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


International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper 2018

Practical session

 The International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper was run from August 27th to September 14th, 2018. This course has been jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) since 1992. It is aimed at contributing to the protection of cultural property outside Japan by disseminating the knowledge and techniques of conservation and restoration of paper cultural property in Japan to participants from around the world. This year, 10 specialists in conservation from 10 countries (Argentina, Australia, Bhutan, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, France, Poland, the UK and Zambia) were selected as participants among 80 applications from 38 countries.
 The course was composed of lectures, practical sessions and an excursion. The lectures covered protection systems of both tangible and intangible cultural property in Japan, basic insights into Japanese paper, traditional conservation materials and tools. The practical sessions were led by instructors from a certified group holding the Selected Conservation Techniques on “Restoration techniques for mounts.” The participants gained experience of restoration work of paper cultural property from cleaning it to mounting it in a handscroll. Japanese-style bookbinding and handling of folding screens and hanging scrolls were also included in the sessions. The excursion to the cities of Nagoya, Mino and Kyoto, arranged in the middle of the course, offered an opportunity to see folding screens and sliding doors in historic buildings, the Japanese papermaking which is designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property of Japan (Honminoshi), a traditional restoration studio, and so forth. On the last day, the conservation materials for paper cultural properties and approach to the selection of appropriate materials for paper conservation were discussed.
 The participants could gain a deeper understanding of not only conservation materials and tools used in Japan but also conservation approaches and techniques using Japanese paper throughout this course. We hope that the knowledge and techniques they acquired in the course will be applied to conservation and restoration of cultural property overseas.


“Workshops on Conservation of Japanese Textile” in Taipei

Basic workshop: lecture on Japanese textiles
Advanced workshop: practical work to understand the characteristics of dyes

 Two workshops on the conservation of Japanese textiles were jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese textiles overseas. A basic workshop “Cultural Properties of Textile in Japan” was held from August 8th to 10th and an advanced workshop “Conservation of Japanese Textile” was held from August 13th to 17th, 2018. Both were conducted at the Research Center for Conservation of Cultural Relics in NTNU by researchers specialized in textiles and conservators from Japan and Taiwan. The participants were conservators, researchers and students; the basic course had nine participants from six countries and the advanced one had six participants from five countries.
 The basic workshop started with lectures on the systems of protection of tangible and intangible cultural properties, and moved its focus to fibers and threads as textile materials and some of the representative textiles in Japan. Following the lectures, the participants also experienced folding and displaying Japanese garments (kimono). The practical work on making a paper model of kimono helped the participants to understand the general way in which kimono is constructed from a bolt of fabric. The first half of the advanced workshop focused on the identification of dyes, surface cleaning and wet cleaning. The latter half introduced a Japanese approach to textile conservation and treatment, and the participants experienced stitching a support silk fabric to the back side of an old textile fragment and making an enclosure for it. In both workshops, there were lectures on case studies, and various methods of the display and conservation of Japanese textiles were shared. It served as an opportunity to comprehend conservation materials and application methods as well as textile materials and techniques.
 Similar projects will continue to be implemented with the aim of contributing to not only the conservation and utilization of Japanese tangible textile objects abroad, but also the preservation of related intangible cultural properties.

/

Workshop on the Conservation of Historic Textiles in the Republic of Armenia

Practical training with historic textiles
Analysis of the fiber structure by microscope

 From June 25th through July 6th, 2018, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties organized a workshop on the conservation of historic textiles in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture in the Republic of Armenia. Based on the cooperation agreement regarding the cultural heritage protection area established between them in 2014, this workshop was implemented for the second time following last year.
 This workshop was conducted at the Scientific Research Center for Historical and Cultural Heritage and the Museum of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin with Dr. Mie ISHII, a visiting researcher from the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, and Ms. Midori YOKOYAMA from the NHK Culture Center Saitama, as lecturers. Fourteen trainees from seven institutions such as museums and galleries in Armenia attended the workshop. At the Scientific Research Center, historic textiles unearthed from archaeological sites in the 12th century, which the Center possesses, were analyzed by microscope before practical training on how they should be stored. At the Museum of the Mother See, the trainees stitched the Museum’s textiles for reinforcement with more advanced techniques before exhibiting them at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the United States in September.
 This time, we provided practical training with historic textiles that provided the trainees with very good experience. We will organize a workshop in 2019 as well to transfer our knowledge and techniques to Armenian specialists.


Conservation and Restoration of the Outer Walls of Brick Temples and Studies of Mural Paintings in Bagan, Myanmar

Ongoing work at the pagoda dome
Wall painting of Pokala Temple (portion)

 From July 11th to August 5th, 2018, we conducted conservation and restoration work on the outer walls of Me-taw-ya Temple (No. 1205), a brick temple at the Bagan Archaeological Site in Myanmar, aiming primarily to protect the mural paintings from rain. Continuing the work implemented from this January through February, we reviewed the portions damaged by the earthquake in 2016, and considered the restoration methods for stucco decorations and joint fillers that would affect the beauty of its facade. As a result, we successfully indicated how collapsed bricks should be restored together with the materials to be used, which was highly esteemed by the Bagan Branch, the Department of Archaeology and National Museums, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture of Myanmar.
 In addition, we continually conducted studies on art history, iconography, and the evolution of mural painting techniques in Myanmar. First, we collected further information on representative mural paintings from the 11th century through the 13th century in Bagan for a greater understanding. Second, we moved to Mandalay from where we visited temples scattered in Inwa, Sagaing, Amarapura, and Kyaukse in order to grasp the features of wall paintings from the 17th century through the 19th century.
 During our stay in Myanmar, we visited the Embassy of Japan in Yangon to briefly outline this project. We will share information on our activities to conserve cultural properties in Bagan through regular progress reports.


A Survey on the Conservation of Traditional Houses in Bhutan

Removing the Collapsed Wooden Members of the Old House
Memorial Service at Changangkha Lhakhang

 In cooperation with the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites, Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs of Bhutan, we surveyed traditional houses built with the rammed earth construction technique in the capital, Thimphu, and the Paro Dzongkhag from July 16th to July 24th, 2018.
 We focused on an old house located in Kabesa Village in the northern outskirts of Thimphu as the best example of a house built in an ancient style among the old farm houses we discovered through the surveys. Regrettably, the upper floors and other wooden elements of the house, which had been left uninhabited for many years, collapsed last year, but its external walls built with rammed earth remain. As a result of emphasizing the significance of preserving this house at a workshop held in the city in March 2018, the owner withdrew his intention to demolish the house, and a movement began toward its restoration. In response to this, we collected the wooden members of the house, and individually recorded and identified their original locations, before placing them into temporary storage. We confirmed that the members were far less damaged or missing than expected, which enables an accurate restoration. We expect that examination of concrete restoration and utilization measures will progress after this.
 Since 2016, the research and study of old houses in Bhutan has been conducted under Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research. During our stay in Bhutan this time, we received the sad news that the representative of the research project, Dr. Nobuo KAMEI, Director General of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, had passed away. The Bhutanese people involved in the cooperation project proposed that we should hold a memorial service for the DG at Changangkha Lhakhang, a venerable temple overlooking the city of Thimphu. The staff members involved in the joint activities gathered there to pray for the repose of his soul by lighting 108 votive candles.


Workshops on the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects on Paper and Silk in Berlin, Germany

Lecture on handling of folding screens
Practical work on restoration of a hanging scroll

 These workshops are held annually for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese art objects, such as paintings and calligraphic works overseas, and promotion of the understanding of these objects. This year, the basic course “Japanese Paper and Silk Cultural Properties” held from July 4th to 6th, 2018, and the advanced course “Restoration of Japanese Hanging Scrolls” held from July 9th to 13th were conducted at the Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin (Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) with the support of the Asian Art Museum and Museum of Technology (Deutsches Technikmuseum).
 In the basic course, 13 restorers, conservators and students from ten countries participated. This course consisted of lectures, demonstrations, and practical work that covered the process from the creation of a cultural property to its appearance before the public, that is, its creation, mounting, exhibition and viewing. Participants were lectured on the materials used for the cultural properties, such as adhesives, mineral pigments and paper, and participated in the practical work of painting on silk, Chinese ink painting and handling of hanging scrolls.
 In the advanced course, instructors from a certified group that holds the Selected Conservation Techniques dubbed “Restoration techniques for mounts” conducted practical work sessions and lectures to ten restorers from six countries. The instructors demonstrated techniques such as lining and reattachment of roller knobs, and the participants experienced the removing and attaching of the rods of a hanging scroll during the practical work sessions. Through these sessions, the participants could gain an understanding of the structure of hanging scrolls and knowledge and techniques for the restoration of hanging scrolls. Discussions were actively held in both courses. In addition to a question and answer session, opinions about restoration and applications of Japanese techniques and materials were exchanged.
 Similar projects will be implemented with the aim of contribution to the preservation and utilization of Japan’s tangible and intangible cultural properties overseas by sharing information about conservation materials and techniques in Japan with conservators overseas.


Training for “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation” in the “Human Resource Development Project toward the Improvement of the Conservation and Management System for Mural Paintings in the Republic of Turkey”

The plaster being temporarily held on
Preparation of damage illustrations

 As part of the above-mentioned program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the training for “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation” was conducted at the St. Theodore (Tagar) Church in Cappadocia from June 25th to 28th, 2018. Similar to the previous year, this second training program attracted 30 conservators and restorers from 10 national conservation and restoration centers in the Republic of Turkey.
 This training aims to review the existing emergency procedures working as the linchpin to conserve mural paintings in Turkey, as well as to establish the protocol. For this training, the conservation status of the frescoes painted inside the rock-hewn church was carefully observed for recording, and the plaster with flaking risks was temporarily held on. On the last day of the training, the techniques and materials used as emergency measures were discussed with the trainees.
 As for the first seminar held in October 2017, introductory lectures on basic concepts in conservation and restoration of wall paintings were delivered. This practical training allowed the trainees to experience concrete intervention methods while contemplating which specific emergency measures would work under the framework of the previous seminar. The trainees commented that the objective of the training became clearer due to this on-site training.
 The next training will be conducted in October 2018. Aiming for the skill enhancement through the continued on-the-job training, the trainers and trainees will invest much effort into the establishment of the protocol for emergency procedures in Turkey.


International Course on Paper Conservation in Latin America in Mexico City

Explanation of the tools
Practical work and lecture on adhesives

 From May 28th to June 13th, 2018, the International Course on Paper Conservation in Latin America: Meeting with the East, was held as part of the LATAM program (conservation of cultural heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean). This course has been jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH). It has been held since 2012 at the Coordinacion Nacional de Conservacion del Patrimonio Cultural (CNCPC), which belongs to INAH, in Mexico City. This year, 11 conservation specialists from 8 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Spain) participated.
 TNRICP hosted the first part of the course (May 29th to June 5th). TNRICP researchers and the instructor, who is from a certified group that holds the Selected Conservation Techniques dubbed “Restoration Techniques of Mounting,” offered practical works and lectures on the materials, tools, and techniques used for conservation. The objective of these sessions was to apply Japanese restoration techniques to cultural properties overseas. The practical session was carried out with CNCPC staff members, who learned “Restoration Techniques of Mounting” for several months at TNRICP.
 In the latter half of the course (June 6th to June 13th), specialists in the restoration of cultural properties from Mexico, Spain, and Argentina gave lectures. The main theme was the application of traditional handmade Japanese paper to Western conservation and restoration techniques. They spoke about how to select materials and apply their techniques to Western paper cultural properties. The lecturers had previously participated in international courses organized by TNRICP, and we were able to reaffirm that informational and practical exchanges through these courses contribute to the protection of cultural properties overseas.


The 42nd Session of the World Heritage Committee

Deliberation of “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region”
“Qal’at al-Bahrain – Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun,” a World Heritage Site in Bahrain

 From June 24th through July 4th, 2018, the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee was held in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. Staff members of this institute attended the session, and collected information on a variety of discussions over the World Heritage Convention.
During the deliberation of inscription on the World Heritage List, the Committee often adopted decisions against recommendations by the Advisory Bodies as with the previous year. Among the nineteen sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, the Advisory Bodies had determined that seven sites were not sufficient as World Heritage Sites. This year in particular, some of the sites on which non-inscription had been recommended by the Advisory Bodies were decided to be inscribed on the List by the Committee. Several States Parties attending the session as observers criticized the attitude of the Committee members referring to it as disregard for expertise.
 The States Parties will also suffer adverse effects from ignoring recommendations from the Advisory Bodies. Forceful inscription will obscure the value of the sites, prevent establishing proper boundaries and eventually cause trouble in the conservation and management of the inscribed sites. In response to such unfavorable circumstances, the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre have made efforts to achieve mutual understanding and improvement in nomination details through dialogues with States Parties during the evaluation process. However, that has not achieved satisfactory outcomes so far.
 Under the circumstances, “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region” nominated by Japan, whose registration had been recommended by the Advisory Bodies, were unanimously decided to be inscribed on the List. Although their nomination dossier was submitted once in 2015, it was withdrawn considering the Advisory Bodies’ opinion, followed by its refinement over two years. As Japan realized this inscription with a huge amount of efforts through re-nomination, its sincere approach to implement the World Heritage Convention is highly esteemed.


Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of the Damaged Cultural Properties in Nepal (Part 10)

Survey of tile-roofing specifications at Aganchen Temple
Workshop in Sankhu on the conservation of historic settlements

 As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have continually provided technical assistance to Nepal. Already, in 2018, we have dispatched on-site research missions in February, March, April, and May.
 For the rehabilitation of the Aganchen Temple and its associated buildings in the Hanumandhoka Palace in Kathmandu, we surveyed detailed specifications and traces of transformation of the brick masonry surfaces of the inner walls whose finishing layers had peeled off. The brick masonry, all of which looks the same, differs in material, dimension, or construction method according to age. Evidence remains at places where the wall or opening was altered. Observation following the cleaning inside cracks blocked by the rubble that had collapsed from the upper section, revealed numerous clues to retrace the history of various extensions and alterations since its construction in the 17th century. The number of targets to be clarified through further research has increased, including the existence of an unknown mural painting unveiled during this process. We have further increased our awareness of this building’s great value as physical evidence to comprehend history, in addition to the highly elaborate work applied to the subsequently altered sections as a particularly important building in the palace.
 As preparations for the rehabilitation work are being made under the direction of experts dispatched from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), we are cooperating in the examination of concrete conservation methods and consultation with the relevant institutions in Nepal. Although the work has not yet begun due to various difficulties in procedures, as a united team we would like to make every effort to conserve the building’s value as a cultural heritage.
 Meanwhile, we have continued to cooperate in the conservation of historic settlements in the Kathmandu Valley. In May 2018, we organized a workshop at the historic settlement of Sankhu, inscribed in the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites of Nepal, but seriously damaged by the earthquake, for those officers in charge of public administration in each city holding jurisdiction over historic areas and settlements. Under the theme of conservation of historic water channel networks, participants from six cities discussed their current situations and issues together with urban design experts, and developed six suggestions. The outcomes will be shared with those concerned in other cities who could not attend the workshop this time. We expect the suggestions will help to conserve each historic settlement.


Conducting Training Seminars to Conserve and Restore Paper Cultural Properties for Syrian Experts and Providing Materials Related to Syrian Cultural Heritage

Training to conserve and restore paper cultural properties
Providing materials related to Syrian cultural heritage

 In Syria, the Middle East, a conflict that began in March 2011 has not ended even after seven years. The conflict has caused serious damages to both the Syrian people and their precious cultural heritage.
 Since 2017, the Japanese government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have been supporting Syria in preserving its cultural heritage. In addition to the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, academic institutions, such as the University of Tsukuba, Teikyo University, Waseda University, Chubu University, and the Ancient Orient Museum, plan to accept Syrian experts for a variety of training seminars in archaeology, and conservation and restoration of cultural properties, since February 2018.
 Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) invited two Syrian specialists to Japan from May 15th to 30th, 2018, (two weeks) to conduct training seminars on conservation and restoration of paper cultural properties. At the seminars organized in cooperation with the National Diet Library and the National Archives of Japan, they learned basic restoration and conservation methods for documents and books.
 In January 2018, a news report that the ruins of the Ain Dara Temple, built in Northwestern Syria during the Syro-Hittite period, were severely damaged by an air raid was released. For this temple, TNRICP conducted a conservation and restoration project from 1994 through 1996. Project leader and Researcher Emeritus Tadateru NISHIURA provided related materials of that time. The materials were offered to the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria through the Syrian specialists invited to the seminars for utilization in the smooth restoration of the remains. In addition, valuable old photographic data on Aleppo, Damascus, and Palmyra, shot by Shin WADA in 1929 and 1930, which are now in possession of TNRICP were provided.


Visit to the Museo Egizio in Turin, and Opinion Exchange and Lecture at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI)

Mural painting exhibited at the Museo Egizio in Turin
Exterior view of the Santuario della Madonna d'Ongero

 From April 19th through April 29th, 2018, members of Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation visited the Museo Egizio in Turin, Italy, and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) in Switzerland to collect information about the international scene and build a network with international institutions.
At the Museo Egizio in Turin, curators, managers for registration of works, and restorers gathered to talk about the concrete efforts made for maintenance and management of their collected items, as well as for their conservation and restoration. At the SUPSI, we delivered a lecture on the projects undertaken by the Center for professors and students of the University. In addition, guided by Ms. Giacinta Jean, Course Director in Conservation, we visited the research facilities of the University and the Santuario della Madonna d’Ongero, on whose stucco-work, study and research were conducted by the University. Ms. Giacinta Jean explained how the concept of conserving cultural properties worked in Switzerland and the current status of its conservation activities.
In the conservation and restoration of cultural properties, it is important to enrich our insight while collecting information from various areas, as well as to repeatedly exchange opinions on how to resolve problems and maintain and manage cultural properties. This is vital because such efforts will help us in retaining an objective attitude toward cultural heritage and viewing it with an open mind without allowing for subjective eyes.
Also, during these visits, we made discoveries and found research themes through opinion exchange, which we could hardly have done during the regular activities. Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation will continually reinforce international cooperative relationships, putting much effort into building a network with international institutions.


Archaeological Investigation and Risk Assessment for the Conservation and Management of Ta Nei Temple in Angkor, Cambodia (Part III)

Excavated terrace structure
Ongoing precise survey

 Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been engaged in technical cooperation with the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA) in order to draft a conservation and management plan for Ta Nei Temple in Cambodia. From March 8th through 22nd, 2018, we conducted the third archaeological investigation at Ta Nei Temple and a precise survey of its surroundings.
 The main purpose of the archaeological investigation was to further clarify the terrace structure on the upper surface of the embankment of the East Baray reservoir discovered during the second investigation in December 2017. The excavation was conducted jointly with staff from APSARA.
 The investigation disclosed the fact that laterite ashlars are laid to shape the entire structure as a cross, which is 13.8 m east to west and 11.9 m north to south. In addition, numerous roof tiles were found in its vicinity, and there were many holes and dents on the laterite ashlars, which seem to have been postholes. These findings implicitly show that there once was a wooden building on this terrace structure. Since the terrace structure is located on the east-west temple axis, we will continue the investigation to clarify the connection between the two structures.
 At the same time, we also conducted a precise survey with a total station around the temple. Based on the collected data, we are preparing a detailed topographic map, which is expected to be effectively utilized for the conservation and management of the temple.
 We also provided technical guidance for APSARA staff through technical transfer during the precise survey. We will continue such technical support, in addition to academic investigations.


An investigation and consultation on Japanese paintings at Grassi Museum of Ethnology in Leipzig

Consultation on conservation plans for the paintings
Investigation of the hanging scroll

 Among overseas art collections, there are numerous Japanese art objects that play a significant role in representing Japanese culture in their regions. However, since the conservators-restorers who are specialized in these objects are rarely overseas and the proper conservation treatment cannot be undertaken on the objects, quite a few objects cannot be shown to the public. Thus, the Institute conducts the Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas in order to contribute to the conservation-restoration and utilization of these objects.
 On 26th March, the Institute’s researchers and conservators visited Grassi Museum of Ethnology in Leipzig and investigated the paintings for the purpose of formulating conservation plans and selecting objects for conservation under the Cooperative Program. Two hanging scrolls and a pair of folding screens, which had been chosen based on the collection survey conducted last year, were observed to record their components and conditions in detail. After the investigation, we consulted with the Museum about future conservation plans by explaining the conditions of each object as well as details about the Cooperative Program. Moreover, there was also a discussion on the possibility of future cooperation in the techniques of conservation of painting in each country such as an exhibition of techniques seen from ethnologic perspectives.


“Workshop on Conservation of Traditional Houses in Bhutan”

A scene of the workshop
Old traditional house proposed as a subject to be preserved (in Haa province)

 The traditional houses in the western region of Bhutan are built with earth rammed down into a formwork, a method called rammed earth construction. These houses have become a key element of the beautiful cultural landscape of the country with lush greenery. However, unlike religious and administrative buildings such as temples and castles, they are not protected legally as cultural heritage, and precious old houses are being lost rapidly due to natural disasters, modernization, and various other factors.
 Since 2012, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been conducting architectural studies and research on buildings constructed in the rammed earth method jointly with the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites, Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs in Bhutan. During the process, both sides became once again strongly aware of the value of old houses as cultural heritage and the urgency in their conservation. Therefore, on March 13th, 2018, we organized a workshop joined by Japanese and Bhutanese experts, persons in charge from the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement and local governments, and owners of traditional houses at the headquarters of the Department of Culture in Thimphu. We shared information about the survey outcomes including the chronology and the changing process of traditional house architecture, the legal framework for protection of cultural heritage in Bhutan, and how Japanese traditional houses are protected. We also exchanged opinions on specific traditional houses to be preserved and related future issues. We hear that soon after the workshop, a positive effect began to appear through a movement toward the preservation and utilization of important houses. We expect its great contribution to the consolidation of the legal system for cultural heritage, which has been stagnant in the country.


Conservation and Restoration of the Outer Walls of Brick Temples and Studies of Mural Paintings in Bagan, Myanmar

Dismantling and restoring of a damaged spire
Field study of art history and iconography

 From January 23rd to February 13th, 2018, we carried out conservation and restoration work on the outer walls of Me-taw-ya Temple (No.1205), a brick temple at the Bagan Archaeological Site in Myanmar, aiming primarily at protecting mural paintings from rain leaks. Our work during this mission focused on restoring the pinnacle’s of the temple damaged by the earthquake on August 24th, 2016, as well as conserving and restoring the stucco decorations left on the dome of pagoda. While in Bagan, we also held a workshop for young conservators at the request of the Bagan Branch, Department of Archaeology and National Museums, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture of Myanmar. In this workshop, we provided technical training on how to use restoration materials, with the aim of helping young conservators to better understand the characteristics and effects of each restoration material through actual restoration processes.
 In addition, we conducted studies on art history, iconography and the evolution of mural painting techniques in Myanmar, Since we were finished, for the time being, with the studies on mural paintings from the 11th to 13th centuries, the prime of mural paintings, in our earlier missions, we left Bagan and headed to Phowintaung Cave and Kinmun Village near Monywa to study mural paintings from the 17th to 18th centuries, which can be described as the “revival period.” Through these field studies, we were able to gather a great deal of information.
 On February 9th, we visited UNESCO Yangon Office, and explained what we, at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, have achieved so far through our conservation and restoration work as well as our studies of Me-taw-ya Temple. The officials at the Yangon Office highly commended us for our consistent project that focuses on the conservation of mural paintings and for our processes of promptly starting the restoration of earthquake-damaged areas. We and the UNESCO Yangon Office agreed to share information and develop a cooperative relationship from this point forward.
 We have now completed the restoration work in the areas severely damaged by the earthquake. From fiscal 2018 onwards, we will gradually shift our focus from the restoration of the damaged areas to the project’s original purpose, which is the conservation and restoration of the outer walls to protect mural paintings from rain leaks. We will continue to work on developing effective policies for conserving and restoring the Bagan Archaeological Site through extensive discussion with local experts.


World Heritage Seminar “Process of Evaluating Nominations and Roles of the Advisory Bodies for Inscription on the World Heritage List”

Seminar in session

 Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties held the World Heritage Seminar with the theme of “Process of Evaluating Nominations and Roles of the Advisory Bodies for Inscription on the World Heritage List” at the Institute’s seminar room on January 18, 2018.
 This Seminar, held for the first time, is designed for local government officials in charge of matters related to World Heritage, and aims to provide information about the system of World Heritage and the latest trends as well as an opportunity for exchange of ideas. Focusing on the process of how the Advisory Bodies evaluate nominations, this year’s Seminar featured various speakers who discussed the actual details of what International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), in particular, does, from different perspectives.
 First, Ms. Asuka SAKAINO from the Institute presented a report on the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee held in Krakow, Poland, in July 2017. Ms. Yoko FUTAGAMI, also from the Institute, then provided an overview of the World Heritage Seminar, and also described the evaluation process for the World Heritage List and problems with the current situation. Another speaker featured in the Seminar was Ms. Miki OKADERA, Chief Engineer of the Fukuoka Prefectural Government, who played a critical role in the preparation of the nomination file for the Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region and addressed the evaluation by the Advisory Bodies. She talked about her journey through the entire process related to the nomination of the sites, which was examined during the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee and inscribed on the list. In addition, Prof. Nobu KURODA of the University of Tsukuba shared her insights into the site mission from a professional viewpoint, based on her actual experience as one of the experts appointed by an Advisory Body to conduct a site mission in 2006. Finally, Prof. Toshiyuki KONO of Kyushu University, who was appointed president of ICOMOS in December 2017, delivered a presentation on the roles of the Advisory Bodies from the organization’s perspective.
 A total of 74 people attended the event, including officials from 29 prefectural or local government in charge of matters related to World Heritage as well as officials from the Cabinet Secretariat, the Agency for Cultural Affairs, and the Subdivision on World’s Cultural Heritage of the Council for Cultural Affairs.
 The Institute will continue to host such Seminars to communicate information obtained through the study of World Heritage and provide opportunities for people to share information.


Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of the Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal” (Part 9)

Group photo of the participants of the Mayors’ Forum
Lecture by Mr. Tatsuya KUMAMOTO, cultural strategy officer of the Agency for Cultural Affairs at the Mayors’ Forum

 As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have continually provided technical assistance for Nepal. From December 23rd through December 29th, 2017, we dispatched five experts to Kathmandu.
 The main purpose of this dispatch is to cooperate in the “Mayors’ Forum on Conservation of Historic Settlements in Kathmandu, Kavre Valley.” The Forum was hosted by Panauti municipality, which has historic settlements inscribed on the Tentative List of World Heritage sites, and attended about 100 persons to its city hall, including mayors, deputy mayors or representatives from 16 cities located in Kathmandu, Kavre Valley and around Panauti City. Since 2016, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been providing support through workshops and training seminars for professional officers (engineers) of each city holding jurisdiction over historic settlements inscribed on the World Heritage List and the Tentative List of World Heritage sites. They have already established inter-city cooperative relationships. In this Forum, the necessity of networking the municipalities holding jurisdiction over historic settlements in Kathmandu, Kavre Valley (cooperation council) was shared among the mayors by expanding the coverage further. Lectures were also delivered by Professor Yukio NISHIMURA at the University of Tokyo regarding the survey of historic settlements in Kathmandu Valley being implemented under the framework of this cooperation project, and by Mr. Tatsuya KUMAMOTO, Councilor for Cultural Strategy of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, concerning the system for preservation districts for groups of historic buildings in Japan. We succeeded in conveying the approaches to conserve historic settlements, including the current issues and inter-government cooperation, to the participants.
 To establish a system to conserve historic settlements in Kathmandu Valley, a great deal of effort is required from a variety of stakeholders. We expect that our research outcomes will be reflected more effectively and that broader technical assistance will be provided smoothly through the above-mentioned network.


Archaeological Investigation and Risk Assessment for the Conservation and Management of Ta Nei Temple in Angkor, Cambodia (Part II)

Excavated terrace structure
Survey of the current condition of the temporary supports

 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been carrying out technical cooperation with the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA) in order to draft a conservation and management plan for Ta Nei Temple in Cambodia. From November 28th through December 8th, 2017, we conducted an archaeological investigation and a risk assessment for the structures at Ta Nei Temple for the second time.
 The main purpose of the archaeological investigation was identifying the remains of the east approach to the temple located at its front and the remains of a structure situated on the upper surface of the embankment of the East Baray reservoir discovered during the first investigation in July. The excavation was conducted jointly with staff from APSARA and with the cooperation of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties.
 First, we set up and excavated a trench 2 m wide from east to west and 5 m long from north to south, approximately 50 m to the east of the east gate. We discovered a hardened surface, presumably the old approach to the temple, 70 cm beneath the current ground surface. The hardened surface was composed of yellow soil covering a layer of small sandstone gravel 5 mm in size overlapped on a layer of fist-sized sandstone cobbles.
 In addition, we set up and excavated a trench 11 m long from east to west and 1 m wide from north to south on the embankment of the East Baray on the prolongation of this approach way. We found a laterite stone surface 30 cm beneath the current ground surface (Figure 1). Considering the surrounding topography and the distribution of exposed laterite, these remains can be presumed to form part of a terrace structure approximately 20 m long from east to west and 15 m wide from north to south.
 Regarding the risk mapping of the site, we examined how to renew the existing temporary supports. Wooden supports had been installed in 16 places where there were safety concerns such as potential collapse of main structures, including the central tower, the east tower, and the inner gallery. However, apart from obstructing the view of the site, these supports are in need of renovation, as in the 20 years that have passed since their installation decay of timber members and loosening of joints have become apparent. Thus, we observed and recorded the current condition of these supports, and studied improvement proposals including a change to a more durable material and the adoption of a design enabling fine adjustment.


The Fourth Mission for the Project “Networking Core Centers for the Transfer of Technology Related to Study and Protection of Archaeological and Architectural Heritage in Myanmar” (Architectural Field)

Behavior measurement by the staff of the Department of Archaeology
Hearing survey with restoration experts

 As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs (re-commissioned by the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties), we dispatched experts to Myanmar for the fourth time in 2017. Two staff members from the Institute conducted structural behavior monitoring and a survey on traditional building techniques and production systems (from November 25th through December 3rd), while an outside expert tested brick materials (from December 9th through December 12th).
 In the structural behavior monitoring checked for the fourth time, no progress was found in deformation of the three monitored historical brick buildings in Bagan in particular. However, many of the resin crack gauges installed on the external surfaces of the buildings had come off due to bird and animal attacks, so they were replaced by metal disks. We also trained the local staff of the Department of Archaeology to facilitate voluntary measurements.
 Through the hearing survey with local experts who have engaged in restoration of cultural heritage for many years, we exchanged opinions on the details of traditional building techniques and production technologies surveyed in this project while confirming how to produce mortar used in past times and the materials in detail. Since we obtained all materials required for reproduction of this old mortar based on the collected information, we will analyze the mortar sampled from the structures built in the Bagan era in the past survey to compare with the reproduced mortar. We also contacted bricklayers to ask how the restoration work is implemented and their awareness of traditional building techniques and production technologies.
 At the material testing carried out in a facility of Yangon Technological University in Yangon City, we implemented bending, shearing, and compression strength tests with the prisms (four-layered brick specimens) and mortar specimens produced in the previous visit (September).
 We would like to continually accumulate useful data for better conservation and restoration of the cultural heritage structures in the Bagan area through such surveys.


to page top