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


1st Conference of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems held in 2011

 The 1st Conference of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems was held on May 11, 2011. Presenters and their topics were as follows:
・ Takahiro Tsuchiya (Research Division, Curatorial Research Department, Tokyo National Museum)
  A Pictorial Biography of Prince Shotoku in the Metropolitan Museum of Art
  This presentation was based on A Pictorial Biography of Prince Shotoku in 2 scrolls in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY. This piece had not been fully studied despite its significance. Mr. Tsuchiya compared the piece to similar imagery in the 2 scrolls of Okura-ji temple and the 6 scrolls of Shi-tenno-ji temple. Examining specific details with regard to imagery, setting selection, and arrangement revealed similarities to and differences from the piece in the Metropolitan Museum and indicated elements common to scrolls of Tachibana-dera temple and Zuisen-ji temple. A Pictorial Biography of Prince Shotoku has led to a number of varied works, and the presentation touched on issues such as the piece’s relation to other works, the atelier (studio) at Shi-tenno-ji temple, and large-sized medieval depictions of ancient tales.
  The presentation’s large audience included Kanako Muramatsu (Ryukoku Museum) and visiting researcher Masahiko Aizawa (Seijo University). After the presentation, there was an active discussion of topics like the piece’s relationship to scrolls of the Seikado Bunko Art Museum, the era when the piece was produced, and establishment and continuation of imagery in depictions of ancient tales.


2nd Conference of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems held in 2011

 The 2nd Conference of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems was held on May 25 (Wed.), 2011. A presentation was made by Matthew P. Mckelway, associate professor at Columbia University in NY, entitled The Largest Rakuchu-Rakugai-zu Screen: Conditions During and Deduced Eras of Its Production. Rakuchu-Rakugai-zu (Grand View of Kyoto) on an Eight-fold Screen (private collection) recently made news when exhibited at Nagoya City Museum’s exhibit entitled Momoyama: Time of Transformation (Aug. 25–Nov. 7, 2010). The presentation started off by recounting the piece’s background from when it appeared at auction at Christie’s in 1990. The presentation meticulously discussed the era when the piece was produced and conditions under which it was produced by comparing the piece to works with similar content and in similar styles. After the presentation, attending researchers from the Institute and from other organizations engaged in an active and frank exchange of opinions. The Eight-fold Screen is likely to be highlighted both in history and in art history in the future. This presentation and discussion provided an unparalleled opportunity for experts to share essential information and identify problems.


A study of Yokoyama Taikan’s Yamaji (the Mountain Path) at The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

Yokoyama Taikan’s Yamaji (in The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto), X-ray fluorescence analysis

 This study represents joint research on Yokoyama Taikan’ s Yamaji with Eisei Bunko that took place as part of a Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems research project entitled Documentary research on cultural properties. Taikan’s Yamaji in Eisei Bunko’s collection was exhibited at the 5th Bunten Art Exhibition (sponsored by the Ministry of Education) in 1911 and is an important work that inaugurated new forms of expression in Japanese painting with its vivid strokes. After the work was studied last fall, a variant of Yamaji in The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto was studied on May 29. Following the work that was exhibited at Bunten, the variant was painted by Taikan for Hara Sankei, a well-known Yokohama industrialist and avid collector of artwork. A letter of thanks from Taikan for receipt of payment addressed to Sankei dated February 6, 1912 remains. With the cooperation of Ogura Jitsuko of The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, the current study by Miyake Hidekazu of Eisei Bunko, Shioya Jun of the Institute, and Arai Kei, Taira Yuichirou, and Ogawa Ayako (Tokyo University of the Arts) used near-infrared reflectance photography and X-ray fluorescence analysis to examine paints in the piece. A study of the Bunten piece last fall revealed that Taikan actively used modern pigments. Taikan was found to use modern pigments in the piece that was formerly in the Hara Sankei Collection. Although this piece had the same motif as the Bunten piece, some of its colors differed due to the use of different pigments. The Bunten piece is current being repaired and plans are to study it again when it is unveiled.


An international conference on “The Value and Competitive Power of Naganeupseong Folk Village as World Heritage” was held in Suncheon City, Jeollanam-do, South Korea

Discussions at the Conference

 An international conference organized by the Folklore Society of Korea was held on May 12th as part of efforts to designate Naganeupseong Folk Village (Suncheon City) as a world heritage site. Experts from various disciplines related to cultural properties such as history, folklore, and architecture and administration officials involved in protecting cultural properties participated in the conference. Mr. Miyata Shigeyuki from Japan was invited to give a lecture on “The present state of designation of intangible world heritage in Japan.” Naganeupseong Folk Village is not merely an amusement park but it is a place where people reside. Participants shared the perception that approaches to assessing such a “living” heritage as both tangible and intangible are essential. There was also great interest in how Japan deals with intangible properties. The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage plans to actively participate in such exchanges of opinion and publicize its experiences findings from Japan.


Cultural Property Rescue Programme Report on a conference to share information

Demonstration of the squelch drying technique
Discussion during the meeting

 Spurred by the Project to Rescue Cultural Properties Damaged by the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami (Project to Rescue Cultural Properties), the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo will provide logistical support via its Secretariat located in Tokyo and coordinate with the Agency for Cultural Affairs and other relevant institutions and organizations. A specific series of emergency measures must promptly be established (in a manual) to rescue damaged cultural properties in a variety of potential situations. When cultural properties are damaged by water from a tsunami, water damage, salt damage, and biological deterioration due to microorganisms (e.g. mold) should be limited as much as possible. Efforts should also be made to devise responses using materials and infrastructure available on-site in order to facilitate subsequent restoration of those properties. Several types of efforts should be explored. Information should be shared with relevant individuals, institutions, and organizations involved in rescuing those properties and information should be provided to the site of the disaster. As a first step, a conference to share information was held on May 10, 2011 at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. The topic of the conference was Expanding Choices in Initial Efforts to Rescue Damaged Cultural Properties: Limiting Biological Deterioration as Much as Possible and Preparing for Later Restoration.
  This conference featured issues raised by Isamu Sakamoto, who was actively involved in efforts to rescue damaged cultural properties on-site during the Northern Sumatra earthquake, Toshiharu Enomae, who studied the incidence of mold on paper immersed in seawater, and Hiromi Tanimura, who studied use of the squelch drying technique as a way to rescue damaged cultural properties during recent floods in Europe. Experts in various fields were invited to comment, notes on initial responses for different materials were provided, and views were presented. In addition, the conference featured a demonstration of the squelch drying technique and sample paintings immersed in salt and salt water. Thanks are expressed to the experts who participated and to the 161 attendees who participated in the enthusiastic discussion throughout. Hopes are that this information will prove of some use at rescue sites.
  Materials from the conference were made available at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo website http://www.tobunken.go.jp/~hozon/rescue/rescue20110510.html on May 17.


Participation in the Ashgabat Meeting to nominate Silk Road sites for inscription on the World Heritage List

Meeting of the Coordinating Committee on the Serial World Heritage Nomination of the Silk Roads

 Sponsored by UESCO, a meeting of the Coordinating Committee on the Serial World Heritage Nomination of the Silk Roads took place May 3–6 in Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan. Two individuals from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo attended: Masahi Abe and Kazuya Yamauchi of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation. The meeting was attended by representatives from the 5 central Asian states and China, India, Nepal, Iran, Afghanistan, South Korea, and Japan. The meeting actively discussed policies for future efforts to nominate sites for inscription on the World Heritage List on February 1, 2013. At the meeting, Kazuya Yamauchi explained the Program to Encourage Inscription of Silk Road Sites on the World Heritage List of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo.


Project for the Conservation Center of the Grand Egyptian Museum  Implementation of occupational health and safety training and participation in a phase 2 study to formulate a detailed plan

Occupational health and safety training
Conclusion of an agreement on full-fledged cooperation

  The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation is continuing to assist with the Project for the Conservation Center of the Grand Egyptian Museum implemented by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
  Occupational Health and Safety Training was conducted at the Conservation Center from April 27 (Thurs.) – May 5 (Thurs.), 2011. Professor Fumiyoshi Kirino of the Tokyo University of the Arts and Akira Fujisawa of the National Research Institute’s Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation were sent to the Center by JICA to serve as instructors. Egyptians have no chance to study occupational health and safety at institutions of higher education that teach conservation and restoration of cultural properties, and Egyptian experts often have doubts about their health and safety during their everyday work. The knowledge and skills they need have been determined from previously implemented training, leading to the current training program. Training was warmly welcomed, and trainees have often asked for repeated instruction. The goal is to provide everyone working at the Conservation Center, from restoration experts to cleaning personnel, with a shared awareness of health and safety through periodic training.
  In addition, 3 individuals from the National Research Institute participated in the phase 2 study (full-fledged cooperation) to formulate a detailed plan that JICA implemented from May 27 (Fri.) – June 4 (Sat.). With the written cooperation of experts, JICA consulted Egyptian representatives about the potential for future cooperation based on the phase 2 human resources development plan coordinated by the National Research Institute. As a result, JICA promised Egyptian representatives that it would assist with the teaching and training of experts working at the Conservation Center, and the early stages of full-fledged cooperation began after this July. Accordingly, the National Research Institute plans to cooperate more effectively with JICA.


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