The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo is conducting joint research on conservation of Thai cultural heritage together with the Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture of Thailand. We executed a joint on-site investigation from September 14 to 16. Wat Sri Chum of the Sukhothai ruins has a great Buddha statue taller than 15m, the core of which was made from bricks and the surface finished with plaster. The entire surface of the Buddha statue had been covered with moss and algae, but because of the water repellent treatment applied 11 years ago, the Buddha statue was kept clean for awhile. However, since dirt due to algae, etc. has been somewhat noticeable recent years, some countermeasures have been investigated through observation of the Buddha statue, experiments by sample installation, and micrometeorological observation. In addition to these activities in Wat Sri Chum, we have observed the surrounding ruins, and specifically reviewed the advantages and disadvantages in cases where a chamber was installed in the remains.
|■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|
The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are engaged in joint research on conservation of the Ajanta Caves in India in the framework of the exchange program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs starting in 2008. We invited experts in the conservation of the Ajanta Caves and their mural paintings and held this meeting to discuss the common issue of conserving Buddhist stone caves and mural paintings in the area along the Silk Road, along with the international contributions of Japan through conservation and restoration.
From the Archaeological Survey of India, we invited Mr. Kushal Singh Rana, the Director of Science (in the project of the Agency for Cultural Affairs to invite overseas artists/experts in conserving cultural heritage) and Mr. V.S. Raghavendra Rao, the controlling officer for the Ajanta Caves. They presented lectures on the conservation of cultural heritage in India and the current issues for the conservation of the Ajanta Caves. We reported the first mission dispatched by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo from February, 2008 to March, and exchanged opinions on future conservation and restoration.
The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage, whose secretariat is entrusted to the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, invited Mr. Matsuura Koichiro, the Director-General of UNESCO, to the seminar room of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, on August 3, for a lecture. At the beginning of the lecture, Mr. Matsuura presented a medal to the President of Consortium, Mr. Hirayama Ikuo, to commemorate his 20 years as goodwill ambassador to UNESCO. Following this ceremony, Mr. Matsuura gave a lecture titled “Future Perspectives for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage”. He looked back on his track record as Director-General in UNESCO for the past 10 years, and stated the role that UNESCO has played in international cooperation in cultural heritage. Mr. Matsuura discussed the history until the structure of six conventions related to the cultures was established by UNESCO and the significance thereof: 1. The Hague Convention in 1954, 2. The Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, 3. The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 4. The Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, 5. The Convention on the Protection of the Intangible Cultural Heritage and 6. International Protection of Cultural Diversity in 1970. He stated that he had anticipated that Japan would make contributions in 1970 conventions, ratify the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, and enhance bilateral aid, thereby building a truly global system based on the six-convention system. The seminar room was full of people, and the lecture was displayed on a monitor in another room for those who could not be accommodated in the seminar room. Many people, both experts and non-experts, earnestly listened to the lecture.
Networking Core Centers Project: Training Workshop in Mongolia’s Amarbayasgalant Monastery for Building Restoration
We dispatched four experts from Japan from August 18 to 29 as part of the Networking Core Centers Project in Mongolia and held a training workshop on the conservation and restoration of wooden buildings at the Amarbayasgalant Monastery in northern Selenge Province. This was the second workshop in 2009 jointly planned by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of Mongolia. The purpose was to contribute in capacity building for the conservation and repair techniques of wooden buildings in Mongolia.
The workshop allowed students of the Architecture Department of the Mongolian State University of Scientific Technology to learn about the preliminary surveys needed for conservation/repair and design, and basic methods of drawing a plan as based on site survey. In classroom lectures the students learned the methods of repairing and surveying the buildings of cultural heritage in Mongolia and Japan, and in field practice they measured the buildings of Amarbayasgalant Monastery.
Japanese temple/shrine master carpenter who had been dispatched by UNESCO as instructor during the repairs of the Monastery in the 1980s also participated to this training, so that the students could receive practical training on concrete methods of survey, drawing, and planning.
Although it was the first time for the students to survey a historic wooden building by actually touching it, the lecturers could see that through the training process their view about buildings was being formed by on-site experience.
In Mongolia, where there are few experts majoring in the conservation of cultural heritage buildings, we believe that the students have demonstrated the potential capacity of the future of the conservation of wooden buildings.
We surveyed the deterioration of the stone ruins of the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia July 24 to 28. In the Ta Nei ruins, we used a new sandstone material similar to that used in the ruins and continued to survey the influence of microorganisms on the erosion of the stone by letting microorganisms flourish on the surface of the new material. The section of the stone with abundant lichen was coated with chemicals to try cleaning, and both positive and adverse effects were observed. We collected fundamental data concerning this research and study at the local site and carried out a construction experiment. We also assisted with the experiment in cleaning microorganisms on the surface of stone at the Western Prasat Top, where the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Nara did research, and collected data concerning the cleaning. We surveyed the deterioration of the stone ruins of the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia July 24 to 28. In the Ta Nei ruins, we used a new sandstone material similar to that used in the ruins and continued to survey the influence of microorganisms on the erosion of the stone by letting microorganisms flourish on the surface of the new material. The section of the stone with abundant lichen was coated with chemicals to try cleaning, and both positive and adverse effects were observed. We collected fundamental data concerning this research and study at the local site and carried out a construction experiment. We also assisted with the experiment in cleaning microorganisms on the surface of stone at the Western Prasat Top, where the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Nara did research, and collected data concerning the cleaning.
The Thang Long Citadel in the center of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, contains the ruins of buildings and section facilities of successive emperors, including the Ly Dynasty (11-13th century). A large amount of relics also were examined during the survey accompanying the rebuilding of the parliament house, and conservation support assistance will continue based on the agreement between the Japanese and Vietnamese governments. The emergency unearthing research has reached a tentative conclusion, and the significant issue is how to conserve and make use of the unearthed ruins and relics.
In this conference, archaeology, architecture, history, sociology, and conservation planning experts from the Japan-Vietnam Joint Expert Committee for Archaeology, Architecture, History, Sociology and Conservation visited Vietnam and discussed future cooperation with the Vietnamese members and relevant organizations. At the general meeting on July 28, representatives of the Agency for Cultural Affairs and Japanese Embassy in Vietnam also attended. We discussed both medium- and long-term plans and short-term issues, such as the millennium anniversary of the construction of the capital in Hanoi in next year and the completion of a new congress hall within three years. We agreed to provide expert support in the area of conservation of ruins and relics and arrangement and exhibit plans in addition to conventional research on the ruins’ value.
This dispatch to Vietnam was conducted as part of the research using the scientific research fund of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Hereafter, more effective assistance is anticipated in coordination with the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust.
The 33rd World Heritage Committee was held in Seville, Spain from June 22 to 30. Discussions were held every day in temperatures of over 40ºC until 23:00 at an exhibition hall where sometimes wild birds wandered into and flew about. From Japan, participants included members of related government ministries and research organizations as well as local officials aiming to have their local heritage registered in the World Heritage List: Two members including myself attended from our Institute.
Thirteen heritage sites (2 natural and 11 cultural) were registered in the World Heritage List, and one heritage site was deleted, so the list now includes 890 heritage sites. A high regard for human-rights related heritage was seen, as seen in the registration of heritage sites related to the slave trade. Although the final decision was made by information survey, in terms of international collaboration it seemed that nominating multiple heritage sites spanning multiple countries as one heritage site was recommended, as seen in the works of Le Corbusier, including those in the National Museum of Western Art.
It was also decided to remove the Dresden Elbe Valley from the list, because immediately after it was registered, a bridge crossing the valley was planned that endangered world heritage. The bridge was not cancelled, and no specific alternative plan was proposed from Germany. This was the second time a site was deleted the list, but the first time such deletion went against the wishes of the site’s home country.
Some of the discussions scheduled for this meeting were postponed to next year due to the numerous discussions about secret voting and repetitive speeches, and it seemed that there were problems in the debate proceedings. We again recognized the importance of diplomacy in the registration of world heritage through seeing changes in discussion content a conflict between two countries that have more wide-reaching issues.
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, in response to a request from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), offered technical support for the project of establishing a Conservation and Restoration Center as an affiliated organization of the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is located in Giza, Egypt. For approximately two months from July 8, 2009 to September 1, we are executing first training session for this project in order to foster human resources and transfer technology. Two trainees who work for to the Conservation and Restoration Center of the Grand Egyptian Museum, Ms.Dalia Ali Elsaid and Ms.Venice Ibrahim Attia, were selected from among 22 Egyptian conservation/restoration specialists. They are attending the training class on conservation and restoration of dyed goods together with Iraqi trainees invited to the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, through grants from the Institute and the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust and are improving their expertise accordingly. This training is performed through a combination of lecture and practicum through the cooperation of specialists from the facilities in the Joshibi University of Art and Design.
Networking Core Exchange Program – Mongolia: Technical Exchange Workshop on Color Painting of Wooden Structures
As part of the networking core exchange program in Mongolia, five specialists from Japan visited Mongolia from July 20 to 29. They held a technical exchange workshop on the color painting of wooden structures at the restoration site of Bereven Monastery in Khentii Aimag Prefecture. This workshop was planned jointly by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in Mongolia (MECS), in order to improve the wooden structure conservation and repair techniques to meet the current needs of Mongolia.
The first half of the workshop contained presentations and opinion exchange on the repair and restoration plan and execution of color painting, traditional repair and restoration techniques, and scientific analysis. In the latter half, we analyzed and practiced on old material of the monastery using Japanese traditional color painting. The four Mongolian participants from each organization were in charge of color painting from the National Center of Cultural Heritage (CCH) and Suld-Uul Company, which has been contracted for the conservation and repair of historical buildings. The experts who did the actual restoration from both countries exchanged opinions and found common basic principles. Although some differences were revealed, sharing this significant information will benefit future technical exchange.
When the workshop was finished, the Japanese specialists visited the Amarbayasgalant Temple of the Selenge Aimag Prefecture in northern Mongolia, and used scientific analysis to survey the existing color coating. Through this survey, the participants became aware of the importance of sharing information on analytical methods and results, and found a desire for continued exchange between experts. We feel that we have another place where Japanese experience and technology can contribute to the conservation of Mongolian cultural heritage.
Program for Human Resources Development along the Silk Road: Completion of the Conservation and Restoration Course for Old Buildings
The conservation and restoration course for old buildings (Program for Human Resource Development along the Silk Road) has been conducted for four months since early April at Ta’Er Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Qinghai. This program was successfully completed following three months of training in Beijing last autumn. On July 31, representatives of the China State Administration of Cultural Heritage, the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, Qinghai Cultural Heritage Bureau, Ta’Er Monastery, and China Samsung Corporation – which had supplied funds – attended and held a closing ceremony. Twelve trainees from Shinjang, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shanxi, and Henan provinces and autonomous regions were present. They did not necessarily have the same experiences in construction conservation, and there were some troubles in understanding the content of the training program and in getting results. However, they made use of their capabilities and helped each other get through the long training over a period of seven months. The Japanese and Chinese instructors together considered the issues that the trainees confronted and searched for solutions. These seven months made us realize how the conservation of cultural heritage requires the knowledge and techniques of many people. Last year, the trainees completed an investigation report of Beijing Gugong Zijincheng, and this year they completed an investigation report of Ta’Er Monastery as well as a practice report that summarized the twelve research papers on personal themes. They have returned to their respective organizations and are now back at their daily jobs. I hope that the training they experienced will be a bright light that will illuminate their future paths.
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation used the government subsidized budget for the Cooperative Project for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage in West Asia and UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in Trust for the Reconstruction of the Conservation and Restoration Department of the Iraq National Museum in Baghdad in order to invite Iraqi conservation specialists to Japan for training to transfer techniques for conservation and of cultural heritage. This year four specialists in conservation – Ms. Senaa C. A. Al-Timini, Mr. Fadhil A. Allaw, Mr. Mohammad K. M. J. Al-Mimar and Ms.Baan A. M. A. Al-Jameel – have been invited from the Iraq National Museum. They will spend 3 months, from June 19 to September 18, receiving practical training on the conservation of textiles and training on equipment for conservation of cultural properties and material analysis. The program will be conducted with the cooperation of domestic institutes for conservation and restoration, including Joshibi University of Art and Design, the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, and the Shizuoka Research Institute for Buried Cultural Properties.
Conservation and Restoration of Mural Painting Fragments in Tajikistan and Capacity Building (Fifth Mission)
The 5th mission for Conservation and Restoration of Mural Painting Fragments in the collection of the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan was dispatched from May 13 to June 12. Four Tajik trainees joined in the conservation of mural painting fragments excavated from the Kara-i Kahkaha (Shafristan) site in northern Tajikistan in continuation of last year’s mission. The trainees learned how to join mural painting fragments and remove the attached gauze.The fragments that had been cleaned and joined were then put together to make a larger piece. This piece was reinforced with a triaxial woven textile made of rayon (Sakase Adtech Co., Ltd.) and then mounted on a new support. Conventionally, plaster and wood are used for support, but this time carbon fiber and synthetic resin were used to create a support that is more light-weight and that can be easily handled. This series of work was executed with the Tajik trainees for the purpose of transferring techniques to the Tajik people and contributing to capacity building in Tajikistan.
The second half of the course on the conservation of historical buildings, a part of the “Program for Capacity Building along the Silk Road,” which is a joint project with the China National Institute of Cultural Heritage, was conducted from early April at Kumbum (Ta’er) Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Qinghai province. While last year’s program focused on restoration theory and measurement survey, this year’s course focused on practicing the actual flow of work, from drawing up conservation management plan to basic design and detailed design. In addition, by giving an outline of the restoration system unique to Japan, in which survey, design and on-site control are undertaken by the same person, we sought to offer an opportunity for Chinese trainees to think about the meaning of conservation that often relies on given manuals.
Lectures from the Japanese side, which sent 5 lecturers in succession, were completed at the end of May and were followed by lectures from the Chinese side, which continued until the end of July. The twelve trainees have been working hard in their respective fields, but the course has also shed light on various issues. First, although both Japan and China have traditions of wooden constructions and Chinese characters, there are significant unexpected differences between Chinese and Japanese architecture. Thus there was often trouble communicating because of differences in terminology and views on restoration. Second, since restoration work was already in progress at many parts of the monastery, on-site practice could be conducted only on a part of the work site. As such, there was no choice but to change the building used for practice in cases when we could not reach an agreement with the monastery, who wanted the restoration to be done quickly. We really felt the necessity of making sufficient consultation at the planning stage for both curriculum and operation.
We participated in the international training workshop Conservation for Peace – World Heritage Impact Assessment: Series Control and Conservation of World Heritage, which was held by the Hiroshima Office of United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), from April 19 to 25, 2009 as part of a study on the applications of international training. Hiroshima Prefecture sponsored the sixth training session this year, and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Getty Conservation Institute, the International Council on Monument and Sites (ICOMOS), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) sent lecturers. Forty two speakers participated from 23 countries, mainly persons working in management, administration, and research organizations of world heritage sites (natural and cultural heritage) in the Asia-Pacific region.
The training consisted of three sessions: a classroom lecture, an on-site inspection, and group work. We heard lectures on management and were able to understand the importance of world heritage (natural and cultural heritage) and impact assessment. Then we visited the World Heritage Sites in Hiroshima (Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Park, and Itsukushima Shinto Srine and Miyajima), to evaluate issues at the local sites and have the opportunity to apply and compare the cases in different Asian countries. The work was divided into five groups, including heritage that has not yet been registered as a world heritage site, in which participants created a simplified edition of world heritage registration application, emphasizing impact assessment with respect to the value of the heritage. At the round table open to public on the final date, the participants and citizens exchanged opinions on the issues of Hiroshima’s world heritage through discussions.
We acquired the specific data on the issues of world heritages in Asia, and also learned the training application method ? using advance preparation to achieve the maximum effect in a short training period, interactive lectures, and the inclusion of the “After Action Review” evaluation method.
Networking Core Centres for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Project in Mongolia
As part of the Networking Core Centres Project for Mongolia, four members of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation visited Ulan Baator from March 9 to 13 and held discussions to prepare technical cooperation projects for the recording and documenting of stone ruins and the restoration of buildings. Our counterparts are Mr. Enkhbat, Director of the Center for Cultural Heritage of Mongolia, for training programs related to the conservation of stone ruins in Khentii province, and Ms. Oyunbileg, Senior Officer in charge of museums and cultural heritage at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of Mongolia, for training programs related to the conservation of buildings. In regard to the training program for the conservation of buildings, we met the chairman of the Union of Mongolian Architects (UMA) and exchanged information about topics such as the role of architects in the restoration and conservation of heritage buildings, ways to determine repair and conservation planning methodology, the current state of conservation works, issues related to capacity development as well as execution and control at worksites. We also visited the National Archives of Mongolia and were deeply impressed when we learned that all Mongolian architecture-related documents from 1939 onward, including those related to built heritage conservation, are stored there. We also found similarities between survey methods used in Mongolia and in Japan as we studied an old temple’s actual survey and restoration plans and drawings made in the 1980s. This visit to Mongolia allowed us to capture a good view of the way to further achieve the purpose of the Networking Project: building a system for conservation of cultural heritage that best suits the situation of Mongolia, whilst nurturing experts in this field and the next generation, through mutual communication.
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation provides technical support for the establishment of the Conservation Center, an affiliated organization of the Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza, the construction of which is currently underway, in response to a request from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Various conservation workshops have been held since last year for capacity development of specialists who will play active roles at the center. In a metals conservation workshop held for five days from March 1 to 5 in the meeting room of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, a lecturer, who has extensive experience in excavation and research in Egypt and in conservation projects, was invited from Greece. In the lecture, she explained the characteristics of metals in the first half of the workshop. In the second half of the workshop, participants were given an opportunity for hands-on practice on conservation, and storage. For practical training of documentation, they were able to use the collection in the Egyptian Museum. As a result, the workshop was very significant. We will answer further requests from Egypt and continue to support capacity development and technology transfer of techniques.
“Cooperation in Economic Development and International Cooperation for Cultural Heritage” Workshop by the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage
The fourth workshop of the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage, “Cooperation in Economic Development and International Cooperation for Cultural Heritage”, took place on March 26, 2009. We invited Mr. Meinolf Spiekerman of the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), Ms. Kalin Ceebee of the Swedish National Cultural Heritage Board, Cultural Heritage Committee and Mr. Morita Takahiro of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to give lectures about ideal cooperation for economic development and cultural heritage conservation by Germany, Sweden, and Japan. GTZ provides support packages for health services, traffic control, and other services, while making use of conservation of historical cities in an urban development cooperation framework. The Swedish cooperation for Tanzania aims at improving the hygiene of the inhabitants and eradicating poverty by restoring historical buildings. Over 50 people participated in the workshop, where they discussed the collaborative institution status of various organizations for implementing support and how the uniqueness of one’s native country can be adapted to a partner country. The Consortium will continue to provide the latest information and also a place for discussions through workshops.
From February 12 to March 15, 2009, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, dispatched the first mission for the “Networking Core Project Concerning the Conservation of Mural Paintings between the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, and Archaeological Survey of India,” a part of the Networking Core Centres for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage.
There are many valuable Buddhist mural paintings remaining at Ajanta Caves dating up to the first century C.E. in the earlier period and to the fifth to approximately the eighth centuries C.E. in the later period. However, when trying to conserve these paintings, various problems that are found with the mural paintings of Bamiyan are shared at Ajanta: the strength of the bedrock where the caves were cut, the infiltration of rainwater, bat excrement and blackened attachments likely caused by smoke. To deal with these problems, the first mission conducted investigation together with Indian conservation experts and shared knowledge and experience of conservation materials and techniques, aiming to develop human resources and transfer technology.
Specific details of the investigation included the following: recording the condition of conservation of the mural paintings (photographing, rough measurement of caves and condition survey), installing thermohygrometers (data logger) to survey the environment; studying the chronology, techniques, and materials of the mural paintings (sampling specimens, infrared/ultraviolet photography and nondestructive analysis using a portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometer); and examining bat excrement.
Finishing the Conservation Project for the Stone Statues of the Tombs of the Tang Dynasty in Shaanxi Province
The conservation of the stone statues of the tombs of the Tang dynasty in Shaanxi province, which started in 2004 as a joint project between China and Japan, has been completed successfully. The final site inspection and project evaluation by special advisors and external evaluation committee members were conducted in Xi’an from March 16 to 18. This project was funded by the Japanese benefactor, Mr. Kuroda Tetsuya, who offered a total of 100 million yen to the Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research. In the project, stone statues found at the north, south, east and west gates of three mausoleums from the Tang dynasty – two imperial tombs, Qianling and Qiaoling, and Shunling Mausoleum, where the mother of Wu Ze Tian is buried – were restored. The project also included the improvement of the surrounding environment.
The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo has been in charge of the project, working with the Xi’an Centre for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage. Various investigations and restoration work have been conducted, workshops have been hosted, and Chinese members have been invited for research.
Mr. Kuroda and his wife also participated in this inspection and meeting and were given words of appreciation and a commemorative gift for their support from the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau.
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been developing various support activities and joint research since 2001 to protect the Longmen Grottoes, a world heritage site located in the Luoyang City of Henan Province, China. From 2002 to 2007, together with the Photographing Room of the Department of Research Programming, we used digital cameras which are showing significant development in recent years to advance our study of the collection of experimental image data, and to build up a control system for the three caves of Longmen Grottoes: Lord Huangfu Caves (first half of the sixth century C.E.), Lotus-flower Cave (first half of the sixth century C.E.), and Jing shan si dong (latter half of the seventh century C.E.). The results were compiled in one report titled ‘World Heritage Longmen Grottoes – Japan-China Joint Photographing Project Report (Image Catalog)’ created in March 2003. However, the number of printed copies of this report is limited, so it has not been seen by many people, and the printed matter could not fully demonstrate the effect of the digital images. The fundamental assignment for cultural heritage conservation activities is how to enhance the openness of the various types of data collected by investigative research. Therefore, we decided first to build the control system as a theme, and the staff repeated trial and error for the method for containing data from the investigation. This was done simultaneously with photographing and making use of digital images, resulting in the completion of the Japanese edition of the database and starting of publicity for the Institute’s library. It is expected that using this database will further advance research on the above three caves. We also have high hopes that the method established here can be adapted to a database for other types of cultural heritage. A complete Chinese edition will be provided to the Longmen Grottoes Research Institute, our joint research partner.