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


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.


Project for Documentation of Cultural heritages in Central Asiatic Countries, funded by UNESCO and Japanese Funds-in-Trust: Turkmenistan

Historical Research Institute, Relics and Archives Storage Room
Anau ruins, mosque ruins (15th century)
Buddhist statue unearthed at Merv (5th century, exhibited in the National Museum)

 Prior to the documentation project (see the monthly report for January), the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation dispatched a preparatory study team to Turkmenistan from February 14 to 18, at the request of UNESCO. This followed discussions with the related people of Central Asiatic countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) in January. The major purposes of this dispatch were to investigate the activities in Turkmenistan with this project, and confirm the research system and archive storage being conducted by those in Turkmenistan.
 We discussed the direction in which the project should head in the future and their specific operations with the relevant persons in Turkmenistan. Then we visited Anau, which is one of the candidate sites for registration as a Silk Road World Heritage site, and the national museum, which stores many great artifacts of ancient Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan is home to the Zoroastrian ruins and Buddhist temple ruins which are the westernmost of the temple ruins that have been discovered so far, and we can trace the footprints of various kinds of culture there. This area is a treasury of cultural heritages representing areas situated along the Silk Road.
 We plan to actively implement studies on cultural heritages in Central Asia including Turkmenistan, and help develop human resources and transfer techniques.


Survey on Cooperative Partner Country for Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage: Bhutan

Scenery of temple
Buddhist sutra restoration work at National Library
Courtesy call on Prime Minister Jigme Thinley

 The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage conducted a survey on cooperative partner countries in Bhutan from February 14 to 23. The purpose of this survey was to explore the possibility of cooperation in the field of protecting cultural heritages in Bhutan. We collected information in various fields, such as the Bhutanese concepts of cultural heritages, the current way in which cultural heritages are protected by the legal system in Bhutan as well as their technical aspects, the situation regarding international cooperation, and needs for cooperation. We also exchanged opinions with the relevant organizations.
 In Bhutan, a devout Buddhist country, cultural heritages are an integral part of people’s daily lives. When we see their diligent efforts for passing on and developing traditional culture as their national policy and seeking the proper way to protect cultural heritages that is suitable for the conditions of their country, we are strongly aware of the need to carefully and steadily examine what cooperation Japan will be asked to provide.


Joint Research with Indonesia on Cave Mural Paintings in southern Sulawesi

Mural using anoa and the human hand as a motif (Sumpang Bita Cave)

 As part of joint research on site monitoring, we executed a field survey on cave mural paintings in southern Sulawesi with the Borobudur Heritage Conservation Office in Indonesia from January 24 to 30. There are over 100 limestone caves in southern Sulawesi, and several of the caves have mural paintings which were presumably drawn 3,000 to 1,000 years ago. Many of the murals were created by blowing red colorant over the human hand as it was pressed to the wall, with motifs of regional unique animals such as babyrousa (a species of wild boar),anoa (a species of cattle), fish, birds, and boats appearing. On the murals, phenomena such as changes in rock composition through water leaching, surface recrystallization and the detachment of rocky surfaces were visible, and it is conceivable that changes in the environment, such as the cutting down of peripheral trees, caused the murals to deteriorate. We visited eight caves at the local site, and discussed the causes of deterioration and measures for future conservation with the conservation specialists in Indonesia. We plan to investigate monitoring techniques in order to establish appropriate conservation plans jointly with the Borobudur Heritage Conservation Office and the local Makassar Cultural Heritage Conservation Center.


UNESCO/Japan Trust Fund Project: The Documentation of Cultural Heritage in Central Asian Countries

Discussions at Boroldai Tumulus (Kazakhstan), a candidate site for research
Archive of cultural heritage stored in a room of the Ministry of Culture, Tajikistan

 China and five Central Asiatic countries (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) are now proceeding with preparations aimed at the collective registration (cross border serial nomination) of cultural heritage objects along the Silk Road in a World Heritage Site as “Silk Road” . This project supports the application for this registration. Based upon this, the five central Asian countries aim to establish a base for the documentation of cultural assets in each country through the cultivation of talent, exchange of technology, creation of an archive material management system and cooperation towards creating an organization. Before starting this project, we held discussions with the relevant people of the five countries in Central Asia to determine courses of action and other specific information. Per UNESCO’s request, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation participated in the preparation mission by touring these Central Asiatic countries (excluding Turkmenistan) from January 8 to 19. Through this mission, we were made keenly aware of the necessity of support and cooperative activities that suit actual conditions in each country when executing the project. It is because despite all being in Central Asia, there are great differences in the funding, human resources and technical abilities between these countries. It was confirmed that many photos, drawings and reports produced by the investigation of cultural heritage conducted in the age of the Soviet Union were stored in each country. It is hoped that these precious records and materials will be taken advantage of as a shared Central Asian resource through digitization and the compilation of databases.
 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation will participate in this project by investigating remains using the latest equipment, compiling records and materials in database, and supporting and cooperating in the holding of workshops and symposiums. Through this we hope to promote talent and facilitate the exchange of technology with regards to the cultural heritage of Central Asia.


Lecture on the Current Status of Cultural Property Protection in Iraq

Ms. Amira Edan al-Dahab giving a lecture.

 On December 2, we hosted a lecture by Ms. Amira Edan al-Dahab, the chief of the secretariat of Iraq National Museum, at the meeting room on the basement floor of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. The news on the 2003 looting of the Iraq National Museum in chaos in after the Iraq War shocked the world. The Iraq National Museum resumed operation at last in February 2009, supported by the international community, including Japan, Italy, and many other countries.
 Ms. Amira came to Japan this time under the auspices of the Foreign Ministry’s “Invitation for Promoting Partnership in the 21th Century”, and took this opportunity to hold a lecture. She reported on the long path from the looting of the Museum to its re-opening and the numerous troubles that accompanied each step with showing many photos. Ms. Amira also referred to the training of Iraqi conservators that is held by the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, funded by grants from the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust and the Institute, and the government subsidized budget ,and repeatedly asserted that the continuous support from Japan is indispensable to restore the cultural properties in Iraq.


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

Three-dimensional measurement in the second cave
Cleaning attachment originating from bat excrement

 The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are conducting 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”.
 In the third mission, undertaken from November to December 2009, we tried to solve various issues, including bat excrement, discoloration due to the yellowing of the previously-used varnish, and cracks and floating in the colored layers, and performed tentative cleaning of the mural paintings with ASI specialists.
 We established a joint research contract with Doshisha University on digital documentation for mural painting conservation and jointly performed three-dimensional measurement to create drawings of the current status of the Cave No. 2 and No. 9. We executed these conservation and measurement procedures together with Indian specialists and shared knowledge on conservation of cultural heritage and performed technical exchange aiming at capacity development and transfer of techniques.


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