The Muramatsu Gallery was a place where artists leading Japanese contemporary art had exhibited their works since 1960. This gallery closed in December 2009, and so Ms. Kawashima Yoshiko, a representative of the gallery, donated materials, such as an album which included documentary photos of its exhibitions, to our Institute. The Muramatsu Gallery opened around 1942 as a gallery of the Muramatsu clock shop which opened in Ginza in 1913, and was transferred to Ms. Kawashima in 1968. The materials acquired through the gallery’s 40 years of activities since 1968 are very precious, supplementing the materials of contemporary artists that we have collected, arranged and exhibited since before the war. Our Director gave her a certificate of gratitude on March 12. We will store the donated materials for ever, and make use of them and exhibit them.
|■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|
“Phoenix Hall of Byodo-in Temple, the Wall Behind the Buddha Investigation Material List: Near-infrared Image Edition” issued
While the Heisei Large Repair of the Phoenix Hall was being implemented from 2003 to 2008 at the Byodo-in Temple, the seated Amitabha Tathagata, along with the halo and pedestal, were transferred to a specially installed studio on the temple grounds. We took this opportunity to conduct a detailed optical survey of the painting in front of the wall behind the Buddha, with support and cooperation from Byodo-in Temple, in 2004 and 2005. We used high-definition digital camera techniques and recorded the current status of the painting in detail. As a report on the results, the “Phoenix Hall of Byodo-in Temple, the Wall Behind the Buddha Investigation Material List: Near-infrared Image Edition” was issued on February 26. This follows the issue of “Phoenix Hall of Byodo-in Temple, the Wall Behind the Buddha Investigation Material List: Color Image Edition” in 2009. As is well known, the panel painting on front of the Wall Behind the Buddha is usually behind the principal Buddha image, Amitabha Tathagata, so it is not easy to view the whole painting in detail. This edition, therefore, will prove very useful use not only for the study of the painting on the wall behind Buddha, but also for the study on Buddhist paintings during the Heian period. In 2011, we will issue the “Phoenix Hall of Byodo-in Temple, the Wall Behind the Buddha Investigation Material List: Fluoroscopic Image Edition.”
Last year, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo held the 32nd International Symposium on the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, called “Capturing the ‘Original’: Archives for Cultural Properties.” After an editing period of a full year, we are now proud to publish a report on that symposium. It includes presentations and discussions by 26 national and international researchers, and explores how we should convey cultural properties while intending to maintain ‘original’ as it is. See the Department of Research Programming’s page for the titles of each publication.
The contemporary artist Fukuda Miran created a mirror image of Hokusai’s famous “The Great Wave off Kanagawa,” which is part of his “Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji” series. Miran’s work is used as the front cover of the publication, and was also used as the public relations image of the symposium.
This publication is commercially available from Heibonsha under the title of “Capturing the ‘Original’: Conveying Cultural Properties.”
The Department of Research Programming of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo is conducting joint research with the Nara National Museum as part of the research project Survey Research on Applications of High-definition Digital Images. In March 2010, a report on a pedestal for reading Kasuga Gongen Genki-e (owned by Kasuga Taisha Shrine in Nara) was published. With the Kasuga Gongen Genki-e, the scene of the grounds of Kasuga Taisha Shrine is drawn on a folding screen with six panels that are approximately 42 cm in length, using gold and silver paints and gold and silver cut foils. This work has attracted attention because it is regarded as an old example of a paper folding screen and also as a precise example of a picture with gold and silver paints created in the fourteenth century. On the fluorescent image photographed this time in the joint research survey, patterns and detailed expressions that are not apparent to the naked eyes were confirmed. We hope that the fluorescent image will be an important research material in future studies on scenery images and pictures with gold and silver paints. When the Kasuga Gongen Genki-e was displayed in the Special Exhibition “On-Matsuri and the Sacred Art of Kasuga” from December 8, 2009 to January 17, 2010 before issuing the report, we exhibited the color image and fluorescent image photographed in this survey on panels to announce some of the results.
Report issued on Symposium by the International Workshop on the Conservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage: “Current status and issues on protection measures in Asia-Pacific region countries”
On January 14, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held a symposium entitled “Current status and issues on protection measures in Asia-Pacific region countries” in the seminar room of the Institute with 11 Japanese and overseas conservation specialists. A report on the symposium has been issued recently. View the following page for the PDF version:
The latest edition of the research bulletin Conservation Science issued by the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques and Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo was published on March 31, 2010. This bulletin includes the latest research results of various projects conducted by our Institute. It includes research information on the conservation of Takamatsuzuka Tumulus and Kitora Tumulus and other basic studies and investigation results concerning conservation science. Please visit our website to read the entire text (PDF version):
Expert Meeting on Cultural Heritage in Asia and the Pacific: Cultural Heritage in East Asia: What can we find and share through international cooperative activities for protecting cultural heritage?
From March 4 to 6, 2010, we held the Expert Meeting on Cultural Heritage in Asia and the Pacific at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, entitled “Cultural Heritage in East Asia: What can we find and share through international cooperative activities for protecting cultural heritage?” A total of 63 experts in the field of conserving cultural heritages got together from the China National Institute of Cultural Property; the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Korea; the DunHuang Academy; the UNESCO Beijing Office; the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Region Training Research Center; the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties; and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. They discussed the current status and future of international cooperation in cultural heritage protection activities. The discussed how research organizations can have international cooperation. We were able to share various experiences and information, such as details of cooperative research and operations conducted by the research institutes, mutual cultivation of talent, and standardization of documentation of cultural heritage. This was the first opportunity for us to have a deep exchange of opinions for more than 20 hours at a meeting of experts like this. We developed a relationship with the research institutes. In addition, it can be said that we have made a start toward planning future projects and obtaining concrete results.
Conservation and Restoration of Mural Painting Fragments in Tajikistan and Capacity Building (Seventh Mission)
From February 27 to March 10, 2010, we executed the seventh mission for Conservation and Restoration of Mural Painting Fragments in the collection of the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan. This mission was in the framework of the exchange program of Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage commissioned by the Agency of Cultural Affairs. The purpose is to foster experts who are engaged in conservation and restoration of mural painting fragments in Tajikistan.
In the seventh mission, the Tajik trainees used filler to restore the missing fragments under the instructions of a Japanese restoration specialist. The mural fragments excavated from the Kara-i Kahkaha (Shafristan) site in northern Tajikistan were damaged in fires, and the colors of the surfaces and undercoated layers differed depending on the fragment. So the trainees had to carefully observe the color of the entire fragment and determine what color of filler to use for each fragment. They repeatedly created samples and seemed to gradually figure out how to create filler with the appropriate color and stiffness.
We plan to conduct a training session on installing mural fragments on a new support (mounting) next year.
The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo is conducting a training session on how to restore wooden buildings and conserve stone monuments and rock art in Mongolia. This is in the framework of the exchange program of Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage, and being coordinated with the relevant organizations and specialists. It has been also made possible thanks to the cooperation of the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage. From March 16 to 18, we reported the results of the training and related investigations conducted last summer and discussed the policy for activities in the following year, at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Cultural Heritage Conservation Center in Ulan Bator, the capital of the partner country, Mongolia. We felt those in Mongolia were satisfied with the results, and sensed their high expectations for the specific proposal for future activities. In the relevant investigation, we interviewed the chairperson of the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO and asked him about the activities being conducted for world heritages, such as the policy for protecting cultural heritages already listed and the cultural heritages whose listing is to be applied for. The Amarbayasgalant Monastery, where we are conducting the training for restoration of wooden buildings, is registered in a tentative list of world heritages, and future developments are expected.
Seven years have passed since the Great Buddha of Bamiyan in Afghanistan was destroyed. The international community is committed to protecting destroyed cultural heritages in Afghanistan while hoping for the stability and development of Afghanistan. The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo was engaged in establishing the course and plan for conservation from the beginning of the project and plays a primary role in it. On March 25 and 26, the eighth Meeting of Bamiyan Site Safeguarding Experts was held in Munich, Germany, with the participation of persons related to UNESCO and international organizations, research organizations and experts in relevant countries.
The situation is still unstable in Afghanistan at present, and it is hard to conduct activities for continuous restoration and conservation. The attendees earnestly discussed what the international community can do in such circumstances and how the site and destroyed Great Buddha can be used. Japan showed its significant presence as a donor country of UNESCO and Japan Trust Fund. We sincerely hope that through the meeting there will be international cooperation in protecting cultural heritages that will lead to future stability in Afghanistan.