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 of Afghan and Iraqi specialists

Practicing peeling off remains (Shizuoka Prefectural Institute for Buried Cultural Properties)
Practicing conservation of metal relics (Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties)

 Funded by grants from the Institute and UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation invited Afghan and Iraqi specialists engaged in the conservation of cultural heritage and archaeology, and conducted training for capacity development and transfer of techniques.
 Two archaeology specialists from Afghanistan were invited from the Institute of Archaeology in Kabul: Mr. Ketab Khan Faizy and Mr. Ruhullah Ahumadozai. They received training in archaeology for 5 months, during which time they participated in on-site excavation and studied the methods for excavation and measuring of sites and objects not only at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, but also with the cooperation of such organizations as the Tokyo Metropolitan Buried Cultural Property Research Center, Nagareyama City Board of Education and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties.
 Two Iraqi conservator were invited from the Iraq National Museum: Ms. Buthainah M. Abdulhussein, Director of the Central Laboratory of Restoration and Conservation of Antiquities, and Mr. Thmar R. Abuduallah, a conservator. The two received 6 months of training from July to December 2008 on conservation, mainly of wooden artifacts, as well as practical training to acquire relevant conservation techniques. This project was conducted with the cooperation of various domestic institutions for conservation, such as the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, the Shizuoka Research Institute for Buried Cultural Heritage and the Kyushu National Museum. The trainees practiced conservation of wooden objects at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and of metal objects at the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. They further learned basic scientific investigation methods for wooden materials at the Shizuoka Research Institute for Buried Cultural Heritage and about the latest analysis devices including 3-dimensional CT scanners at the Kyushu National Museum.
 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation intends to continue to assist in the capacity development of specialists who are engaged in the conservation of cultural heritage in Afghanistan and Iraq through similar training courses.


Conservation and Restoration of Murals unearthed in Central Asia workshop held

Surveying the status after storing mural pieces

 Since 2008, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, has been working on the conservation and restoration of mural pieces owned by the National Museum of Antiquities, Tajikistan, together with the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography, Academy of Science, Tajikistan. As part of this project, we invited a total of six specialists in conservation and restoration to Tajikistan from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan, and held a workshop at the National Museum from December 5 to10.
 In the ruins of Central Asia, beautiful murals from the 5th to 12th century were discovered, but the number of specialists who can conserve and restore the murals is insufficient, so conservation and restoration activities have been delayed. Also in this area, mural conservation and restoration methods established in the former Soviet Union were widespread, so common problems have occurred, such as color change color of the mural surface due to the deterioration of reinforcement. At the workshop, we asked participants to report on the current status of conservation and restoration of murals in their home countries. We also introduced the new trials that we had performed in Tajikistan, and requested them to actually experience them in their work. We will hereafter hold similar workshops in which Japanese specialists and those at the local site will work together and exchange opinions, aiming to promote conservation and restoration activities for the murals in Central Asia, and improving the conservation and restoration methods thereof.


Training of Afghan archaeological specialists

Participation to excavation conducted by Nagareyama City Board of Education
Participation to excavation of Heijo Palace Site carried out by Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties

 The archaeological training of Afghan specialists started in the middle of July as part of the Safeguarding of the Bamiyan Site project, and continued until the middle of December. The two trainees, Mr. Ketabhan Faizy and Mr. Ruhullah Ahumadozai, finished their five month long training and left for Afghanistan on December 22. In these training sessions, practical training was done under the cooperation of various organizations, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Buried Cultural Property Research Center, the Nagareyama City Board of Education, and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, as well as the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. The trainees worked in the field sites of excavation and study implemented by these organizations and learned methods for excavation and measuring the remains and relics through hands-on practice (see photos 1 and 2). The Afghan trainees sometimes experienced difficulties during the long training sessions in a foreign country, but they not only learned the expert knowledge and skills of archaeology, but also became familiar with Japanese life and culture, and had a productive training period. On December 17, a meeting was held at the Institute to present training results, and the participants reported on what they had learned during training as well as the latest archeological information in Afghanistan.
 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation plans to continue cooperating in fostering those who will be engaged in conservation of cultural properties in Afghanistan through these training sessions.


Conservation of fragments of mural paintings in Tajikistan (first to third missions) and holding of a workshop on the conservation of mural paintings excavated in Central Asia

Surveying the status of mural pieces before joining, with local trainees

 As part of an exchange program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation is conducting conservation of mural paintings in the collection of the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan. Three missions were dispatched from summer to autumn, and a workshop was held in early December 2008.
 Since there are not many conservators in Tajikistan, the excavated mural painting fragments have been left in the storage of the National Museum without appropriate treatment. The goal of this project is to transfer to Tajikistan conservation knowledge and techniques that the Center has accumulated to date and to foster Tajik specialists in conservation. Until now, 4 trainees have participated in works related to the storage, investigation and photography as well as the cleaning of the mural painting fragments.
 In December, a workshop was held at the National Museum to which a total of 5 conservation specialists were invited from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. The participants reported the actual conditions of the conservation of mural paintings in their respective countries. We introduced the new undertaking being conducted in Tajikistan, and the participants were able to actually experience a series of the work. We hope to promote activities for the conservation of mural paintings in Central Asia and to improve conservation methods by holding similar workshops in the future, working jointly with local experts and exchanging opinions.


Conclusion of the agreement on the Indo-Japanese Project for Conservation of the Mural Paitnings at Ajanta Caves

General view of the Ajanta Caves
Agreement Signing Ceremony (ASI, New Delhi)

 On November 21, 2008, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) concluded an agreement on a research project for the conservation of the mural paintings at Ajanta Caves.
 There are many valuable Buddhist mural paintings at Ajanta Caves dating to both the earlier period (1st century BC to 2nd century AD) and the later period (5th century to 6th century AD). However, these mural paintings have deteriorated severely due to structural problems of the bedrock itself, damage from floods in rainy seasons, bat excrement, and blackened markings likely caused by smoke.
 To deal with these problems, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo will survey Caves no. 2 and no. 9 of Ajanta from 2008 to 2010 as part of an exchange program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Indian and Japanese specialists will exchange and share knowledge of conservation techniques and materials, expertise, and experience, aiming at improving the techniques and abilities of both groups of experts.


Workshop on conservation and restoration of stone statues of the tombs of Tang dynasty in Shaanxi (Xi’an)

Workshop
Visit to Shunling Tomb

 The conservation project for the stone statues of the tombs of the Tang dynasty, conducted jointly with the Xi’an Centre for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in China since 2004, will end this year. In this joint project, Chinese and Japanese specialists have held yearly workshops. The fifth and the final workshop, a larger one than the others, was held in Xi’an on November 17 and 18, 2008. The purpose was to show the results of the project to specialists in Chinese institutions and universities, to exchange opinions on various problems concerning the conservation of stone cultural properties, and to interact with each other. About 40 specialists participated in the workshop. The participants conducted an on-site inspection on November 17 and held presentations and active discussions on November 18. Contents of the workshop were as follows:
*Morii Masayuki (National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo)
 ”Environmental observation after the construction of shelter on the Usuki stone Buddha”
*Tomoda Masahiko (National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo)
 ”Conservation and management of stone sites: the case of the Angkor Site”
*Tsuda Yutaka (Geolest Co. Ltd., specialist of UNESCO Longmen Grottoes project)
 ”Condensation at Longmen Grottoes”
*Fang Yun (China University of Geosciences, Wuhan)
 ”Observation of cracks and deformation on the rock carvings of Shunling Tomb”
*Zhen Guangquan (Xi’an Centre for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in China)
 ”Research on materials for protecting stone cultural properties”
*Zhu Yiqing (Zhong Wei Kang Long Nano Science & Technology Development Co. Ltd.)
 ”Materials for the conservation of stone objects and its evaluation system”
*Wang Li (Nanjing Museum)
 ”Conservation of the cliff inscriptions at Huayangdong Cave in Mount Maoshan, Jurong, Jiangsu”
*Ma Tao (Xi’an Centre for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in China)
 ”Surface treatment for the conservation of the stone statues of Qianling Tomb”

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Finishing training dispatch to Dunhuang

Practicing backing a paper book (Ms. Kurahashi)
Practicing restoring mural (Ms. Sato)

 Ms. Sato Kyoko, currently finishing a master’s course in conservation science at Tokyo Gakugei University’s Graduate School, and Ms. Kurahashi Emi, currently finishing a master’s course in Japanese-style painting at Tsukuba University’s Graduate School, went to the Dunhuang Academy on June 1, finished their training, and returned to Japan on October 19 without incident. The two trainees stayed in the hotel at Mogao Grottoes, and with the full cooperation of Dunhuang Academy, they received detailed training concerning the protection of cultural properties, the restoration of murals – on-site survey, analysis and research, practical conservation processes, and mural structure reproduction and copy – as well as a lecture on management and operation of Mogao Grottoes, a world heritage site. In terms of research topics, Ms. Sato performed analysis and comparative study on red coloring matter used for the murals, and Ms. Kurahashi analyzed the restoration copy for scientific study. Their studies gained high marks from the researchers of the Dunhuang Academy at the final presentations. The encounter and interaction with colleagues of the same generation at the Dunhuang Academy will likely have a great influence on their future, along with the valuable experiences they had at the local site. This training will be held for two more years.

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Completion of the training for earthen structures conservation group, a part of the program for capacity development along the Silk Road in China

Site of restoring graves in Guazhou county of Gansu Province
Work to reinforce adobe bricks

 The training for the third year of the earthen structures conservation group in the project for capacity development along the Silk Road was jointly conducted with the National Institute of Cultural Properties of China at Guazhou, Gansu province for 2 months from September 1, 2008. A completion ceremony was held on October 31 to mark the end of a training that took place for a total of 7 months over 3 years.
 Earthen structures include buildings above ground built by piling mud bricks and sites unearthed during archeological excavations. In Japan there are many examples of archeological sites that have been conserved but, since there are few buildings above ground made of dried earth alone, Japan lacks experience in the conservation of such buildings. These sites that remain in various locations along the Silk Road from West Asia to China are like landmarks of the movement of the culture of the west to Japan, on the east end of the Silk Road. For this reason, it is significant in terms of cooperation to foster human resources to protect these sites. Until now, Japanese specialists have continued to cooperate in conservation activities in Iran and other countries in Central Asia. In this particular training, conservation techniques were applied to the earthen gate pillars of graves built in the Gobi Desert of Guazhou some 2,000 years ago. The 12 trainees freely used the concepts and theories they learned through their training during the past 29 months to consider the most appropriate method for the conservation of the site based on on-site investigation and observation. They also conducted the actual conservation work. In addition, they compiled a report that summarizes their three-year training. It is hoped that they will return to their respective areas and engage in conservation of earthen structures as local leaders.

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Preservation of the Buddhist Monastery of Ajina Tepa, Tajikistan

Potsherd with seal impressions bearing the image of a seated figure

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been participating in the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust project, “Preservation of the Buddhist Monastery of Ajina Tepa, Tajikistan” since 2006. As this is the last year of the project, the excavated objects were sorted and the acquired data were analyzed in view of the publication of a report at the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan from October 2 to 23, 2008. Most of the excavated objects are fragments of pottery and mud bricks from the 7th to 8th centuries when people inhabited the Ajina Tepa site. In this mission, a piece of the rim of a large jar on which stamp seals had been impressed was found among these objects. There are two seal impressions, one large and the other small. At the center of the large round seal is an image of a seated figure; to its right, as viewed from the image, is a water pot, while to its left is an object that looks like a staff. Although many fragments of large jars have been discovered from the Ajina Tepa site, this is the only piece with such seal impressions. Had the seals been impressed on large jars used for a special purpose? This was a fascinating finding.


On-site investigation to support the restoration of cultural properties damaged by the Great Sichuan Earthquake

Most of a 28-meter tower had collapsed (Wenxingta, An-xian)

 An earthquake of magnitude 8 occurred in the Sichuan province of China, with the seismic center in Wenchuan-xian, on May 12, 2008. It was a catastrophic disaster that resulted in serious damages including deaths and fatalities due to the collapse of buildings and landslides. Sichuan province has a long history and many of its cultural properties were also seriously damaged. Following the dispatch of a team immediately after the earthquake in order to save lives, the Japanese government submitted a “support package” to the Chinese government listing the types of support that each ministry would be to provide. Response was received at the end of June, and it was decided to exchange Japanese and Chinese experts in order to support the restoration of cultural properties, a project proposed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, conducted research from September 25 to 30. Focus was placed on collecting information in preparation for developing a specific plan for restoration activities that Japan would provide. For this purpose the current condition of damage was investigated and opinions were exchanged with local persons in charge of the protection of cultural properties. Although 4 months had passed since the earthquake occurred, traces of damage were still visible in the disaster-stricken area. For example, at some temple offices people were working in tents used during evacuation even though winter was approaching.
 The following were decided during this visit and through discussions with experts.
1) Approximately 10 experts from Japan would visit Sichuan province and hold a seminar on the theme of protecting cultural properties from earthquakes, working with Chinese experts.
2) Mainly buildings and objects stored in muse-ums would be restored.
3) The time immediately after the 2009 lunar New Year (January 26) would be appropriate.
 The Agency for Cultural Affairs has received the report of this investigation and is currently examining specific details.

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Conclusion of the Agreement between the Department of Culture and Art, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Mongolia and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, Japan on Cooperation on the Conservation of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia

Investigation at Rashaan Khad site
Workshop for protection of cultural heritage in Japan and Mongolia

 From September 3 to 13, 2008, we visited Mongolia to conclude the agreement on cooperation for the conservation of cultural heritage of Mongolia with the Department of Culture and Art, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, hold a workshop as part of an exchange program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, and survey the partner country.
 From September 5 to 8, we visited sites in Khentii Aimag (province), in the conservation of which Japan was asked to cooperate. At Rashaan Khad site, pictures of animals and characters of various languages are found on rocks dating from the Paleolithic era to the time of the Mongol Empire. Serven Khaalga site is a memorial of the war in which Genghis Khan participated. The present condition of these sites, valuable sites that may be called national treasures of Mongolia, were documented by photographs and GPS and the state of their deterioration was investigated.
 On September 9, the Agreement between the Department of Culture and Art, Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Mongolia and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, Japan on Cooperation on the Conservation of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia was signed. The agreement covers activities such as the implementation of joint projects, cooperation in research and development, capacity development and holding of workshops, all with focus on the protection of cultural heritage. It emphasizes cooperation in the protection of both tangible and intangible cultural heritages while respecting the positions of both organizations.
 On September 10 and 11, a workshop entitled “Protection of Tangible/Intangible Cultural Heritage in Mongolia and Japan” was held. This was the first of the joint projects between the two organizations and was supported by the Japanese embassy in Mongolia. The topic of the workshop was decided by the government of Mongolia in December 2007 for the purpose of improving laws related to the conservation of cultural heritage, protecting historical and cultural monuments, and promoting economic contribution by developing tourism. Fourteen people from Japan and twenty from Mongolia participated in the workshop. Four presentations each were given by Japan and Mongolia, followed by a question and answer session.


Hosting the 22nd international workshop on conservation and restoration of cultural properties

Presentation at the 22nd international workshop on conservation and restoration of cultural properties

 The 22nd international workshop on conservation and restoration of cultural properties entitled “Conservation of Sites and Water” was held on September 19, 2008, with 75 participants. 3 presentations were made: “The Hydrology, Hydraulics, and Geotechnics of Moenjodaro” by Mr. Richard Hughes of the International Heritage Conservation and Management Ltd., UK; “Present Condition and Problems of Conservation at the Sendai City Tomizawa Site Museum” by Mr. Sato Hiroshi of the Sendai City Tomizawa Site Museum; and “The Underwater Park of Baiae – Preservation and Public Access” by Dr. Nicola Severino of Naples and Pompei Special Archeology Station, Italy. These presentations were followed by comprehensive discussions. Ways to avoid water are often discussed in conserving sites, and exam-ples of sites at which conservation is conducted on the premise that there is water may be useful as reference when considering the conservation of sites in different circumstances.


Hosting the 4th Debriefing Session of Japan-Thai Joint Research Results

The 4th Debriefing Session of Japan-Thai Joint Research Results

 Based on the letters exchanged between the Thai Culture Ministry Fine Arts Department and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo in October 2006, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation is performing joint research with the Fine Arts Department on the deterioration and conservation of ruins in Thailand. We hosted the debriefing session of the research results in Bangkok.
 The session took place at the Thai National Gallery on September 4 and 5. Research presentations were given at the session – six from Japan and four from Thailand- and lively discussion took place among the approximately 30 local researchers who participated.
 While staying in Thailand, we visited the Fine Arts Department, and had a meeting concerning the Asian Cultural Heritage International Conference to be held on January 14-16, 2009.


16th ICOMOS General Assembly/International Symposium (Québec, Canada)

Visiting restored urban areas of old Québec
ICOMOS General Assembly

 I participated in the 16th ICOMOS General Assembly held in Québec (Canada) from September 27 to October 4, as a part of research activities on international trends in cultural heritage conservation.
 Experts of various fields related to conservation of tangible cultural heritage assembled from around the world. Approximately 20 people from Japan attended making the 2nd largest delegation from the Asia-Pacific region. The theme “Finding the Spirit of the Place” was discussed throughout the whole session, at the General Assembly, during the International Forum for Young Researchers and Professionals, the meetings of the International Scientific Committees (ISCs), the International Scientific Symposium, as well as site visits. The Forum for Young Researchers and Professionals (Sept. 27-28) was a new attempt where young researchers contributed to active discussions. As many as 23 specialized meetings were set for the ISC meetings (Sept. 29) among which I attended five meetings where Japan was little or not represented so far, and calling for greater participation. On September 30, the opening of the General Assembly took place. The International Symposium (Oct. 1-2) had four simultaneous sessions set around the theme ‘Spirit of the Place’; various examples of conservation practices from all over the world were introduced along with poster sessions. On September 3, the participants divided into seven groups to visit the heritage of Québec, its old city and surrounding sites. As a result of the General Assembly and the elections, one member from Japan was elected for the Executive Committee and one member was admitted to honorary membership.  Throughout these eight days we had valuable opportunities to actively exchange opinions and develop networks further ahead.


Conservation of mural paintings in Tajikistan

Conservation methodology and techniques are transferred in order to foster local experts.
A portable X-ray fluorescence analyzer is used to analyze the elements contained in the paint layers of a mural painting.

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation dispatched the first mission of the “Conservation of the Mural Paintings of the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan,” a part of an exchange program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, from July 23 to August 5. The mural fragments to be conserved had been detached from archaeological sites in Tajikistan by Russian experts over a period of years (cf: http://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/ktmonth/2007-08)
 Since the number of experts on conservation is insufficient in Tajikistan, these mural fragments are placed in the storage of the National Museum without being appropriately treated. Therefore, there are numerous problems and the fragments need to be treated for conservation and future exhibition. In this project, the conservation knowledge and techniques that the Center has accumulated will be transferred to Tajikistan in order to foster Tajikistan experts on conservation.
 One of the major issues associated with the mural paintings is the use of synthetic resin that had been impregnated into the fragments during their detachment. This synthetic resin was used to protect the mural fragments at that time but has yellowed and hardened the soil that had adhered to the surface, making it difficult to see the mural paintings now. Activities of this mission included a cleaning test to remove the discolored synthetic resin and hardened soil from the mural fragments.
 Investigation of the paint materials is also important in understanding the painting techniques and the route by which materials used for the mural paintings were procured at the time. Thus, a portable X-ray fluorescence analyzer was used for elementary analysis, and some of the pigments were identified. As a result it was revealed that the currently black areas were once green and that various shades of red paints were used to produce different colors.


Training of Iraqi and Afghan specialists

Iraqi conservators learning about the conservation and restoration of wooden artefacts (wooden cabinet, Verkehr Museum collection)

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation implements training programs for Iraqi and Afghan specialists who are engaged in the conservation of cultural properties as well as archaeological studies in order to train specialists and transfer technology. These programs are funded by grants from the Institute and the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust. This year, a six-month training is conducted from July 1 to December 10 and two conservators from the Iraq National Museum (Mr. Buthainah M. Abdulhussein and Mr. Thmar R. Abduallah) have been invited. The training program is designed to help these specialists acquire techniques for the conservation and restoration of wooden artifacts and obtain various conservation and restoration techniques. The program enjoys the cooperation of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Shizuoka Prefectural Institute for Buried Cultural Properties, Kyushu National Museum and other institutions in Japan. Two Afghan archaeologists (Mr. Ketab Khan Faizi and Mr. Rohullah Ahmadzai) have also been invited to a training program at our Institute and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties from July 18 to December 22 in order to acquire basic archaeological knowledge and latest techniques. In October, two conservators from the Kabul National Museum will join the training course for the conservation of Buddhist manuscripts found from the Bamian caves; they will work with Japanese conservators.


On-site investigation in Thailand and Cambodia

Investigation of the properties of sandstone (suscptibility) (Angkor Site, Cambodia)

 In July, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted investigations of the deterioration of stone sites in Thailand and Cambodia.
 In Thailand, the Center cooperated with the Fine Arts Department of the Ministry of Culture of Thailand to investigate sites in Scothai and Ayutthaya. At Wat Sri Chum in Scothai, we determined the difference in quantity of water evaporation between a place which is suitable for the growth of algae and another which is not. At Wat Mahathat in Ayutthaya, we conducted a follow-up study of conservation work that had been executed in 2004 in order to control weathering by salts, partly to determine how lasting the effect of this work has been.
 In Cambodia, we cooperated with APSARA to investigate the effect of the presence of lichens and bryophytes on the deterioration of stone materials. In particular, we studied the sandstone of Ta Nei to determine the difference in strength and other properties between a place in which microorganisms are present on the surface and another in which they are not.
 During our stay in Bangkok, we visited the Fine Arts Department to discuss matters concerning the Expert Meeting on Cultural Heritage in Asia and the Pacific to be held from January 14 to 16, 2009 in Bangkok.


Program for capacity development along the Silk Road

On-site practice session at Qingshoutang Disanyuan, the Forbidden City

 Training for the group on the protection of old buildings, a part of the program for capacity development along the Silk Road (the first year of a two-year program) that started in Beijing on April 3 ended successfully after 15 weeks on July 11. Twelve trainees from the provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, Shaanxi and Henan participated in this part of the program. In the latter half of the program (from the eighth week), Qingshoutang Disanyuan of the Forbidden City was chosen as the site for practice sessions on the investigation of building conditions, techniques and measurement. This building is said to have been constructed near Yihejian, the building where Emperor Qianlong lived after his abdication, and to have served as quarters for actors and actresses who played for the retired emperor. Since then, the building has undergone some partial reconstructions, and now serves as workshop for the repair of fittings in the Forbidden City. Five specialists from The Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments participated as lecturers at the on-site practical session. The first-year program ended with the completion of the drafting of a restoration plan based on investigation results. A proposal has been made to have the participants engage in the restoration of buildings damaged by the Sichuan Earthquake on May 12 for next year’s on-site restoration practice session.

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Investigation of the mural paintings of the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes and the dispatch of trainees

Joint investigation in Cave 285
The investigation team (in orange uniform) and trainees (in red uniform)

 The fifth phase of the Joint Research on the Conservation of the Mural Paintings of the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes is in its third year. Members of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo were sent to Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes for four weeks from June 1 to conduct the first half of this year’s Japan-China joint research. Continuing from last year, optical investigation that has been conducted until now in Cave 285, which has an inscription (A.D. 538 and 539) of the West Wei period, was continued and the conditions of the entire mural painting were examined. The condition of deterioration and preservation of the materials used for mural paintings differ depending on various conditions such as color, technique and the location of the paintings. If we understand these conditions, the results of the optical investigation will reveal much more information, resulting in new ideas about investigation and analysis. In addition, if specific materials and techniques result in different states of deterioration, that will provide much insight into future conservation and restoration work.
 Furthermore, two graduate students with a master’s degree went to the Mogao Grottoes from Japan with this investigation team. They were selected from different fields of discipline – conservation science and paintings – as trainees dispatched to Dunhuang by public announcement that has been implemented from last fiscal year. They will stay in Dunhuang for five months until mid-October and receive guidance from specialists at the Conservation Institute of Dunhuang Academy concerning diverse matters related to the protection of mural paintings.

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Meeting of experts on the project for the conservation of the stone statues of the tombs of Tang dynasty in Shaanxi

Japan-China experts meeting
A banner of "Ardent Welcome" displayed at the site of Qiaoling Mausoleum

 This fiscal year is the final year of the project for the conservation of stone statues of the tombs of Tang dynasty that has been conducted jointly with the Xi’an Centre for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in China since 2004. For two days, on June 23 and 24, a meeting of Japanese and Chinese experts was held in Xi’an City where last fiscal year’s were reviewed and evaluated. From Japan, Mr. Nishiura Tadateru (professor of Kokushikan University, conservation of cultural properties) and Mr. Nedachi Kensuke (professor of Kyoto University, history of art) attended as experts. During the last fiscal year, of the three target mausoleums of this project, archeological investigations and maintenance work were conducted particularly for the east, west and north gates of the Qiaoling Mausoleum which is the tomb of Emperor Ruizong of Tang. This time, Japanese and Chinese experts investigated the site in the presence of many local onlookers. In addition, the great Sichuan Earthquake that struck Shaanxi province on May 12 notably enlarged the crack on the lion statue placed at the south gate of the Shunling Mausoleum, another target mausoleum. For this reason, meteorological observation instruments were installed shortly after, and they were inspected on this occasion. A Japan-China academic seminar on the protection of stone cultural properties will be held in November and the project is scheduled to be completed next March after the final meeting of the review board.

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