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


Participation in the “UNESCO Sub-Regional Workshop on Serial Nomination for Central Asian Petroglyph Sites”

 The “UNESCO Sub-Regional Workshop on Serial Nomination for Central Asian Petroglyph Sites” was held from May 26 to 31, 2008 at Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyz Republic in Central Asia. Representatives of four countries in Central Asia except for Turkmenistan, namely, Kyrgyz, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, as well as of UNESCO and ICOMOS participated in this workshop, and Yamauchi of the Institute attended as an observer. Although rock art (or rock painting) sites are found over a wide area not only in Central Asia but also in the entire Eurasian continent, the said workshop limits the area to Central Asia with the aim of collectively registering all the sites in that region as a World Heritage site. In this meeting, many case examples were introduced, and problems related to research, registration operations, management and conservation were discussed. Since this is a serial nomination of heritages beyond national borders, preparation of application forms for World Heritage site is likely to require more time due to differences in the progress of works in different countries. In the workshop, it was confirmed that similar workshops would continue to be held with the goal of World Heritage site registration in 2012. As a part of the Cooperative Projects for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage in West Asia, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation will participate in such workshops, keeping in mind future cooperative conservation projects, and endeavor to collect information while promoting cooperation with relevant parties and authorities in countries in Central Asia.


Signing of an agreement for cooperation in the conservation of cultural heritage in the Republic of Tajikistan

 On March 20, 2008, an agreement and a memorandum for cooperation in the conservation of cultural heritage were signed between the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography, Academy of Science, Tajikistan and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. According to the agreement, which is a general agreement, the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography and our Institute will cooperate in conducting activities for the conservation of cultural heritage in Tajikistan, and capacity building and transfer of technology will be conducted by means of actual work of conservation and workshops. The memorandum concerns the conservation project for the mural paintings in the collection of the National Museum of Antiquities, Tajikistan affiliated to the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography, and cooperation with regard to capacity building and transfer of technology related to that project. The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation will begin the actual work outlined in the agreement and the memorandum from the fiscal year 2008.


Conservation project for fragments of Bamiyan birch manuscripts

Conservation project for fragments of Bamiyan birch manuscripts (1)
Conservation project for fragments of Bamiyan birch manuscripts (2)

 During the conservation missions by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, within the framework of UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust, hundreds of small fragments of bark Buddhist manuscripts were found in 2003 from caves in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. They are quite invaluable as important historical witnesses of the Buddhism that once flourished in Bamiyan. The fragments are mostly as small as a few centimetres in width and length. Many are folded, making the texts illegible and creating much difficulty for the viewers. In that sense, they are not in a form that would allow displaying them to the general public.
 In November 2007, with the financial aid of the Sumitomo Foundation, 543 pieces (at initial counting) of the fragments of Bamiyan bark manuscripts were brought to Japan for conservation treatment. On this occasion, a local conservator from Kabul National Museum was also invited to the Institute, and arrived with the fragments, for conservation training. A number of fragments were safely flattened and mounted in special frames, and then returned to Afghanistan safely with the aid of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Japan.


Cooperation for the establishment of the Conservation Center for Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM-CC) in Cairo

Conservation Center for Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM-CC) under construction

 In cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been providing technical advice to the GEM-CC. In November and December, members of the Center visited the GEM-CC to discuss future strategies for the project. For the time being, the Center is providing necessary technical and machinery support prior to the grand opening of the GEM-CC (April 2008) after which time it will hold some training activities, such as workshops on particular subjects in conservation.


International Symposium for the Serial Nomination for the Silk Roads to the World Heritage

International Symposium for the Serial Nomination for the Silk Roads to the World Heritage

 On 30 and 31 October, 2007, an international symposium was organized by ICOMOS, UNESCO, Shaanxi Municipal People’s Government and Xi’an Municipal People’s Government. It aimed to introduce the cultural nature of the Silk Roads and to supply instruction and technical consultation for nomination of the Silk Roads to the World Heritage. The east end of this vast area targeted for this nomination was considered as Xi’an at this point; unfortunately, Nara was excluded from this Silk Roads in the nomination. From the side of Japan, it is considered quite essential to keep discussing, in the nomination process, the geographical and historical definitions of the Silk Roads.


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