deputy Director of the Bagan Branch, on September 20th. The three lectures were given in an omnibus manner: “Seismic damage of masonry cultural heritage in Asian countries” (Masahiko TOMODA, Head of the Conservation Design Section of the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties); “Surveys for Structural Analysis of Brick Cultural Heritage Buildings and Their Cases” (Professor Mikio KOSHIHARA, the University of Tokyo); and ”Conservation and Repair Work for Former Winery Facilities of Chateau Kamiya” (Yasuo NAKAUCHI, Adviser, the Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments). The audience showed much interest in reinforcement materials and techniques in particular.
On the other hand, in Yangon, we conducted compressive strength tests for single bricks (14 pieces) from September 23rd through October 1st in cooperation with the Myanmar Engineering Society (MES) and Yangon Technological University (Y1TU). In addition, we manufactured prisms (four-layered brick specimens) using three types of mortar that differed in materials and mix proportions based on the information obtained from the production technique survey in Bagan (nine in each type), cylindrical mortar specimens (three in each type), and square mortar specimens (three in each type). We are planning to conduct strength tests for these specimens about two months later.
We hope to accumulate more data useful for conservation and repair of the cultural heritage buildings in the Bagan area through such surveys and experiments.
The Forefront of Research on Sesshu – The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems Organizes a Workshop
Sesshu Toyo went to China (Ming) and made a serious career of ink brush painting. Materials on Sesshu’s entry into Ming include “Tenkai togaro ki” by Baifu Ryoshin and Sesshu’s painting “landscape” including his inscription (commonly called the Painting “Haboku-sansui” owned by the Tokyo National Museum (TNM)). Mr. Yu HASHIMOTO (Hokkaido University) presented his theory that Sesshu proactively went to Ming from the standpoint of Japan-Ming history research in his papers titled “Reexamination of Sesshu’s Travel to Ming China” (Studies in Art History 33, March 2017). Regarding “之” of “向者、大明国北京礼部院、於中堂之壁、尚書姚公、命公令画之” in “Tenkai togaro ki,” he pointed out that it was the theme of the painting drawn by Sesshu in the interior wall of lǐbu（礼部） in Beijing and assumed that it was an image of Zhôngkui（鍾馗） and as collateral evidence, and he discussed the relations between Zhôngkui and Chinese higher civil service examinations and lǐbu. Furthermore, the part “於茲長有声并李在二人得時名、相随伝設色之旨兼破墨之法兮” of Sesshu’s inscription in “Sansuizu” was read as the fact that Zhang Yousheug and Li Zai learned the traditional painting style by following each other unlike the traditional interpretation of “Sesshu’s studying under Zhang Yousheug and Li Zai.”
In response to this discussion, Mr. Minoru WATADA, Cultural Affairs Agency, scrutinized Hashimoto’s views of “Tenkai togaro ki” and Sesshu’s inscription in “landscape” in a presentation entitled “On the Occasion of Yu HASHIMOTO’s ‘Reexamination of Sesshu’s Travel to Ming China’” at a workshop organized by the Department on August 7th. We invited Mr. Arata SHIMAO, Gakushuin University, as the moderator, Mr. Koji ITO, Kyushu University, Mr. Hitoshi YONETANI, Waseda University, Ms. Makiko SUDA and Mr. Makoto OKAMOTO, Historiographical Institute, The University of Tokyo, as commentators and views and opinions from the perspectives not only of art history but also of historiography and philological history were exchanged in the workshop.
Mr. Watada read in the past “命公令画之” in “Tenkai togaro ki” as “之に画く” in the book titled “Sesshu and Japanese Kanga Painters (Brücke, 2013) and if it is “之を画く” as traditionally interpreted, he raised a question as to Hashimoto’s view that “之” is “墨鬼鍾馗” right before it. Many of the participants in the workshop expressed their views that there was no way to determine what “之” points to only through interpretation based on grammar and pointed out that there was room for restudy of the validity of making the theme of the painting an image of Zhôngkui. Based on the collateral evidence shown by Mr. Hashimoto and other evidence, some noted that the possibility of the theme of the painting being an image of Zhôngkui cannot be denied categorically, either. The participants concluded that seeking a possible interpretation and the theme of the painting that is appropriate for lǐbu would be future challenges to be addressed.
Furthermore, regarding the subject of “相随伝” written in the inscriptions, Mr. Watada read it as Sesshu, considering the fact that the subject after “余曽入大宋国” was supposed to be “余,” namely, Sesshu. So he took the position of reading Sesshu’s studying under Zhang Yousheug and Li Zai as traditionally interpreted. As opposed to this, many of participants in the workshop expressed views that there was a contradiction in terms of the structure of a sentence in the traditional theory and ended up supporting Mr. Hashimoto’s interpretation. It remains unknown why Sesshu illustrated two painters, that is, Zhang Yousheug and Li Zai , but if you pay attention to “数年而帰本邦地、熟知吾祖如拙周文両翁製作楷模,” as “長有声并李在” and “如拙周文” become paired, it is safe to say that Sesshu intended to make “如拙周文” stand out. Mr. Watada pointed out that unless you make the one that did “相随伝” Sesshu, it did not agree with the description of “至于洛求師,” namely, Sesshu sought a teacher in China. Mr. Shimao, who served as the moderator, suggested clichés be distinguished in text and it was an opportunity to share the recognition that studies are needed from an extensive perspective that is not confined to reading or interpreting of historiographic materials.
Thanks to the question raised by Mr. Watada, the participants were able to share the possibility and amplitude of interpretation of historiographical materials yet again. We can look forward to future developments in research on Sesshu.
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) held its 83rd World Library and Information Congress from August 19 to 25, 2017 in Wroclaw, a city in western Poland. IFLA, founded in 1927 in Edinburgh, Scotland, is an international organization for libraries and a member of the International Committee of the Blue Shield. Headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands, IFLA has approximately 1,400 member institutions from over 140 countries, and holds an annual world congress. At this year’s world congress, 248 sessions, including conferences, meetings and workshops, took place based on various topics and types of libraries such as national, academic and public libraries. As the first delegate from the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, I, Tomoko Emura from the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, participated in the Congress, joining workshops and meetings on art libraries and other topics relevant to our archives to share information and network with other participants from around the world. A session for the Art Libraries Section, Discovering Art and Architecture: Open-Access Tools for Art History Research, was held in the Museum of Architecture in Wroclaw on August 22, where four speakers from the Netherlands, Italy, the United States and Hungary presented various measures to expand the sharing of art-related documents and research materials to facilitate further studies. Ms. Kathleen Salomon from the Getty Research Institute explained, in her presentation titled A Virtual Library for Art History: The Getty Research Portal, that the Portal added our institute to the list of contributors in May this year and now provides access to digitized copies of the magazines and exhibition catalogues from the Meiji era owned by our institute. She also explained that other rare books in non-English languages are widely accessible from the Portal. Having seen no other participants from Japan or other Asian countries in the Art Libraries Section or the standing committee, I received the impression that international initiatives on art-related documents and materials are led by people in the U.S. and Europe, but also found that many Japanese artworks and documents are owned by institutions all over the world. Further, I realized that our institute would be able to play an instrumental role in supporting research activities and promoting a better understanding of Japanese culture more widely around the world by providing archive functions and information more effectively to the international community. Our challenge for the future is to foster international cooperation while maintaining our specialized expertise at a sufficient level.
Analysis of the Painting of Kujaku-myo-o and the Painting of Fugen Bosatsu (owned by the Tokyo National Museum) by X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry
The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Tokyo National Museum (TNM) have jointly conducted an optical analysis of Buddhist artworks owned by TNM. As part of this collaborative research, we conducted an analysis of coloring materials by employing X-ray fluorescence spectrometry for the Painting of Kujaku-myo-o (Skt: Mahamayurividyarajni) and the Painting of Fugen Bosatsu (Skt: Samantabhadra) for two days from August 2 to 3, 2017. The two pieces of artwork are paintings on silk drawn in the Heian period (12th century) and designated as a National Treasure. Through X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, the types and quantities of elements that constitute matter can be identified in a non-destructive and non-contact manner. In recent years, in particular, high-performance portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometers have become widespread, and highly accurate data have become safely obtainable. The types of pigments or the compositions of metals, such as gold and silver, can be identified by the analysis of paintings, such as these two artworks. Through this collaborative research, we have obtained high-definition color, fluorescent, and infrared images of five Buddhist paintings drawn in the Heian period so far, including the two pieces for this analysis. Using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, we have studied these images in detail and examined the colors and descriptions used in the artworks comprehensively. Although a great deal of research has been conducted on the Painting of Kujaku-myo-o and the Painting of Fugen Bosatsu from the perspective of art history, with this spectrometric technique, yet-to-be-discovered facts are expected to be uncovered. In addition, given the fact that experts from more than one realm ranging from art history to analytical chemistry and image formation have taken part in this collaborative research, there are likely to be new developments in the research of Buddhist paintings in the Heian period through cross-sectoral analysis and studies. For this reason, we will continue to promote cooperation among researchers in conducting research and moving ahead with the analysis of other Buddhist paintings in the same era as well.
From the Federated States of Micronesia, Mr. Marcelo K. Peterson, Governor of Pohnpei State, and Mr. Esmond B. Moses, a member of the Congress, visited the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage with Mr. Shoji Sato, the Executive Director of the Association for the Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC) (a former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Federated States of Micronesia) as a guide, and exchanged opinions on the protection of cultural heritage/traditional culture, and so forth. Mr. Osamu Kataoka (Researcher of the Intercultural Research Institute, Kansai Gaidai University) and Mr. Kanefusa Masuda (Senior Researcher of the Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University) joined us to have an in-depth discussion over diverse topics, including the conservation and utilization of Nan Madol, which is a ruined city on Pohnpei island and a World Heritage Site officially recognized by UNESCO in 2016.
This seminar has been conducted since 1984 in order to convey basic knowledge and techniques to curators working on the conservation of materials at the cultural property conservation facilities. For 2017, the two-week seminar starting from July 10 attracted 31 participants throughout Japan. The curriculum of this seminar consists of two major topics: management of the facility environment such as temperature and humidity, air quality, and prevention of pest damages; factors and manners of deterioration according to material types, as well as its prevention. Experts inside and outside the Institute gave lectures and practical training. For the “Case Study,” where the participants experienced the museum environment research on site, they visited Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore. After dividing into eight groups, they implemented research under the theme set by each group, and presented the outcomes at a later date. Under the current circumstances whereby many facilities are planning large-scale renovation and major movements related to the conservation of materials, such as shifting to LED lighting, are under way, we will scrutinize the curriculum further for smooth technical transfer of proper management.
On August 19th (Saturday) to August 27th (Sunday), the Modern Cultural Properties Section of the Center for Conservation Science conducted a survey on the conservation and restoration situation of iron structures built in the Japan colonial period (1895-1945) existing in Taiwan. In this survey, we focused on a large-scale factory and iron bridges. The preservation of Japanese colonial buildings began in earnest following the end of martial law in 1987, and about half of all Designated or Registered Cultural Properties are Japanese colonial-era buildings. For this survey, although we focused on a sugar-refining plant, since tobacco and brewed liquor factories had a monopoly on the country until the 1990s, many of their factories and machinery have been left untouched. Although these factories are greatly influenced by their location, many factories in large cities such as Taipei have been assigned new roles by town planners, and are used as commercial and cultural facilities. On the 22nd, we visited the Bureau of Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture, and held a discussion with Director-general Gwo-Long Shy on the efforts to preserve Taiwan’s cultural assets. Since 2000, Taiwan has made efforts to preserve its industrial system of production, distribution and manufacturing. This has led to an active exchange of ideas regarding renewed interest in the preservation of Japan’s own industrial heritage.
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 who wish to learn how to handle chemicals, particularly those that have recently become more popular in restoration sites, and how to apply them in conservation and restoration works, the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Association for Conservation of National Treasures (ACNT) jointly conducted a workshop with training program for conservators from August 8 to 9, 2017, 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 property of organic solvents and enzymes as well as the proper handling of basic laboratory instruments and chemicals for more effective and safer restorations.
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, 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.
As part of the joint research with Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), “The Workshops on Conservation of Japanese Textile” were held jointly in the Research Center for Conservation of Cultural Relics, NTNU from August 9th to 18th, 2017 for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese textiles overseas. The workshops that consisted of the Basic workshop “Cultural Properties of Textile in Japan” and the Advanced workshop “Conservation of Japanese Textile”, were conducted by the researchers and restorers specialized in Japanese textile from Japan and Taiwan. The textile specialists such as conservators from Laos, the Philippines, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the U.S.A. took part in the workshops. The Basic workshop was held from August 9th to 11th, attended by 10 participants and 2 observers. In the workshop, basic knowledge of Japanese textile was introduced through the lectures and practical sessions of the relevant protection system, materials such as fiber and thread, techniques such as weaving and dyeing, structure and history of kimono, and so forth. The Advanced workshop was held from August 14th to 18th, attended by 6 participants and 3 observers. This workshop was more practical. It comprised of the display and folding method of kimono, chemical analysis, and practice on application of support silk fabric. Moreover, information regarding the conservation of textile such as technical ideas and culture in each country were exchanged in time for the discussion. With the aim of contributing to the protection of Japanese textiles overseas, similar workshops will be implemented by introducing not only textile objects as tangible cultural properties, but also intangible cultural properties such as techniques of manufacture and restoration.