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


Conservation Center of Grand Egyptian Museum Project: Training Invitation

Analysis training using a conservation scientific device at National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (training on using a latest handheld X-ray fluorescence instrument produced by JEPOL)
IPM training (training on antifungal test) at Center for Fungal Consultation

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation continues to cooperate with a technical support project at the Conservation Center of Grand Egyptian Museum, conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
 From September 14 to October 7 (a part of training sessions on September 24), six conservators of the Conservation Center of Grand Egyptian Museum were invited to Japan, and three training sessions were executed in parallel to respond to the current status and issues in the Center.
 At the “Conservation and restoration management” session (until September 24), Mr. Osama Abd Elsalam, the deputy director at the Conservation Center of Grand Egyptian Museum, visited the Kyushu National Museum, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Nara, and the Shosoin Office, and discussed with their managers what can be done in order to improve the operation and management of the center.
 In the “Analysis using scientific devices for conservation” training session, three conservation scientists attended lectures and practical training at the Kyushu National Museum, the National Museum of Japanese History, and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, and learned the analytical techniques needed when using devices in conservation and restoration, the selection of devices for purposes, and knowledge and techniques in regard to application in conservation and restoration.
 In “IPM (microorganisms)” training, two Egyptian specialists, who belong to the microorganism laboratory, executed culture, the separation and identification of fungi and bacteria at the Center for Fungal Consultation, the National Institute of Health Sciences, and the Osaka Prefectural Institute of Public Health.
 We will continually conduct training so that they can acquire the skills for operating scientific devices for conservation and so they may carry out conservation/restoration techniques so that the staff members in the conservation and restoration fields will be able to cooperate and supplement each other so work can be performed.


Conservation of Mural Paintings of the Ajanta Caves Research Project– Fourth Mission Report

High-definition photographing in the Ajanta 2nd Cave
High-definition photographing in the Ajanta 9th Cave

 The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) conduct joint research on the conservation of the mural paintings of the Ajanta Caves, under the framework of “the Exchange Program of International Cooperation of Cultural Heritage” commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the government subsidized budget for “the Cooperative Project for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage in West Asia”, and aim to share the knowledge on conservation and exchange conservation techniques.
 The mural paintings of the Ajanta Caves have many problems – the leaking of water from cracks in the base rocks, biological damage, artificial damage, and discoloration caused by the past repair and the deterioration of colored layers. To solve these problems, it is necessary to understand the status of numerous mural paintings in detail and analyze them; however effective documentation techniques have not yet been established.
 Therefore, we have begun recording the status of mural paintings on high-definition photos using high-resolution digital cameras as the first attempt in the Ajanta Caves. In this fourth mission (from September 8 to October 2, 2010), we made high-definition photo recordings and color measurements of the mural paintings in the 2nd and 9th Caves jointly with the Indian specialists. The obtained data will be utilized as basic data in order to establish an appropriate mural painting conservation/restoration method, in cooperation with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).


Japan Center for International Cooperation in ConservationProgram for Human Resources Development along the Silk Road of Fiscal Year 2010 started

Lecture on the Cultural Properties Protection Institution in Japan, by Shimizu Shin'ichi, the Director of Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation

 The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, China started the program for the fostering of the engineers of conservation and restoration of the cultural properties along the Silk Road in 2006, and the joint program will be complete this year. On August 16, the final mural printing and textile restoration and conservation courses started at the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, China in Beijing. From Shinjang, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shanxi, and Henan provinces and autonomous regions located along the Silk Road, fourteen and twelve trainees participating the mural printing and textile courses respectively will attend theory lectures and practical restoration practical training for four months until December 17. Twelve instructors will participate in both courses and some instructors will be invited from Korea. We look forward to getting significant results in the same ways as was possible during the six courses which were executed in the past four years.

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Networking Core Exchange Program – Mongolia: Cooperation with conservation of the Amarbayasgalant Temple

Panoramic view of temple with the pagoda and Great Buddha newly built on the back
Workshop
Survey for building conservation

 From the end of June to the beginning of July and at the end of August, we conducted a workshop and conservation survey at the Tibetan temple Amarbayasgalant of the Selenge Aimag (province) in northern Mongolia, jointly with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in Mongolia.
 The theme of this year’s workshop was to build a plan for the conservation management of cultural properties, and we set a target for determining a conservation area for the time being. In this 20th year since religious activities at the Amarbayasgalant temple restarted, new building and maintenance of the temple associated facilities stepped up and, and the historical scenery, a key part of heritage values, is rapidly changing. There is also a concern about the influence on the conservation of the underground remains of old temple buildings. To prevent this, we repeated the field survey and discussion together with the representatives of the prefecture, county and local public. We reached the basic agreement for the policy that a wide area, including the surrounding mountains adored by people and the material production site when the temple was built, is to be designated as a conservation region based on the Laws for Protection of Cultural Properties.
 Meanwhile, the temple consisting of many wooden buildings, suffered deterioration and damage because of aging and insufficient maintenance, and thus part of the damaged building could endanger the safety of human lives. In the August mission, therefore, we conducted a basic survey on the conservation status of all buildings, which served concurrently as the training of young Mongolian engineers, in parallel with the above-mentioned workshop. The report on the results of survey carried out with the four trainees, who also participated in the last year’s practical training, will be submitted to the Mongolian Government. We hope that the report will be used for future emergent measures and full-scale restoration planning.


Networking Core Exchange Program – Mongolia: Training on restoration and conservation of stone cultural properties in Khentii Aimag (province)

Practical training on measuring the surface temperature of rock using an infrared thermometer (Serven Khaalga site)
Practical training on surface peel of stratum by using past excavation pit (Rashaan Khad site)

 As part of an exchange program of Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we held an on-site workshop on the conservation of the stone monuments and rock paintings, in late August intended for the experts at the Mongolian cultural heritage center, together with the experts at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Nara. At the workshop conducted at Serven Khaalga and Rashaan Khad in the Khentii Aimag (province), following last year, we conducted a series of surveys on the stone material, deterioration state and ambient environment which were necessary to examine the conservation method of stone cultural properties. While we worked with the Mongolian experts, we conveyed the specific procedures to them. Along with the survey, we conducted a practical training on the surface peel of the stratum upon request from the Mongolian experts. It was said that it was the first time such training had taken place in the country. We will continue to conduct conservation treatment experiments and a training on the method for evaluating it in Japan, Mongolia, etc. Going forward we will try to gain a better understanding of target sites while working in cooperation with the domestic and overseas organizations, and investigate more appropriate methods of conservation.


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.


Conservation Center of Grand Egyptian Museum: Training for capacity development of specialists and opening of the Center

IPM practical training

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been continuing to cooperate in the technical support project of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to establish and operate the Conservation Center in Egypt, an affiliated organization of the Grand Egyptian Museum.
 As part of this project, three Japanese conservation specialists were dispatched to the local site from May 14 to 22, and IPM training took place at the Conservation Center. IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management, and it indicates here integrated management for preventing harmful organisms from damaging cultural properties. Before this training, the staff of the Conservation Center had little idea about IPM, but its concept has led to the continuous management activities of Egyptian staff such as their own monitoring after training. On June 14, the opening ceremony of the Conservation Center took place with the attendance of Ms. Susan Mubarak, the first lady of Egypt. There are currently more than 120 Center employees and restoration specialists, and a further increase in this number is being examined. Thousands of relics have already been brought to the Center, and restoration and conservation work has started gradually. We will continuously move forward with effective cooperation in capacity development that is suitable for the various levels of the individual specialists, aiming for full-scale operation of the Center in the future.


Basic Survey on Conservation and Restoration of Mural Paintings of Cave Churches in Cappadocia, Turkey

Entire view of Goreme National Park
Restored El Nazar Church

 In the framework of the Cooperative Project for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in West Asia, from June 19 to 29, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted a basic survey on the mural paintings of cave churches scattered around Cappadocia, Turkey, for which international conservation and restoration support is planned.
 We investigated the conservation status of approximately 20 sites, such as cave churches with mural paintings done from the 9th to the 13th centuries, around the Goreme National Park, Cavusin, Zelve Valley, and Ortahisar area. Together with the local conservation specialists and the international conservation experts invited by UNESCO, we investigated not only the mural paintings but also the rocks and geological conditions of the caves where they were painted, discussed the future monitoring methods, and gave some advice on future conservation and restoration.


Conservation and Restoration of Mural Painting Fragments in Tajikistan and Capacity Development (Eighth Mission)

Forming new support
Mounting mural painting fragment on support

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted the eighth mission for Conservation and Restoration of Mural Painting Fragments in the collection of the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan. This was part of an exchange program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, from May 16 to June 22. The mural paintings were originally stable since they were on the walls of a building. Exhibiting them in a museum requires support in place of the wall surfaces. In the 8th mission, we decreased the weight of the support and also tried not to place any burden on the mural painting fragments when mounting them. The Tajik trainees mounted two mural painting fragments, excavated from the Buddhist temple ruins of the Kofir kara site, on the supports, following the instructions of Japanese restoration specialists, and exhibited them in a museum. The Tajik trainees actively tackled the task of forming new supports and mounting the mural painting fragments.
 In the 9th mission, we will mount the mural painting fragments excavated from the Kara-i Kahkaha I site. During the period of this next mission, we will also hold a workshop on mounting mural painting fragments.


19th Technical Session Meeting of International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Angkor Site

 The above meeting (ICC) was held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, from June 8 to 9, and activity reports were given by specialists in various fields from Cambodia and other countries who work around the Angkor Site. Our Institute reported on its investigation on the influence of plants on stones at the Ta Nei site.
 Recently, ICC has been concerned with how the ambient environment and plants are related to the deterioration of stones, but they are understood in an extremely simple manner, i.e., the idea that “no trees at site must be cut down since that will cause the stones to deteriorate”. A rush to obtain results may lead to conservation processes being conducted based only on the track records of researchers’ home countries. We ended the presentation by pointing out the need to conduct long-term investigations at local sites for such an issue that is closely associated with the environment, and gain the understanding of teams from other countries that are conducting similar investigations.


Vietnamese Thang Long Citadel Ruins Conservation Project: Mission of Conservation Science Specialists Dispatched

Meteorological equipment being moved
Installation of soil-water sensor
Training workshop

 With the Thang Long Citadel Ruins conservation project funded by the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust, the partnership convention between the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and UNESCO Hanoi Office went into effect in April, and the comprehensive support activities spanning for three years have finally begun. From May 17 to 22, we dispatched seven specialists focusing on the conservation science field to Hanoi as the first mission. To collect basic data to examine the measures of conserving the excavated archaeological remains, we moved and improved the installed meteorological equipment and installed a new soil-water sensor. Concerning the unearthed relics, we investigated the method of storing the wooden relics immersed temporarily in water and had a conference with the local administrative organization for joint research on types of Vietnamese wood that are different from those in Japan. Both Japanese and Vietnamese specialists cooperated in working at the local site, and we held a training workshop for young staff members, so that they can understand the significance of work accurately and in detail. We will sequentially in the future put in force the project activities in various fields, such as historical study and support for control plan establishment.


Survey on protection status of cultural heritage in Sri Lanka

Abhayagiri Dagoba being restored (Anuradhapura Sites)
Ritigala Monastery ruins just after restoration restarted
Rows of houses at Kandy subject to urban development

 From April 4 to 13, we were dispatched to Sri Lanka by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and conducted a field survey on the approach status of protection of cultural heritage such as archaeological sites, along with external specialists. In Sri Lanka, the civil war which lasted for a quarter of century just ended last year, and new development is expected in the field of protecting cultural heritage, a field that has been neglected because of the country’s financial difficulties. The major purpose of our survey was to collect basic information so that Japan can examine what cooperative assistance is possible via UNESCO and other bodies in the future.
 In this survey, we visited local sites and interviewed the relevant organizations about the current status of conservation in world heritage registration places and the future outlook. We also conducted a field survey on multiple sites which will likely be registered in the future. The results made us realize that in many cases various plans exist but there is no prospect of them materializing and there are many serious problems in terms of the structure for protecting cultural heritage including insufficient specialized human resources. We would like to positively participate in investigating how to proceed with concrete cooperation.


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?

View of discussions
Commemorative photo of participants

 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)

Before treatment
After being treated by trainees (cleaning, filling)

 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.


Discussions on Networking Core Centers Project in Mongol and Exchange of Opinions

Exchange of information with the persons involved in the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO and the Director of Cultural Heritage Conservation Center

 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.


Attending the Eighth Meeting of Bamiyan Site Safeguarding Experts

Commemorative photo of participants
Meeting

 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.


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