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


July Facility Visit (1)

Giving an explanation in the Audio-Visual Documentation Section (July 21)

 36 new staff members of National Institutes for Cultural Heritage:
 As part of the training sessions for new staff of National Institutes for Cultural Heritage, 17 members visited the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo on July 21 and 19 members visited on July 22. They toured the chemical laboratory of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques on the fourth floor, the Library of the Department of Research Programming on the second floor, the X-ray Room of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques, and the Audio-Visual Documentation Section of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage on the basement floor. Those in charge of each facility provided explanations and answered questions.


July Facility Visit (2)

Giving an explanation in the Library (July 26)

 Ten undergraduate students of Bunka Women’s University, Major in Costume and Fashion History of Program in Fashion Culture and others:
 The students visited the Institute on July 26 to learn about the current status of scientific research on art objects and such like. They toured the chemical laboratory of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques and the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation on the fourth floor, the Library of the Department of Research Programming on the second floor, and the Audio-Visual Documentation Section of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage on the basement floor. Those in charge of each facility provided explanations and answered questions.


Workshop of Department of Research Programming

Monthly Flowers and Ornamental Plants on a right-hand folding screen, painted by Murakoshi Koei Owned by Adachi-city Folk Museum
Monthly Flowers and Ornamental Plants on a left-hand folding screen, painted by Murakoshi Koei Owned by Adachi-city Folk Museum

 The 4th workshop of Department of Research Programming 2010 was held on July 28th. The following were the presenters and the titles of their presentations:
• Emura Tomoko (a researcher at Department of Research Programming)
“Concerning Suzuki Kiitsu’s paintings of flowers and grasses, centering on Flowers and Grasses painted on a small sliding door fusuma owned by the Portland Art Museum”
• Mr. Sanada Takamitsu (curator of Adachi-city Folk Museum)
“Senju and Edo Rimpa”
 Emura verified from her works and from the literatures that the expression techniques of the above paintings had been closely related to Kiitsu’s learning about the Korin’s paintings, and also considered the Kiitsu’s patrons who have not been completely unveiled. Mr. Sanada made a presentation on the activities and works of Mr. Murakoshi Kiei and Koei, parent and son, who were Kiitsu’s disciples and whom flourished in Senju, associated with the “Edo Rimpa” exhibition that will be held at the Adachi-city Folk Museum in March 2011. We invited Ms. Tamamushi Toshiko (professor at Musashino Art University) as a commentator and held a research discussion. We will make public the results obtained from this workshop in the form of research papers and exhibitions, pursuing further exchange and promotion of research.


Survey at Joshibi University of Art and Design Museum (JAM)

Survey at Joshibi Art Museum

 As part of joint research at the Joint Research Center for Fashion and Clothing Culture, we surveyed the textiles at the JAM on July 12, 2010. This joint research started in November 2008, aiming to clarify the relationship between the Mitsui-family descendent short-sleeved (kosode) kimono owned by the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum and the associated Maruyama-school costume design. We conducted the detailed survey on the short-sleeved kimonos, which were in the possession of the now-defunct Kanebo Ltd. and now owned by JAM, focusing on those similar to the Mitsui-family descendent kosode, including the techniques, design and tailoring. We will advance a close investigation on the findings obtained through the surveys, aiming at the issue of a report in next fiscal year.


Training Course for Museum Curators in Charge of Conservation

Case study

 We held the 27th training course during a period of two weeks starting July 12, and participants included 32 curators and the persons in charge of cultural properties administration nationwide. In these training sessions they focused on basic knowledge and technology concerning the conservation environment, deterioration, and restoration of various cultural properties. The course included lectures and practical training on conservation.
 A practical museum environment training case study was carried out at the Sodegaura-city Folk Museum. Participants were divided into eight groups, each of which investigated the temperature, humidity, illumination, disaster prevention equipment, and conservation environment of cultural properties outdoors. They presented their results the following day, and questions and answers were provided.
 The conservation of materials from the standpoint of natural science will be increasingly emphasized, which can be understood just by seeing that the “theory of museum material conservation” will be a mandatory subject in the curator programs of universities starting 2012. We will closely investigate the curriculum and content of this training course in order to enrich it while taking into consideration various signs of the times.


Exhibiting “Investigation on the cause of deterioration in mural paintings of Takamatsuzuka Tumulus” in lobby

Exhibiting "Investigation on the cause of deterioration in mural paintings of Takamatsuzuka Tumulus" in lobby

 At the present, the panels in the title are being exhibited in the entrance hall on the first floor of the Institute. This exhibition shows the outline of the results obtained by surveying the cause of deterioration in the mural paintings of Takamatsuzuka Tumulus, which were conserved at the local site since they had been found in 1972, from natural scientific and other viewpoints under the “Study team on cause of deterioration in mural paintings of Takamatsuzuka Tumulus” established in July 2008. The deterioration triggered the dismantlement of the mural paintings in 2007. The entire survey results were made public on March 24, 2010, by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, as the “Survey report on the cause of deterioration in mural paintings of Takamatsuzuka Tumulus”. This exhibition uses many illustrations and explains the survey on materials, organisms and conservation environments from the total survey. We hope that many people will visit the exhibition.


24th Conference on International Cooperation on Conservation

General discussions

 The 24th Conference on International Cooperation on Conservation titled “Thinking of conservation with a protective shelter” was held on July 8, 2010, with 71 participants. Protective shelter are sometimes used to conserve sites. To understand the advantages and disadvantages of protective shelter, it is necessary to know their state after a certain number of years have passed since they were built. For this reason, we asked three persons to make presentations and then we had general discussions. First, Mr. Anat Bamurunwonsa of the Fine Arts Department of Thailand gave a lecture titled “Protective shelter for a pair of Buddha’s footsteps in the Prachinburi Province.” This was followed by Mr. Irisa Tomoichiro of the Cultural Properties Protection Division, Fukuoka Prefecture, who delivered the lecture “Varied forms and current status of protective shelter in Fukuoka.” Then, Ms. Shin Eun-Jeong of the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Korea, gave a lecture titled “Current status and case study in covering roofs for stone cultural properties in Korea.”The lectures and discussions made us recognize, for site conservation, the need to appropriately decide on specifications of protective shelter, after understanding the conditions such as the ambient environment of sites, and the importance of continuously monitoring the built roofs.


Training for capacity development of specialists in Conservation Center of Grand Egyptian Museum

Training on packaging relics of various materials and shapes
Training on transporting a heavy object

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation continues to cooperate with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is conducting a technical support project for establishing and operating the Conservation Center of the Grand Egyptian Museum.
 As part of this project, JICA dispatched four instructors from Nippon Express to Egypt from July 3 to 19, and held training on packing for transport in the Conservation Center. This was the second time this training had been held, following the one-week training for seven invited Egyptian conservation specialists that was conducted in the National Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, last October.
 We used as many locally procured materials and educational tools as possible and executed on-the-job training, using the latest equipment transported from Japan, in addition to the equipment installed in the Conservation Center. The objects to be packed in the training ranged from small ones to heavy ones weighing about 200 kg, and we used not only replicas but also real relics. The training included robust packing for transport from an external storage site or museum to the Conservation Center, loading and unloading them to and from a vehicle for transport and simple packing for transport between laboratories within the Center and activities during transport. As in the previous training, we also paid attention to conveying the Japanese mentality of being committed to work with a love of relics, in addition to transferring techniques. We hope that the trainees who learned the packing techniques and the spirit of these training sessions will work carefully and speedily when actually packing items for transport.
 We will proceed to offer cooperation in effective capacity development that is suitable for the individual levels of specialists, aiming for full-scale operation of the Center.


Participating in the 34th World Heritage Committee

Member countries’ chairperson seats at the Meeting of World Heritage Committee

 The 34th session of the World Heritage Committee was held from July 26 to August 3 in Brasilia, a city that is commemorating its 50th anniversary this year. (Currently, Japan is an observer, not a committee member.) It was conspicuous in this session that despite the recommendations of the advisory bodies for enquiring about information or putting off nominations in the World Heritage List, many cases were decided to be nominated. Some committee members stated that the professional opinions of advisory bodies should be respected and the reliability of the List should be taken into account. However, we got the impression that many countries had complaints and were dissatisfied with the opacity of advisory bodies and the decrease in nomination recommendation rate. Meanwhile, the conservation state report exposed multiple territorial disputes in lands that contain heritage sites listed as World Heritages.
 It can be said that the system related to World Heritage is approaching a turning point regardless of whether the heritages are already listed or newly nominated. We believe Japan has a lot to do toward the 40th anniversary, in two years’ time, of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, such as proposing solutions.


6th Cultural Heritage East Asian Network Assembly

 We participated in the 6th Cultural Heritage East Asian Network assembly held in Solo, Indonesia, at the request of the Agency for Cultural Affairs. In the assembly, representatives of ASEAN countries and three countries in East Asia (Japan, China and South Korea) participated and reported on projects developed by ASEAN countries. The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation made a report on the survey on restoration of damaged cultural heritage, conducted in 2009. This was conducted in the framework of the project of Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage, and commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Responding to our report, the participating countries indicated their hope for actively surveying cultural heritage, and holding workshops and meetings in the future.
 From South Korea, the director of the Cultural Heritage Conservation Science Center of National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage participated, and the 7th assembly will be held in South Korea. It is conceivable that the importance of the assembly will further increase in the future to deepen the relationship between ASEAN and East Asian countries.


Safeguarding of the Bamiyan Site project – Overview of 10th mission

A local conservator restoring a mural painting

 Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been conducting the Safeguarding of the Bamiyan Site project jointly with Ministry of Information and Culture, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan since 2003. This year, we dispatched the 10th mission from July 9 to 30 to conserve mural paintings and conduct archaeological investigations.
 In the conservation of mural paintings, we started work in caves C (a), C (b), D and D1 which are adjacent to the East Giant Buddha. Damage caused by vandalization, objects being cut out and sold, and graffiti by tourists was especially conspicuous in these easily accessible four caves. This year, we completed emergency treatment of the mural paintings remaining in cave C (a) and the veranda part of cave D. The work in these four caves will continue for opening to the public from next year on.
 Organizing materials of archeological objects obtained in previous missions was conducted. These objects were discovered while making trial excavation investigations in different spots and cleaning Buddhist caves, and are very important materials that tell us about the history of the Bamiyan Valley. We also conducted a preliminary survey on the Shahr-e Zohak site, a candidate for excavation and investigation from next year on, and the spot where a castle is thought to have existed in the Bamiyan site.


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