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


Field survey for the “Training course on the first-aid of mural paintings” (the Republic of Turkey)

Current state at St. Theodore Church
Presentation of case examples at Gazi University

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted a field survey from June 12 to 24, 2017. During this survey visit, we also held meetings with Turkish parties concerned in preparation for the “Training course on the first-aid of mural paintings” to be held in the Republic of Turkey in the fall of 2017 or later. The main purposes of this past survey visit were to further improve our understandings of the current state of mural conservation in Turkey and also to determine the sites suitable for the hands-on session that will be a part of the training course. The mural paintings at about 15 locations, including churches in Trabzon on the Black Sea coast and cave churches scattered around the Göreme district in Cappadocia, were surveyed and valuable information was acquired to enrich contents of the training course.
 During our visit to the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties, Faculty of Fine Arts, Gazi University, and the Regional Laboratory for Conservation and Restoration in Nevşehir that have provided continuous cooperation in advancing the project forward since last fiscal year, presentations on case examples of the conservation and restoration of murals in Turkey were given and we had meaningful opportunities to exchange views regarding the topics of the program with lecturers who will engaged in the training course.
 The first training course is scheduled to be held in October for Turkish specialists who are engaged in conservation of the cultural properties. We will proceed with the preparation of the training course so that it will become a good opportunity to consider and realize further improvement of protecting cultural properties from a new perspective.


Survey on Structures that Have Mural Paintings Affected by the 2016 Central Italy Earthquakes

The state of the damaged Saint Christopher (San Cristoforo) Church (exterior walls)
The state of the damaged Saint Christopher (San Cristoforo) Church (interior mural paintings)

 A 6.2 magnitude earthquake occurred with its epicenter in Norcia, Perugia in the central area of Italy on August 24th, 2016, and caused massive human and material damage in and around the area. Coincidentally, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the central area of Myanmar on the same day, which damaged a large number of Buddhist stupas and mural paintings drawn in the Bagan remains. The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) had formulated ways of conserving and restoring brick structures and mural paintings specifically for the Mae-taw-yat shrine (No. 1205) in the Bagan remains and carried out projects with an eye toward developing human resources up to that time. After the area suffered earthquake damage, however, extra items to be addressed were added, forcing the TNRICP to modify its policy partially.
 Against this background, with the aim of exchanging views and opinions about how to address issues and preservation and restoration philosophy when regarding structures that had mural painting and stucco ornaments as mixed heritage, a party visited the disaster sites in Italy from April 20th through 27th, 2017. According to local experts who were engaged in restoration activities, work was behind schedule due to enormous damage but the inspection survey proved to be productive in a number of ways in terms of how to identify the actual state of damage or establish a procedure for conservation and restoration.
 This survey was primarily targeted at churches that had religious mural paintings that were associated with the Bible. Meanwhile, in the Bagan remains, the main target is temples that have Buddhist mural paintings. Though the era, objective of production and techniques employed are different between the two, they share the same philosophy in moving ahead with efforts to save cultural assets in disaster-stricken areas. We will continue to promote research on how appropriate restoration projects targeting mixed cultural properties should be while leveraging international networks.


Workshops on Lacquerware at the Lacquerware Technology College in Bagan, Myanmar

Practical training on investigation of the lacquer objects
Practical training on observation of cross-section samples using a microscope

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation held a lacquerware workshop at the Lacquerware Technology College in Bagan, Myanmar, as part of the project ʻProtection and Conservation of Cultural Properties in Myanmarʼ Bagan is a major production area for lacquerware. The above-mentioned college is working hard to train young lacquerware specialists to pass down local traditions and techniques. A lacquerware museum is attached to the college, where many cultural properties are housed. On the other hand, they need knowledge and skills related to the conservation and restoration of their cultural properties and scientific research on materials.
 Twelve college teachers and the museum curators participated in the workshop held from February 6th to 8th, 2017. The participants were provided with practical training and lectures on investigation and scientific analysis which are essential for the basis on conservation and restoration of lacquerware. In the practical training, each participant was required to visually examine and take notes on three pieces of Japanese lacquerware and one from the museum collection, followed by a discussion about their uses, materials, techniques and condition of damage. Finally, the comments and explanations were given by the instructor. In the scientific analysis part of the practical training, the participants prepared and observed by themselves cross-section samples. Fragments detached from actual lacquerware were embedded in synthetic resin, and the well-polished samples were then observed using a microscope to understand the structure of the lacquer coating. To cover the practical training, lectures were also provided to introduce a case study of conservation and restoration, along with prevalent methods of scientific analysis.
 The aim of the workshop was to provide the college teachers and curators with experience that would help them to protect the cultural properties in Myanmar.


The Research on Conservation and Restoration Method for Outer Wall of Brick Temples in Bagan, Myanmar

Waterproof sheet covering the damaged areas
Lashing belt reinforcing the structure

 From February 5th to 28th, 2017, at Me-taw-ya (No. 1205) temple in the Bagan Archaeological Site in Myanmar, the experiments with restoration materials and techniques were carried out in order to establish restoration methods for outer wall of brick temples, mainly aiming at protecting mural paintings from rain leakage. The previous surveys raised the issues to be resolved: the selection of appropriate restoration materials and methods considering aesthetic appearance of the monuments. Repeated discussion with the staff members of the Bagan Branch, Department of Archaeology and National Museums, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture of Myanmar, resulted in a meaningful exchange of ideas about concrete restoration methods. On the other hand, explained in detail by local experts, a study was conducted to get the information about the changes of techniques and iconography, related to mural paintings which are the principal subject of this project.
 During the field work on site, a series of significant damage was detected to the temple structure, caused by the earthquake measuring M6.8 that struck central Myanmar on August 24th, 2016. Consequently, the remedial intervention was taken on the damaged areas, partially rescheduling the first planning. In the Bagan Archaeological Site, obviously rain leakage is the crucial cause of deterioration of the brick temples and mural paintings which decorate their inside. Lashing belts were employed to reinforce the structure, along with nets and waterproof sheets to prevent collapses and water penetration, taking into account the approaching rainy season.
 The results of chemical analysis of various materials used during the construction period will provide the criteria for revising the restoration methods introduced in the past and for studying the compatibility between new and old materials. Also, a plan will be made with local experts for new restoration methods adapted to the current situation of the Bagan Archaeological Site.


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.


Investigation of Damaged Murals in Bagan (Myanmar) after the Earthquake

Devastated Temple
Mural Pieces Scattering over the Ground

On August 24th, 2016, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake, the epicenter of which was located in Chauk, Central Myanmar, occurred. Many pagoda temples of the Bagan Archaeological Zone also suffered from the earthquake. From September 24th through 30th, 2016, we investigated the murals conserved in that Zone for confirmation.
 Together with the staff from the Bagan Branch of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library, the Ministry of Culture, we conducted an on-site investigation to check the extent of the damage to the murals mainly at the temples in which serious damage had been reported in advance. As a result, we found that cracks on the brick temples supporting the murals and the movements of the brick pieces led to plaster damage, and the damage levels differed according to the various mural production techniques and materials used in the Pagan Dynasty. In addition, we revealed that some of the materials used in the past restoration were not suitable for the murals in Bagan, even going so far as being detrimental to them.
 In the Bagan Archaeological Zone, the rehabilitation activities to protect its old temples are still proceeding. Me-Taw-Ya Temple (No. 1205), for which we are considering emergency measures and conservation/restoration methods for its external walls as our project, was also damaged. We will work on further activities while paying attention to the restoration materials to be introduced with a focus on the negative factors unveiled by the earthquake, establishment of emergency measures, and development of experts involved in these processes.


Investigation of Outer Walls of Brick-built Archaeological Sites to Implement Countermeasures against Leakage of Rain and Review of Emergency Measures in Bagan, Myanmar

Appearance of the Mae-taw-yat temple
An experiment on filling using hydraulic lime

 From July 18th to 29th, 2016, we carried out investigations of damage to outer walls of a brick-built temple as well as conducted review and experiments of restoration materials at the Mae-taw-yat temple (No. 1205) within the Bagan Archaeological Zone. These investigations and experiments were implemented on the basis of the outcome of the survey that verified the state of conservation of the mural paintings on the internal walls of the temple, which had been completed in the previous fiscal year and revealed that the main cause of exfoliation and chipping of the plaster layer is leakage of rain.
 A European expert on brick material conservation and restoration participated in this on-site work. With staff members of the Myanmar Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs and the Bagan Branch of the Department of Archeology, National Museum and Library, we verified the characteristics of burnt bricks manufactured during the Pagan Dynasty from a wide variety of angles. On the basis of the findings and considering Myanmar’s tropical rainforest climate, we selected materials suitable for restoration and conducted their tests as emergency measures for preventing leakage of rain. In consideration of the appearance at the archeological sites, we will continue to improve materials through monitoring the condition over time,. Furthermore, we performed multipoint measurements using a digital moisture meter to identify the distribution of moisture in the internal walls of the temple, and also took a video using a digital 4K camcorder to record the state of the external walls prior to the implementation of emergency measures.
 In this project, we aim not only to take temporary measures but also to establish a permanent method of addressing the problem. In anticipation of Bagan’s future, we will study reasonable ways that fit the current situation surrounding the protection of cultural properties in Myanmar and also work on capacity building of budding experts.


Research on the Conservation and Management System of Wall Paintings in the Republic of Turkey

Meeting at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey
Inspection of wall paintings in a church in Ihlara Valley

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted a field survey from June 18th to 24th to understand the conservation and management system of wall paintings in the Republic of Turkey. In Ankara, we visited the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties, Faculty of Fine Arts, Gazi University, which has restored many wall paintings in the country, and listened to an explanation of methods of conservation and restoration that were actually used in each project. We then had a meeting with the officials including the deputy director of the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Museums at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and agreed on the development of a cooperative system with the Center to further enhance maintenance and management of wall paintings in Turkey. In a courtesy visit to Hiroshi Oka, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Japan to Turkey, we discussed topics such as the latest security situation and cultural policy in the country based on recent world affairs.
 As an inspection, we visited Kaman-Kalehöyük Archaeological Museum established with ODA from Japan, with guidance by Sachihiro Omura, Director of the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology, and studied the conservation state of the wall paintings in churches scattered across the Göreme district in Cappadocia and Ihlara Valley.
 We will continue to inspect the wall paintings in various locations in Turkey. At the same time, we are planning activities to educate conservation and restoration specialists in wall paintings and conservation and management workers who will lead operations in the future while learning about current maintenance and management of wall paintings in Turkey as well as finding room to improve and challenges to undertake.


Survey and Training on Conservation of Mural Paintings at the ruins of a Brick-Built in Bagan (Myanmar)

Survey of conditions of roof damage at the brick-built ruin

 During a period from January 7th to January 18th at the Bagan Ruins in Myanmar, we conducted training on preservation/restoration of murals and temporary conservation work associated with the falling mural at No.1205 Temple within the Bagan Ruins. This was the last survey/training that was performed under the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project that had been entrusted by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan.
 The training programs consisted of lectures on the mural pigment analysis with X-ray fluorescence analyzer, photographing the exteriors of the Temples using a UAV (Drone), and the 3D model production technique (SfM, Structure from Motion) using the pictures obtained, as well as the discussions held at the mural conservation work site. The training was attended by 4 expert staff members of the Department of Archaeology and National Museum, Bagan Branch and Mandalay Branch who were engaged in preservation and conservation of mural paintings and architecture. The attendees commented that they would like to use what they learned in the training also in other conservation projects and we also expect such future utilization. At one conservation work site where the survey team visited, the team saw that the particular method to adjust conservation materials that had been instructed in the past training was then in use and thus realized a favorable effect of the training. Further, with regard to the falling of the mural paintings at No.1205 Temple, all the temporary conservation works that had continued since 2014 were completed. Through the survey under this project, it was confirmed that roof leakage was one of the main factors that caused damages to mural paintings and the importance of taking appropriate measures against it was re-recognized. It is expected that the results of the survey and training under this project will continue to be utilized in mural paintings conservation in Bagan.


Cooperation to safeguard cultural heritages in Myanmar (1)

Practical training session on the preparation of materials used for restoration at No. 1205 temple

 Workshops and investigations on the conservation of mural paintings in the brick-made monument
 From June 14 to 23, we conducted workshops on the conservation and restoration of mural paintings that have been conducted since last year, and carried out investigations on the environment inside the No. 1205 temple of the Bagan Monuments and damage conditions of its roof, as well as emergency restoration of collapsed parts of mural paintings. Workshops were held for three officials specialized in the conservation of mural paintings from the Bagan and Mandalay branches of the Department of Archeology and National Museum (DoA) of Myanmar’s Ministry of Culture. While inspecting past restoration cases involving mural paintings of Bagan temples, we debated such topics as causes of damages to mural paintings and the countermeasures. After that, the trainees had a practical training session at the No. 1205 temple to learn methods of keeping investigation records for an actual restoration of mural paintings, ways of preparing materials used for restoration, and other issues. Meanwhile, as a measure to address contamination and damages caused by beasts, birds, and insects, a problem pointed out in the investigation in fiscal 2014, we provided instructions on how to use termiterepellent and installation of the entrance door to the temple, and introduced the repellent in the temple together with the staff from the DoA. The trainees said that they would like to make use of what they learned in the workshops for other restoration projects, so the future utilization of the techniques can be expected.


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