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


A Survey of Japanese Paintings in the Grassi Museum for Ethnology in Leipzig, Germany

A survey at the Grassi Museum for Ethnology in Leipzig

 Numerous Japanese artworks can be found in European and American collections overseas. However, there are few conservators of these artworks overseas, and many of them cannot be shown to the public since they have not been properly conserved. Thus, the Institute conducts the Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas in order to properly conserve and exhibit these works. For three days from February 28th, 2017, KATO Masato, EMURA Tomoko and Won Hee Jae of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation visited and surveyed eleven Japanese paintings of nine works in the Grassi Museum for Ethnology in Leipzig.
 This museum houses around 200,000 pieces of fine art and craft, as well as folk materials, collected throughout the world except Europe. Of course, Japanese paintings, the historical value of which is high, are also included, such as the works previously owned by Dr. Heinrich Botho Scheube, who came to Japan as a foreign specialist employed by the government in the Meiji era, and paintings from Japan with a history of having been exhibited at the Third Paris International Exposition in 1878. The existence of these Japanese paintings has not been well known so far, but some are important works from the perspective of art history. Providing information obtained from this survey for the persons in charge of this museum, we expect it will be utilized for the appropriate conservation and management of these works. Based on the outcomes of this survey, we will proceed with the project by selecting the ones to be restored through consultation while considering the evaluation of the works in art history and the urgency of their restoration needs.


Workshops on Lacquerware at the Lacquerware Technology College in Bagan, Myanmar

Practical training on investigation of the lacquer objects
Practical training on observation of cross-section samples using a microscope

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation held a lacquerware workshop at the Lacquerware Technology College in Bagan, Myanmar, as part of the project ʻProtection and Conservation of Cultural Properties in Myanmarʼ Bagan is a major production area for lacquerware. The above-mentioned college is working hard to train young lacquerware specialists to pass down local traditions and techniques. A lacquerware museum is attached to the college, where many cultural properties are housed. On the other hand, they need knowledge and skills related to the conservation and restoration of their cultural properties and scientific research on materials.
 Twelve college teachers and the museum curators participated in the workshop held from February 6th to 8th, 2017. The participants were provided with practical training and lectures on investigation and scientific analysis which are essential for the basis on conservation and restoration of lacquerware. In the practical training, each participant was required to visually examine and take notes on three pieces of Japanese lacquerware and one from the museum collection, followed by a discussion about their uses, materials, techniques and condition of damage. Finally, the comments and explanations were given by the instructor. In the scientific analysis part of the practical training, the participants prepared and observed by themselves cross-section samples. Fragments detached from actual lacquerware were embedded in synthetic resin, and the well-polished samples were then observed using a microscope to understand the structure of the lacquer coating. To cover the practical training, lectures were also provided to introduce a case study of conservation and restoration, along with prevalent methods of scientific analysis.
 The aim of the workshop was to provide the college teachers and curators with experience that would help them to protect the cultural properties in Myanmar.


The Research on Conservation and Restoration Method for Outer Wall of Brick Temples in Bagan, Myanmar

Waterproof sheet covering the damaged areas
Lashing belt reinforcing the structure

 From February 5th to 28th, 2017, at Me-taw-ya (No. 1205) temple in the Bagan Archaeological Site in Myanmar, the experiments with restoration materials and techniques were carried out in order to establish restoration methods for outer wall of brick temples, mainly aiming at protecting mural paintings from rain leakage. The previous surveys raised the issues to be resolved: the selection of appropriate restoration materials and methods considering aesthetic appearance of the monuments. Repeated discussion with the staff members of the Bagan Branch, Department of Archaeology and National Museums, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture of Myanmar, resulted in a meaningful exchange of ideas about concrete restoration methods. On the other hand, explained in detail by local experts, a study was conducted to get the information about the changes of techniques and iconography, related to mural paintings which are the principal subject of this project.
 During the field work on site, a series of significant damage was detected to the temple structure, caused by the earthquake measuring M6.8 that struck central Myanmar on August 24th, 2016. Consequently, the remedial intervention was taken on the damaged areas, partially rescheduling the first planning. In the Bagan Archaeological Site, obviously rain leakage is the crucial cause of deterioration of the brick temples and mural paintings which decorate their inside. Lashing belts were employed to reinforce the structure, along with nets and waterproof sheets to prevent collapses and water penetration, taking into account the approaching rainy season.
 The results of chemical analysis of various materials used during the construction period will provide the criteria for revising the restoration methods introduced in the past and for studying the compatibility between new and old materials. Also, a plan will be made with local experts for new restoration methods adapted to the current situation of the Bagan Archaeological Site.


Holding the seminar “Ancient Wooden Architecture in Mainland Southeast Asia: Reading the Features of Lost Buildings from Archaeological Evidence”

One of the lectures of the seminar

 The seminar “Ancient Wooden Architecture In Mainland Southeast Asia: Reading The Features Of Lost Buildings From Archaeological Evidence” was held on 13 February 2017. In this seminar, experts from
Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Japan made presentations on the developments on this field in each country, shared information and exchanged opinions.
 In their presentations, the lecturers explained the different efforts being carried out in each country in order to determine the features of already lost wooden buildings from the remaining archaeological evidence. In Myanmar, large postholes shaped as wells and surrounded by bricks have been unearthed at the Bagan Royal Palace site. In Thailand, foundation stones, unearthed roof tiles, and traces of wooden members remaining in masonry walls and pillars have been used as hints to deduce the features of the wooden posts, walls and roof structures that existed in the sites of Sukhothai and the Phitsanulok Royal Palace. In central Vietnam, foundation stones, ornamental eave-end tiles and burned wooden members have been excavated from several Lin Yi sites, and reconstruction proposals of wooden structures have been developed on the basis of postholes found at the Champa site of My Son. Regarding northern Vietnam, the features of the foundation works and unearthed roof tiles at the Thang Long Imperial Citadel site were introduced, and a comparative analysis between earthenware architectural models and existing ancient buildings was made.
 A question and answers session was held after each presentation, and at the end of the seminar a panel discussion with the participation of all the presenters was held, including the Japanese approach among the discussion topics.
 The results of the fruitful exchange of information carried out during this seminar will serve as a basis for future cooperative research efforts, directed at furthering the understanding of the wooden built heritage of Southeast Asia.


Workshop on the Conservation, Management and Enhancement Plan for Ta Nei Temple, Angkor

The workshop in progress

 For more than 15 years the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) has been collaborating with the Cambodian national authority for the protection and management of Angkor and the region of Siem Reap (APSARA) in various ways, including conducting joint research and personneltraining. Over this period of time, fieldworks have been conducted mostly at the Ta Nei Temple ruin of the Angkor onuments. The most recent workshop was held in Cambodia from January 26th to 28th, 2017 to support the creation of conservation, management and enhancement plan for the site.
 Joining the workshop were H. E. Mr. Ros Borath, Deputy Director General of APSARA, and other experts from the organization’s sections on the conservation of monuments, tourism, forestry and hydrology. A total of more than 20 staff members attended. On the first day, lectures were given at the APSARA head office addressing basic outlining and planning procedures for the conservation and management of archaeological sites. The second day was a site visit to Ta Nei and its vicinity to survey and confirm the current state of the area. On the third day, the participants returned indoors to discuss the basic direction for moving forward with planning and how to carry out the conservation and enhancement project after this.
 Ta Nei Temple is a major archaeological ruin within the core zone of the Angkor World Heritage Site that is constantly filled with tourists, but it still retains the striking atmosphere of a lost temple overgrown by jungle forest. A major outcome of the workshop discussions was the agreement on significant issues such as the determination to upkeep the temple, maintaining its present state so that people can safely tour the ruin, and to restore the original access route to the temple so that visitors can get a physical sense of the site’s relationship to nearby Angkor sites. There was also agreement that all the concerned sections would work together on steadily pursuing specific areas of endeavor, including archaeological excavations and other necessary surveys. This project is being positioned as a pilot model project for the maintenance of ruins conducted by Cambodian initiative, and TNRICP will continue to provide the necessary technical assistance to enable the work to be carried out properly and smoothly.


Workshops on Conservation and Restoration of Urushi Objects in Cologne, Germany

Practical training on making a material sample book
Practical training on Ryukyu decoration techniques

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation holds these workshops every yearas part of the project ‘International Courses’. Urushi objects are an important part of collections inmuseums around the world, and a certain amount of knowledge and techniques are required in their handling. These workshops contribute to better conservation and restoration of cultural properties by enhancing theunderstanding of materials and techniques used for urushi objects.
 Two advanced workshops, ‘Investigation, Storage and Exhibition Conditions of Urushi Objects’ from November 30th to December 3rd, and ‘Finishing and Decoration Techniques’ from December 6th to 10th, 2016, were held at the Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne. Both of the workshops had been renewed to cover more specialized contents, and the conservators attended the workshops from several countries around the world. The first workshop provided lectures on storage and exhibition conditions of urushi objects and a storage tour of the Museum of East Asian Art led by the Director of the museum. The practical training sessions covered investigation of the urushi objects which belong to the museum collection and allowed the participants to understand various materials such as wooden substrates, various types of urushi and ground layers by making a materials’ sample book. In the second workshop, a specialist in Ryukyu lacquerware from the Okinawa Prefectural University of Arts gave lectures about the history and the decoration techniques. In the practical training, the prevalent decoration techniques of Ryukyu lacquerware were presented. The participants also experienced roiro-age, which is one of the final step of urushi coating, to understand the finishing process of Japanese urushi objects.
 A series of workshops will be planned and continued to be held in the future, taking into account the opinions and wishes of the participants and the related staff members to contribute to the conservation and restoration of urushi objects.


Exchange of Views and Field Survey Regarding the Mural Painting Conservation and Management System in the Republic of Turkey

Meeting to exchange views and opinions 
On-site inspection of a mural painting

 From October 29th through November 14th, 2016, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation held a meeting to exchange views and opinions on the conservation of and management system for mural paintings and conducted an inspection tour in the Republic of Turkey. The meeting took place, targeting administrative officials in charge of conserving mural paintings in the country, conservation and restoration specialists, educators and university students, at three venues, namely, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Faculty of Art and Design, Gazi University in Ankara, and the Argos Hotel in Cappadocia. Through a presentation on a training program associated with the conservation and management of the mural paintings of cave churches of Cappadocia planned by the Center, we were able to identify participants’ needs firsthand and obtain valuable information that will be helpful in developing projects in the future.
 Meanwhile, the inspection tour covered cave churches scattered about the Goreme district in Cappadocia, cave churches in Ihlara Valley, Çatalhöyük, the Antalya Museum, St. Nicholas Church in Demre, and the ruins of Ephesus, under the cooperation of the Nevsehir Conservation and Restoration Center and the Conservation and Restoration Department, Faculty of Art and Design, Gazi University. This tour allowed us to deepen our understanding of the actual situation of maintaining and managing a wide variety of mural paintings in this nation. We will continue to conduct similar surveys, identifying points to be improved and new issues so as to translate them into new future projects.


Holding International Course “Paper Conservation in Latin America”

Demonstration of straining paste with a sieve

 From November 9th through 25th, 2016, the “Paper Conservation in Latin America” was held as a part of the LATAM program (conservation of cultural heritage in LatinAmerica and the Caribbean) run by the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) at the Coordinacion Nacional de Conservacion del Patrimonio Cultural (CNCPC) in Mexico City, which belongsto Mexico’s Ministry of Culture. The course drew a total of 11 specialists in restoration of cultural properties from 8 countries, that is, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.
 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) hosted the first part of the course (from 9th through 17th), which included lectures and a practical session conducted by TNRICP researchers and a restorer of a certificated organization holding “soko” (restoration technique based on traditional mounting) which is selected as Techniques for the Preservation of Cultural Properties by Japanese government. With the aim of applying Japanese restoration techniques to cultural properties overseas,
lectures were given on the protection system of cultural properties in Japan, and tools and materials used in restoration. In addition, a practical session was held to deepen participants’ understanding of culture and at the same time characteristics of restoration in Japan. The practical session was carried out with CNCPC staff members who learned “soko” for several months at TNRICP.
 In the latter half of the course (from 18th through 25th), specialists in restoration of cultural properties from Mexico, Spain and Argentina gave lectures. The main theme was application of traditional handmade Japanese paper to Western conservation and restoration techniques. As the conservation and restoration of paper cultural properties in Latin America has not yet reached those in Europe and the United States, they lectured on how to select materials and apply their techniques to Western paper. These lectures were followed by practical sessions. Specialists in charge of the lectures and practical sessions had previously participated in international courses organized by TNRICP, and we were able to reaffirm that technical exchange through these courses contributes to the protection of cultural properties overseas.


A Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of the Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal” (Part 4) “Conference on Conservation of Historical Settlements in the Kathmandu Basin”

 Under the above-mentioned assistance project, as part of the “Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project” commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we continue to send a mission to the local site in Nepal. This time (November 20th through December 6th, 2016), we dispatched a total of 16 people, including outside experts and students of the University of Tokyo, Kagawa University, and Tokyo Metropolitan University.
 The local field survey under this mission covered an extensive range of topics from architectural history to structural study to urban planning, and in this issue, we report on the “Conference on Conservation of Historical Settlements in the Kathmandu Basin” held on November 30th,2016, among others.
 Many of the historical settlements scattered about the Kathmandu Basin were struck by the Gorkha Earthquake that hit the area in April 2015, and restoration efforts have faced a number of hardships to date. One of them is the fact that the system to preserve historical settlements as cultural heritage is not fully in place and the situation is not necessarily moving in the direction of maintaining and making use of their cultural value. Against this background, Nepalese government authorities, including the Reconstruction Agency and the Department of Archaeology, are working on establishing a system for preserving historical settlements. However, in order to achieve such conservation, while the role to be performed by the local administration that has jurisdiction over them is significant, it has been revealed that owing to shortfalls in budget or personnel, authorities are unable to formulate effective policies.
 We thus offered overtures to six cities, that is, four cities that hold jurisdiction over the historical settlements in the Kathmandu Basin and are included in the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list and Bhaktapur and Lalitpur, two of which have historical towns that are already registered as World Heritage sites, and organized a conference to share the present state of a wide variety of efforts and initiatives and issues and to provide information on the Japanese system for conserving historical streetscapes.
 Animated discussions were held on, for example, the necessity of collaboration between the central and local governments and local residents in addressing the issues. Those in charge who participated from each city strongly approved the purpose of this conference and agreed that they would continue to cooperate into the future. We are pleased that this conference helped establish a major foothold for mutually cooperative relations and hope to continue extending effective support.


Survey on Quake Damage in the Ruins of Bagan, Myanmar

 On August 24th, 2016, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake with its epicenter in the central part of Myanmar struck; as a consequence, the ruins of Bagan, one of the representative cultural assets of the nation, suffered serious damage. The group of ruins in the region includes more than 3,000 brick Buddhist stupas and small temples built mainly in the 11th to 13th centuries. According to the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library, Myanmar Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture, 389 of these sites were discovered to have been damaged (as of the end of October 2016).
 Following the dispatch of an advance inspection team in September,2016, the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) was commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs to oversee a project to provide emergency aid and sent a party of eight specialists (on conserving cultural assets, repairing buildings, structure of buildings, and surveying) to the sites with the aim of identifying the actual state of quake damage to valuable cultural properties, from October 26th through November 10th, 2016. They conducted surveys from four standpoints, namely, the situation of damaged historical buildings, the structural analysis of damaged buildings, the situation of emergency protective measures, and the analysis of records of damage.
 The ruins of Bagan sustained quake damage in 1975 as well, and a large number of structures had been restored or rebuilt thereafter. As a result of the current inspections, however, it was discovered that much of the damage from this earthquake was concentrated on the newly reconstructed parts or the boundaries between the newly repaired parts and old parts, such as a tower of the upper part of a building. Moreover, deformation or cracks existing in vaults, walls or podiums owing to age are believed to have been aggravated by the earthquake. Meanwhile, thanks in part to prompt actions by local residents and volunteers under the leadership of local authorities, emergency protective measures appear to have been taken in an expeditious manner.
 With an eye toward subsequent restoration, we must identify the cause and mechanisms of damage by not only conducting further inspection but also discussing the technical and philosophical issues that are common to the conservation of brick architectural heritages in earthquake-prone regions, such as how to reinforce a structure, melding of traditional techniques and modern counterparts, and the validity of reconstructing damaged parts.


Symposium on “The Syrian Civil War and Cultural Heritage – The Actual State of the World Heritage Site at Palmyra and International Support for Its Reconstruction”

Artifacts in the Palmyra Museum destroyed by IS (photograph donated by Dr. Robert Zukowski)

 In the Middle Eastern country of Syria, a massive civil uprising calling for democratization occurred in March 2011 and developed into a civil war that has already lasted five years. Casualties in the nation have topped 250 thousand while more than 4.8 million citizens have fled the country as refugees.
 Because of this state of civil warfare in Syria, valuable cultural assets have suffered damage as well, which has been reported as major news stories internationally. Of particular note is that reports of damage wrought on Palmyra by Islamic State (IS) militants from August 2015 through October last year made headlines and drew public attention also in Japan.
 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) cohosted the symposium titled “The Syrian Civil War and Cultural Heritage – The Actual State of the World Heritage Site at Palmyra and International Support for Its Reconstruction” with the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, and the Cultural Heritage Protection Cooperation Office, Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO at the Tokyo National Museum and Todaiji Temple’s Kinsho Hall on November 20th and 23rd, 2016, respectively.
 The ruins of Palmyra had been controlled by the IS since May 2015 and they were recaptured by the Syrian government forces in March 2016. Polish and Syrian researchers conducted field surveys at the site in April. They recorded the state of damage wrought on the ruins in the region and the Palmyra Museum, and provided preliminary aid to damaged artifacts of the museum and transported them to Damascus promptly.
 At this symposium, Polish and Syrian researchers who witnessed the graphic situation at the site, experts from both home and abroad, and UNESCO staff got together and discussed what type of support would be effective with a view to reconstructing damaged cultural heritages in Syria, including the devastated ruins of Palmyra.


Investigation in Armenia and Iran, Our Partner Countries

Dyed and Woven Fabric Works Stored at the Etchmiadzin Cathedral Museum

 From September 26th through October 6th, 2016, we visited the Republic of Armenia and the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to grasp the need for cooperation in cultural heritage protection.
 Regarding Armenia, the first visiting country in this time, the cooperation agreement has already concluded with the Ministry of Culture in Armenia. We jointly conducted investigation/research and conservation/restoration activities for archaeological metal materials with the History Museum of Armenia as our counterpart from 2011 through 2014. During this visit, we visited the Ministry of Culture, the History Museum of Armenia, the Etchmiadzin Cathedral Museum and others again to consult about the development of future projects. We are planning to cooperate with Armenia in technological transfer in the conservation/restoration area for dyed and woven fabric works.
 Then in Iran, we mainly visited the Iran Cultural Heritage Handicraft and Tourism Organization, the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage & Tourism, and the National Museum of Iran. Air pollution issues were often referred to during the discussions with Iranin experts. At present, air pollution is a seirous social problem in the capital, Teheran. During the consulattion, they pointed out the possibility that this serious air pollution might affect items exhibitied or stored at musums. We are considering joint research on such issues for improvement of exhibition and storage envrionemnts in Iran.


Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal” (Part 3)

Presentation at the Session to Report Our Investigation Outcomes
Residents of Khokana Expressing Their Opinions

 Under the above-mentioned support project through the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we continued to dispatch staff to the site in Nepal. This time (August 31st through September 11th, 2016), we sent four members including outside experts.
As part of this project, we conducted investigation activities at the village of Khokana, which is on the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites, so as to examine how to rehabilitate damaged historical villages. In Khokana, many residents are forced to live in temporary housing. How to balance early reconstruction with the conservation of historical streetscapes is a challenge in rehabilitation.
 As one of the main activities in this dispatch, we organized a debriefing session for local residents to explain the outcome of our last year’s investigation. The session was attended by more than 100 residents with greater interest, who asked questions and expressed their opinions after the presentation. They were highly suggestive for us in considering how we should conduct a further investigation or make contributions to them.
 Our investigation revealed that not only Khokana but the whole country lacks sufficient systems to preserve historical villages, which results in preventing the passion of citizens from promoting the conservation of their streetscapes. Japan, which had not conserved historical villages thoroughly in the past, established its legal system through a process of trial and error for the protection of historical villages and landscapes, including the system for the Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings. Referring to this experience in Japan, we will continue to provide technical support for local institutions to contribute to the conservation of historical villages in Nepal.


Investigation of Damaged Murals in Bagan (Myanmar) after the Earthquake

Devastated Temple
Mural Pieces Scattering over the Ground

On August 24th, 2016, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake, the epicenter of which was located in Chauk, Central Myanmar, occurred. Many pagoda temples of the Bagan Archaeological Zone also suffered from the earthquake. From September 24th through 30th, 2016, we investigated the murals conserved in that Zone for confirmation.
 Together with the staff from the Bagan Branch of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library, the Ministry of Culture, we conducted an on-site investigation to check the extent of the damage to the murals mainly at the temples in which serious damage had been reported in advance. As a result, we found that cracks on the brick temples supporting the murals and the movements of the brick pieces led to plaster damage, and the damage levels differed according to the various mural production techniques and materials used in the Pagan Dynasty. In addition, we revealed that some of the materials used in the past restoration were not suitable for the murals in Bagan, even going so far as being detrimental to them.
 In the Bagan Archaeological Zone, the rehabilitation activities to protect its old temples are still proceeding. Me-Taw-Ya Temple (No. 1205), for which we are considering emergency measures and conservation/restoration methods for its external walls as our project, was also damaged. We will work on further activities while paying attention to the restoration materials to be introduced with a focus on the negative factors unveiled by the earthquake, establishment of emergency measures, and development of experts involved in these processes.


Holding International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper 2016

Demonstration of lining in a practical session

 International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper took place from August 29th through September16th, 2016. This course has been held jointly by the Tokyo National Research Institute for CulturalProperties (TNRICP) and theInternationalCentrefor theStudy of thePreservation and Restoration ofCultural Property (ICCROM) since 1992. The course aims to disseminate techniques and knowledge on the preservation and restoration of cultural properties made of paper in Japan so as to contribute to the protection of cultural properties overseas. In 2016, among 64 applicants from 36 countries, we invited 10 specialists in conservation, each of them from Lithuania, Poland, Croatia, Iceland, South Korea, New Zealand, Egypt, Spain, Belgium and Bhutan.
 The course consists of lectures, practical sessions and a field study. The lectures covered the overview of the protection of cultural properties in Japan, the protection system for intangible cultural properties in Japan, restoration materials and their basic science, and the tools for restoration. The practical sessions were comprised of mainly restoring a paper object and mounting it to a handscroll, and were conducted by restorers from a certificated organization holding “soko” (restoration technique based on traditional mounting) which is selected as Techniques for the Preservation of Cultural Properties by Japanese government. In addition, the participants learned Japanese-style book binding, and handling a folding screen and a hanging scroll. As the field study, the participants went to Nagoya, Mino and Kyoto cities to visit producers of handmade Japanese paper, the stores selling restoration materials and tools, historical buildings decorated with cultural properties such as wall paintings and hanging scrolls, a traditional restoration studio, and so forth. On the last day, the participants exchanged opinions on how Japanese paper is used and issues in each country. We expect the participants to gain a deeper understanding of not only Japanese restoration materials and tools, but also related knowledge and skills through this course so as to apply them to restoration of their cultural heritage.


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

Lecture on handling a hanging scroll in Basic course
Practical work on restoration of a hanging scroll in Advanced course

 This workshop is held annually for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese art objects such as calligraphic works and paintings overseas and developing understanding of these objects. In this year, it was conducted that Basic course “Japanese Paper and Silk Cultural Properties” from July 6th to 8th, 2016 and Advanced course “Restoration of Japanese Hanging Scrolls” from July 11th to 15th at the Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin (Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) with the support of Museum of Technology (Deutsches Technikmuseum).
 In Basic course, there were 15 restorers, conservators and students from nine countries. This course includes lectures on the materials used for the art objects, such as paste, animal glue, mineral pigments and paper. Practical works on producing a calligraphic work and a painting, and handling hanging scrolls were also conducted. In Advanced course, nine restorers were attended from seven countries. This course is comprised mainly practical works about “soko” (restoration technique based on traditional mounting) which is selected as Techniques for the Preservation of Cultural Properties by Japanese government. The practical works such as removing and attaching the rods of a hanging scroll, and demonstrations by the instructors like lining presented knowledge and techniques of restoring hanging scrolls. Discussions were held in both courses. In addition to a question and answer session, opinions about restoration and applications of Japanese techniques and materials were exchanged.
 Similar projects will be implemented with the aim of contribution of the preservation and utilization of Japan’s tangible and intangible cultural properties overseas by sharing information about conservation materials and techniques in Japan with conservators overseas.


A mission for the Project “Technical assistance for the protection of the damaged cultural heritage in Nepal” (Part 2)

Working with local experts at the site

 As part of the above-mentioned support project through the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have continued to dispatch staff to the site in Nepal.
 In view of its state of damage, it was determined that it is necessary to quickly provide a temporary support to Aganchen Temple (built in the middle of the 17th century), the main target of examination at the Hanuman Dhoka Palace in Kathmandu. Specifically, in terms of “countermeasures against leakage of rain at the top of the roof,” “ infilling temporary structure inside the building,” “providing support of collapsing outer walls” and “securing safety for prayers and tourists against falling objects,” Japanese experts of the project team drew up plans with the help of local experts and submitted the proposed plans to the Department of Archaeology. On the basis of these plans, emergency stabilization work was implemented. To supervise the details of design and provide technical advice, we dispatched experts from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (NRICPT) in three batches, that is, May 28th to June 4th, June 13th to 19th and July 3rd to 9th, 2016.
 This time around, we only provided temporary measures for this project. However, while exchanging views and opinions with local experts and artisans on a face-to-face basis, we could believe that the work was significant in terms of not only tangible contribution but also technology transfer to the site, which is also another objective of this project. We will continue to conduct research in an attempt for further restoration the historic heritage.


Investigation of Outer Walls of Brick-built Archaeological Sites to Implement Countermeasures against Leakage of Rain and Review of Emergency Measures in Bagan, Myanmar

Appearance of the Mae-taw-yat temple
An experiment on filling using hydraulic lime

 From July 18th to 29th, 2016, we carried out investigations of damage to outer walls of a brick-built temple as well as conducted review and experiments of restoration materials at the Mae-taw-yat temple (No. 1205) within the Bagan Archaeological Zone. These investigations and experiments were implemented on the basis of the outcome of the survey that verified the state of conservation of the mural paintings on the internal walls of the temple, which had been completed in the previous fiscal year and revealed that the main cause of exfoliation and chipping of the plaster layer is leakage of rain.
 A European expert on brick material conservation and restoration participated in this on-site work. With staff members of the Myanmar Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs and the Bagan Branch of the Department of Archeology, National Museum and Library, we verified the characteristics of burnt bricks manufactured during the Pagan Dynasty from a wide variety of angles. On the basis of the findings and considering Myanmar’s tropical rainforest climate, we selected materials suitable for restoration and conducted their tests as emergency measures for preventing leakage of rain. In consideration of the appearance at the archeological sites, we will continue to improve materials through monitoring the condition over time,. Furthermore, we performed multipoint measurements using a digital moisture meter to identify the distribution of moisture in the internal walls of the temple, and also took a video using a digital 4K camcorder to record the state of the external walls prior to the implementation of emergency measures.
 In this project, we aim not only to take temporary measures but also to establish a permanent method of addressing the problem. In anticipation of Bagan’s future, we will study reasonable ways that fit the current situation surrounding the protection of cultural properties in Myanmar and also work on capacity building of budding experts.


Research on the Conservation and Management System of Wall Paintings in the Republic of Turkey

Meeting at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey
Inspection of wall paintings in a church in Ihlara Valley

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted a field survey from June 18th to 24th to understand the conservation and management system of wall paintings in the Republic of Turkey. In Ankara, we visited the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties, Faculty of Fine Arts, Gazi University, which has restored many wall paintings in the country, and listened to an explanation of methods of conservation and restoration that were actually used in each project. We then had a meeting with the officials including the deputy director of the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Museums at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and agreed on the development of a cooperative system with the Center to further enhance maintenance and management of wall paintings in Turkey. In a courtesy visit to Hiroshi Oka, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Japan to Turkey, we discussed topics such as the latest security situation and cultural policy in the country based on recent world affairs.
 As an inspection, we visited Kaman-Kalehöyük Archaeological Museum established with ODA from Japan, with guidance by Sachihiro Omura, Director of the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology, and studied the conservation state of the wall paintings in churches scattered across the Göreme district in Cappadocia and Ihlara Valley.
 We will continue to inspect the wall paintings in various locations in Turkey. At the same time, we are planning activities to educate conservation and restoration specialists in wall paintings and conservation and management workers who will lead operations in the future while learning about current maintenance and management of wall paintings in Turkey as well as finding room to improve and challenges to undertake.


A Mission for the project “Technical assistance for the protection of the damaged cultural heritage in Nepal”

The presentation on the survey result at DoA
A survey on the salvaged members from Shiva Temple

 NRICPT has conducted a survey and assistance to protect the damaged cultural heritage by the Nepal Gorkha earthquake in 2015 since last fiscal year. This year, NRICPT was entrusted by the Agency for Cultural Affairs to conduct the programme “Networking Core Centres for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage” (Technical assistance for the protection of the damaged cultural heritage in Nepal) and dispatched personnel to the sites from April 28 to May 8.
 In this mission, we handed printed reports on the survey result conducted last fiscal year to the director general of the Department of Archeology (DoA) and made a presentation at the DoA office to around 30 members of the technical staff in Nepal and the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu. The Participants showed high expectation of our future technical assistance through asking questions actively after the meeting.
 Meanwhile, as a main survey, we conducted survey on identification of the original location and numbering of salvaged members from Shiva Temple, which collapsed by the earthquake in Hanumandhoka palace in Kathmandu. In addition, we implemented photo documentation of each member. Through this research on the members, we revealed that the temple underwent restoration over three times at least. In Nepal where there is scarce record on the past restoration work, we expect the data gained from these members to serve as valuable information for the future reconstruction planning.
 We will continue to conduct surveys on the traditional building construction methods, structure, urban design and intangible cultural heritage with the participation of external experts from various fields. While carrying out these local activities with Nepalese people, we are hoping to be able to transfer a wide array of technologies to them.
 For your information, the abovementioned report is available at the Institute’s website. Please, find the details at the following:
http://www.tobunken.go.jp/japanese/publication/pdf/Nepal_NRICPT_2016_ENG_s.pdf


to page top