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


Exhibition at the entrance lobby; Selected Conservation Techniques -techniques to conserve cultural properties using Urushi (lacquer)

Exhibition at the Lobby
Process for producing Urushi Kanna

 The entrance lobby of the Institute on the 1st floor is used to introduce the results of research and projects. This time, the survey by the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation is being publicized. The Center has conducted a survey on the Selected Conservation Techniques since 2014, in order to gather the information on each technique, its process, and the present problems. As a result of the survey, a calendar and a survey report have been published to share the information with the related organizations. This exhibition focuses on the Selected Conservation Techniques related to Urushi. Urushi trees used to be grown throughout Japan. However, as the amount of Urushi imported from overseas increased, the low price foreign Urushi spread out in Japan and today, the domestic Urushi accounts for only a few percent among all the Urushi distributed in Japan. In addition, since the whole Urushi industry declined due to the change of lives, the conservation and restoration of cultural properties using Urushi are facing a serious crisis. Makie, a decorative technique of Urushi, is an artifact that represents Japan, and there are a large number of Urushi objects kept in museums both within and outside Japan. We believe it is the duty of the Japanese to inherit the conservation and restoration techniques relating to Urushi. Today, several techniques related to Urushi are selected as the Selected Conservation Techniques by the Government; the technique to make the tools for tapping, the technique to tap the sap, the technique to refine the sap, the technique to make the filtrating paper and the technique to make the brushes for coating and Makie. The bearer or conservation body of each Technique is recognized under the Law. Every technique is highly specialized that needs to be surveyed and documented to disseminate information as well as to recognize the present issue on passing down these techniques. We hope this exhibition promotes the understanding of the techniques, materials and tools for the production and conservation of Urushi.


Investigation of Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal

Aganchen Temple of Hanumandhoka palace, Kathmandu
Sorting/storage work of architectural members collected from the collapsed Shiva Temple

 A team of experts was dispatched to Nepal on a further four occasions up to March 2016 for the Investigation of Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal, which was introduced in the last issue and was conducted under the Project for International Contribution to Cultural Heritage Protection, which was commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan. The experts engaged mainly in the following activities.
Survey on Building Damage
 The experts checked the state of damage to traditional buildings centering on Dubar Square, which is part of the World Heritage site of Kathmandu Valley. Aganchen Temple (partially damaged) and the Shiva Temple (totally collapsed), both located inside Hanumandhoka Palace, were selected as the target of detailed surveys.
Survey on Traditional Building Techniques
 Among others, a survey was conducted on the distinctive traditional building techniques of the Newar culture, including building elements that had been revealed for the first time by the damage, such as the timber pillars concealed inside brick walls. Regarding Aganchen Temple in particular, the experts conducted measurement surveys, checked the state of damage in detail, and studied past alterations in order to assess the present situation and assist the restoration.
Building Structure Survey
 The experts conducted surveys mainly on two multi-tiered tower-style temples in the square, including measurements using a 3D laser scanner, a detailed investigation of the state of damage, and measurement of their vibration characteristics. Using a model compiled on the basis of the results, they carried out a structural analysis and examined the damage mechanism and other issues.

Emergency Protection Work
The team of experts sorted, stored, and documented architectural members retrieved from the collapsed building of the Shiva Temple and offered advice on work methods to personnel of Nepal’s Department of Archeology and other organizations. All of the components were arranged by type and stored in temporary shelters, and a survey was conducted on the state of damage to each part as well as on past modification of the building.

Survey on Historical Settlement
 The experts also visited the village of Khokana, which has an old townscape and is registered on the World Heritage Tentative List, investigating the state of damage, the transformation of housing up to the present, and the village’s intangible heritage value such as those of various cultural spaces. Here they carried out the survey in collaboration and cooperation with a local residents’ organization that is making strenuous effort both to reconstruct lives as quickly as possible and preserve the historical townscape.
 Meanwhile, three Nepalese engaged in the preservation of cultural heritage in the Nepalese government and the UNESCO office in Nepal were invited to Japan in February 2016 for the seminar on Cultural Heritage Damaged by the 2015 Nepal Gorkha Earthquake, which was held at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo on February 5th. At the seminar, the three Nepalese invitees gave presentations on the situation after the earthquake, restoration measures, and other issues, and then the Japanese experts participating in the project gave interim reports on survey results in their respective special fields. As difficult conditions continued to prevail in Nepal, the two sides were able to share the latest information and, through discussions, exchange opinions on how to respond to damaged cultural heritage and so on.
 Through such cooperation, we hope to continue providing appropriate assistance to Nepal’s efforts to restore damaged cultural heritage and transferring Japanese technology, such as survey methods for the repair of cultural properties.


Seminar on the Cultural Heritage Damaged by the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake with Invited Nepali Experts

Scene from the seminar
At the conservation site of Rinno-ji Temple in Nikko

 A seminar titled ‘Seminar on the Cultural Heritage Damaged by the 2015 Nepal (Gorkha )Earthquake’ was held on 5 February 2016 at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, to encourage information sharing between Nepal and Japan regarding the Gorkha Earthquake on 25 April 2015—the state of cultural heritage, activities performed to date, and future initiatives.
 This seminar was held as a part of the “Project for investigation of damage situation of cultural heritage in Nepal” in the frame of the Project for International Contribution to Cultural Heritage Protection (Expert exchange), which was entrusted to the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Three guests were invited to the seminar: As representatives of the cultural heritage protection agencies of Nepal, the Director General of the DoA-Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (Bhesh Narayan Dahal); the Executive Director of HDMDC (Saraswati Singh) and the Culture Project Coordinator of the UNESCO-Kathmandu Office (Nabha Basnyat Thapa) were invited to attend. The seminar included presentations on post-earthquake conditions and recovery efforts by the Nepalese representatives and individual survey results by the Japanese project participants. While on-site conditions were still difficult, it was possible to exchange information and points of view through discussions regarding cultural heritage preservation measures.
 On the following day, seminar participants visited the repaired Sanbutsudo Hall of Rin’oji Temple and Yomeimon Gate in Nikko to provide the Nepalese representatives with a deeper understanding of historic building conservation techniques in Japan. They showed special interest in the conservation and repair of wooden members attacked by insects—a common issue in Nepal’s cultural heritage. Through explanations provided by experts in charge of the repair work and other participating Japanese experts, seminar participants were able to discuss, question and exchange opinions.
 We would like to further provide appropriate technical assistance through conducting continual survey in order to contribute to activities for rehabilitation of earthquake-damaged cultural heritages in Nepal.


A Survey of Japanese Paintings in the Indianapolis Museum of Art

A Survey at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

 A number of Japanese artworks can be found in European and American collections overseas. However, there are few conservators of these artworks overseas, and many of these works 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 8th to 10th, 2016, EMURA Tomoko and ODA Momoko of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation visited and surveyed Japanese paintings in the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Ms. YAMAMOTO Noriko, Executive Director of the Association for Conservation of National Treasures, participated in this survey. The Indianapolis Museum of Art, established in 1883, is one of the largest museums in the United States and has over 54000 artworks from all over the world. Together with the curator of Asian Art, Dr. John Tadao Teramoto, and the senior conservator of paper, Ms. Claire L. Hoevel, we conducted our survey of 7 works of Japanese painting (11 objects total) that have some condition problems. The information gleaned from this survey will be shared with the staff of the museum so that these works can be conserved and managed. The artworks will be assessed in terms of art history, and based on the results of the survey, works in need of urgent conservation will be identified and candidates will be selected for conservation under the cooperative program.


Survey and Training on Conservation of Mural Paintings at the ruins of a Brick-Built in Bagan (Myanmar)

Survey of conditions of roof damage at the brick-built ruin

 During a period from January 7th to January 18th at the Bagan Ruins in Myanmar, we conducted training on preservation/restoration of murals and temporary conservation work associated with the falling mural at No.1205 Temple within the Bagan Ruins. This was the last survey/training that was performed under the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project that had been entrusted by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan.
 The training programs consisted of lectures on the mural pigment analysis with X-ray fluorescence analyzer, photographing the exteriors of the Temples using a UAV (Drone), and the 3D model production technique (SfM, Structure from Motion) using the pictures obtained, as well as the discussions held at the mural conservation work site. The training was attended by 4 expert staff members of the Department of Archaeology and National Museum, Bagan Branch and Mandalay Branch who were engaged in preservation and conservation of mural paintings and architecture. The attendees commented that they would like to use what they learned in the training also in other conservation projects and we also expect such future utilization. At one conservation work site where the survey team visited, the team saw that the particular method to adjust conservation materials that had been instructed in the past training was then in use and thus realized a favorable effect of the training. Further, with regard to the falling of the mural paintings at No.1205 Temple, all the temporary conservation works that had continued since 2014 were completed. Through the survey under this project, it was confirmed that roof leakage was one of the main factors that caused damages to mural paintings and the importance of taking appropriate measures against it was re-recognized. It is expected that the results of the survey and training under this project will continue to be utilized in mural paintings conservation in Bagan.


International Symposium “Cultural Heritage and Conflict: Protection and Rehabilitation of Cultural Heritage in Conflict and Post-conflict”

Dr. H. O. Al-Mamori (General Director, Division of the Investigations and Excavations, the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, Ministry of Culture of Iraq) speaking on the recent state of destroyed ruins in Iraq

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been making efforts to protect cultural heritage in danger under conflict or in post-conflict situations, including the activity for protecting the Bamyan ruins in Afghanistan. In recent years, there has been a lot of media coverage about destruction of cultural heritage in the countries under a civil war such as Syria and Iraq. In response to such situations, following the symposiums “Rebuilding in Syria and the Cultural Heritage” held in October 2013 and “Towards Safeguarding of the Syrian Cultural Heritage” held in June 2014, the international symposium titled “Cultural Heritage and Conflict: Protection and Rehabilitation of Cultural Heritage in Conflict and Post-conflict” was held at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo on January 24th, 2016.
 This symposium welcomed experts who were working at protection of cultural heritage in Afghanistan and Iraq. They spoke to us on the cultural heritage protection activities implemented in their countries thus far, critical situations that they now face, and the international support required now and in the future. The activities to protect cultural heritage that have been conducted in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq by Japanese experts were also introduced.
 The symposium was attended by more than 100 participants and the contents of the presentations were reported by various mass media, reflecting a high interest among people in protecting cultural heritage under the conflict. The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation intends to continue its international contribution through various matters related to cultural heritage.


Investigation of Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal (2)

Survey on the extent of cultural heritage damage at Aganchen Temple, Hanumandhoka in Kathmandu
Workshop on management and documentation of timber members salvaged from a collapsed temple
Survey of disaster damage condition in Khokana

 A field survey was conducted in Nepal from 21 November to 8 December as a part of the “Japan’s International Contribution to Protection of Cultural Heritage” program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan. Based on results of the briefing survey that had been conducted in September on the disaster-affected cultural heritages in Kathmandu Valley of World Heritage, the survey this time conducted Kathmandu Durbar Square of World Heritage Site and Khokana Village that was listed on the Tentative List of World Heritage for its remaining historical townscape.
 In the Kathmandu Durbar Square, Traditional techniques of historic buildings team carried out a “survey on the extent of cultural heritage damage” and Structural engineer team carried out “3D measurement” and “micro-tremor measurement.” Further, as a part of emergency preservation measures, with regard to appropriate management and documentation of timber members salvaged from collapsed temples,. a workshop on the classification, recordkeeping, and storage methodology was conducted with local experts to transfer this technical knowledge.
 In Khokana, on the other hand, This comprehensive, in-depth survey considered the settlement space from a cultural perspective, the extent of cultural heritage damage, the historical development of urban typologies, structural impacts, including micro-tremor measurements, intangible heritage impacts, and water quality. In the case of a historical settlement that has been disaster stricken, people who are disaster victims tend to consider that “speedy reconstruction of their houses” and “inheritance of historical townscape” are two contradictory issues. In order to address this difficult challenge and contribute to developing the reconstruction plans, the survey was conducted by accurately gathering information from the perspective of cultural heritage in cooperation with Khokana Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Committee, an organization consisting of local residents who were highly-motivated to inherit their history.
We are planning to continue the survey and to feed back the fruit to the local stakeholders in a speedy manner.


Production of 2016 calendar: Traditional Japanese Technique to Conserve Cultural Properties

2016 desk calendar (Front page)
2016 wall calendar (January page “Metal ornaments”)

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been carrying out surveys of the selected preservation techniques that are indispensable for preservation of cultural properties. In this endeavor, a hearing survey on working processes, situation surrounding the work, and work-related social environment has been conducted targeting possessors and possessing groups of the selected preservation techniques and also photographing/recording of actual work sites and tools used for the work have been promoted. As a part of efforts to disclose the result of and disseminate information about this survey, the 2016 calendar for overseas was produced (available in two types: desk calendar and wall calendar). This calendar is titled “Traditional Japanese Technique to Conserve Cultural Properties,” in which, based on the surveys that were carried out in FY2014 and FY2015, the following production techniques were introduced; metal ornaments, Tatara Iron Works, Japanese swords, ridge-end tiles, cypress bark roofs, handmade ramie threads, original yarns for Japanese musical instrument, Showa Village Karamushi-ori (ramie weaving), bark of hemp stalks, lacquer-tapping tools, Assam indigo, and shuttles for weaving. All the pictures were taken by Seiji SHIRONO who is a specialist staff member of the Institute’s Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems. In the pictures, the right moment to clearly show the characteristics of the material and technique has been captured, producing optimal optical effects. The explanatory texts are written both in English and in Japanese. Copies of the calendar are delivered to foreign government ministries/agencies concerned with cultural properties in hopes to further deepen understanding among overseas people of Japanese culture and techniques to conserve cultural properties.


International Course 2015 on Conservation of Paper in Latin America

Demonstration of lining with Japanese paper at practical session

 From November 4 to 20, 2015, the International Course on Conservation of Paper in Latin America was conducted as part of the LATAM program of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). The course was jointly organized by NRICPT, ICCROM, and Mexico’s Coordinación Nacional de Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (CNCPC-INAH). It was held at CNCPC-INAH and this year was the fourth time.
 There were 9 participants who are experts of conservation for cultural properties and hailed from 8 countries of Portugal, Belize, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela. The first half of the course was conducted by NRICPT. It was aimed to apply the paper conservation techniques of Japan to cultural properties overseas. Providing the lectures on the protection on cultural properties in Japan as well as the materials such as Japanese paper and adhesive, basic knowledge of the traditional mounting and restoration techniques, the practical session was implemented. The practical session was supported by the staff member of CNCPC-INAH, who had learned the traditional mounting and restoration techniques at NPICPT for several months as part of the program. Following the demonstration by the Japanese instructor, the participants experienced the basic of the traditional mounting and restoration techniques, such as cooking paste, cleaning, infill, lining and drying with karibari. In the last half of the course, the experts of conservation of cultural properties in Mexico, Spain and Argentina conducted lectures on the application of Japanese paper to the conservation in the west and so forth. Through such technical exchange, the plans are to conduct similar training sessions in the future as well in order to deepen understanding of the conservation techniques of Japan and contribute to protection of the cultural properties overseas.


Seminar: “Technical Issues and Prospects on the Preservation of Historical Sites in Southeast Asia”

General Discussion

Inviting experts involved in the preservation and restoration of archeological and architectural heritage from five countries in Southeast Asia, the above seminar was held at our seminar room on November 13. After the experts presented their diverse technical challenges over the preservation of historical monuments or sites s in their countries, we exchanged opinions on the possibilities of new collaboration. Indonesia and Thailand, which have many practical cases on the maintenance of monuments and sites , and Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar, which have been introducing new technologies particularly in recent years, presented their concrete cases. This was a good opportunity for us to get a wide overview of the current state of protecting cultural properties in historical sites and monuments, museums, and so forth.
 We invited Mr. Hubertus Sadirin (Advisory Expert Board on Cultural Property for the Governor of Local Government of DKI ) from Indonesia, Mr. Vasu Poshyanandana (Senior Architect of the Office of Architecture, Fine Arts Department, Ministry of Culture and Secretary-General of ICOMOS Thailand) from Thailand, Mr. An Sopheap (Head of Office of Archeology, Department of Conservation of Monuments inside Angkor Park and Archaeology Preventive, APSARA National Authority) from Cambodia, Ms. Le Thi Lien (Senior Researcher of the Institute of Archaeology of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences) from Vietnam, and Mr. Thein Lwin (Deputy Director General of Department of Archaeology and National Museum, Ministry of Culture) from Myanmar.
 At the comprehensive discussion, active dialogue was undertaken over how to preserve unearthed remnants of ancient buildings, consistency between new and old materials used for restoration, quake-resistant measures for structures, balance between tangible and intangible values in conservation, issues on management systems and HR, etc. These tropical or semitropical countries have many similarities not only in their climatic environments, but also in challenges on factors of and countermeasures to material deterioration. This meeting worked as a good opportunity for them to reconfirm the continual information sharing and cooperation toward the further collaboration within and outside the region. Communicating with these countries closely, we would like to clarify their support needs and consider more effective approaches for cooperation.


The 29th General Assembly of ICCROM

FAO Used as the Venue
Deliberations

 Representative from the Institute attended the 29th General Assembly of ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) held in Rome, Italy from November 18 through 20, 2015. ICCROM is an intergovernmental organization, the headquarters of which was established in Rome in 1959 following the resolution at the 9th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in 1956. Known as an advisory body to the World Heritage Committee, ICCROM has been working on the conservation of various movable or immovable cultural properties. Our Institute has been contributing to its activities particularly through training on the preservation and restoration of cultural properties using paper and Japanese lacquer.
 The General Assembly of ICCROM takes place every two years. As usual, new members of the Council were elected since almost half of its members’ term of office had expired. As a result, Mr. Wataru Kawanobe of our Institute was reelected as its member. New Council members were elected from Ireland, Argentina, Iran, the Netherlands, Canada, Korea, Tunisia, Norway and Jordan, while the members of UAE and France were reelected.
 From this General Assembly in 2015, a thematic discussion was held and disaster measures and reconstruction cases were introduced from the member states under the theme of “Climate Change and Natural Disasters: Culture cannot wait!” During the course, the adoption of the “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” and “Sendai Declaration” at the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai in March of 2015 was also addressed with a focus. We really felt the great expectations of the member states toward Japan in these areas.
 The Institute will proactively join these international meetings in order to collect global trends on the protection of cultural properties, as well as to transmit Japanese activities widely.


Project to Support the World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination of the Silk Road: Training Workshop in the Kyrgyz Republic

Trainee operating a small UAV

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been involved in the “Support for documentation standards and procedures of the Silk Roads World Heritage serial and transnational nomination in Central Asia” promoted by the UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust since 2011. To support the collective listing of the Silk Road related assets expected by the five countries in Central Asia, this project is jointly implemented by research institutes in Japan and the UK.
 After “the Chang’an-Tian-shan Silk Road Corridor” nominated jointly by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz and China was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2014, another application made jointly by Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and one more by Turkmenistan alone are expected as well. However, there is still an issue to be settled: establishment of a sustainable management system for cultural properties under close cooperation among the five countries. Therefore, UNESCO has decided to continue to provide support by implementing Phase 2 of this project from 2014 to 2017.
 From October 2 through 10, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation in charge of Kyrgyz organized a workshop to improve the documentation technique for cultural properties focusing on archaeological and architectural remains, as well as to prepare management plans for the heritage, in Uzgen, the southern part of Kyrgyz. First, we gave lectures on techniques to prepare distribution maps of ruins by using a GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receiver and GIS (Geographical Information System) software, topographical survey for archeological sites with aerial photographs taken by a small UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and 3D modeling software, and high-resolution 3D modeling of architectural heritage, which were followed by a field survey. Then, we simulated the preparation of management plans for cultural properties as group work.
 Participation of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation in this project ended this year. The GNSS receiver, small UAV and other equipment used for this workshop have been provided for Kyrgyz by UNESCO. We expect that documentation of the cultural assets using these latest devices will be promoted further in Kyrgyz.


Participation in the Annual General Assembly, Advisory Committee Meeting, and Scientific Symposium of ICOMOS

 Representative from the Institute attended the Annual General Assembly, Advisory Committee Meeting, and Scientific Symposium of ICOMOS held from October 26 through October 29, 2015 in Fukuoka. ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) was established in 1965 as an international NGO for safeguarding and conservation of cultural properties in response to the International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (the Venice Charter) adopted in 1964. Since then, ICOMOS has been working as an organization where experts from various fields, including architects, historians, archeologists, art historians and anthropologists, interact with one another. In recent years, ICOMOS has been well known for its other role as an advisory body to UNESCO by evaluating all nominations of cultural and mixed heritage to the World Heritage List.
 The General Assembly of ICOMOS had taken place every three years until 2014, when the Statutes of ICOMOS were amended at the General Assembly held in Florence, Italy. From 2015, the Annual General Assembly is to be organized every year together with the Advisory Committee Meeting. At this Annual General Assembly, the past activities of ICOMOS were reported to exchange opinions about how it could be a better organization, seeking measures for ICOMOS to work more appropriately as a group of specialists. In addition, a scientific symposium was also held under the theme of “RISKS TO IDENTITY: Loss of Traditions and Collective Memory,” where many useful cases were introduced to discuss the preservation and inheritance of tangible cultural properties, as well as their intangible values.
 The Institute will continually participate in such international meetings to identify global trends on the protection of cultural properties.


International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper – JPC 2015

Watching the Restoration Process

 International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper took place from August 31 through September 18, 2015. This workshop has been held jointly by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) for more than 20 years since 1992. This workshop aims to disseminate techniques and knowledge on preservation and restoration of cultural properties made of paper in Japan so they can be applied for conserving valuable cultural properties in other countries. In 2015, among 87 applicants from every part of the world, we invited 10 specialists in conservation, one person from each country: Australia, Belgium, Romania, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Austria, Ireland, Russia, the Netherlands and the United States.
 The lectures covered the overview of how to restore Japanese paper objects, basic science for restoration materials, paper objects from an aspect of art history, and manufacture and handling of tools. Through the practical training, participants learned the process to restore paper objects and mounted art work into a hand scroll. They also produced a Japanese-style book binding. In addition, they learned about the structure of a folding screen and a hanging scroll as representative forms of Japanese cultural properties, and practiced to handling such objects. The participants visited Mino City and Kyoto City as a field study, although the schedule was slightly changed due to a typhoon. In Mino, they learned how to manually produce Japanese paper, as well as its ingredients and historical background. In Kyoto, they visited a traditional restoration studio and tools and materials stores. On the last day, a discussion was held as a summary of this course, and useful information was exchanged, such as how Japanese paper is used in each country.
 We expect Japanese techniques and approaches will be useful for conservation and restoration of cultural properties overseas.


Investigation of Damage Situation of Cultural Heritage in Nepal

Meeting at the Department of Archeology
On-site Investigation by Using Endoscopy
Festival of Bara Barse Jatra

 On April 25, 2015, an earthquake occurred measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale centered in Middle Nepal, tremendously damaging a wide area, including the capital Kathmandu, together with many cultural heritages.
 Being commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo sent a specialized team to conduct the first on-site investigation from September 14 to 28, 2015 within the framework of “Project for International Contribution to Cultural Heritage Protection(Exchange of Experts).”
 In this investigation, we held discussions with major institutions involved in the protection of the historical heritage, including the Nepalese Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, and the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu. We also conducted a field survey by visiting the old royal palaces in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur listed as World Heritage Sites, as well as Sankhu, Kirtipur, Khokana and other suburban villages included in the Tentative List. Then, we examined the properties and areas subject to the full-scale investigation to come, as well as its approach. In addition, we had a good opportunity to observe Indra Jatra, the largest festival in Kathmandu, where Kumari as a Living Goddess paraded with a chariot, and Bara Barse Jatra, a festival held every 12 years, which had been suspended due to the earthquake disaster. We felt that these festivals worked as incentives to re-create ties among the people at this time of reconstruction.
 Under this project, in cooperation with other institutions and universities in Japan, we will study proper protection and conservation approaches for the damaged cultural assets through multifaceted research on “traditional building techniques,” “structural planning,” “urban design” and “intangible cultural heritage.” Based on this research, we will technically support the authorities in Nepal to preserve the value of the cultural heritage during the reconstruction process to be promoted rapidly from now.


A survey of Selected Conservation Techniques: Tapping Urushi and Manufacture of Tools for Tapping Urushi

Tapping Urushi
Manufacturing of knife for Tapping Urushi

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducts surveys of Selected Conservation Techniques and disseminates them overseas as traditional techniques protecting and supporting the cultural properties in Japan. In September 2015, we researched tapping Urushi and the manufacture of tools for tapping Urushi.
 Urushi (Japanese lacquer) trees used to be grown throughout the country for tapping. However, due to an increase in the number of relatively inexpensive Urushi produced overseas, the domestically produced Urushi available in Japan now accounts for only a few percent. The largest production area in Japan is Joboji Town, Ninohe City, Iwate Prefecture and its neighboring areas. From the beginning of the rainy season to autumn, around twenty skilled tappers annually collect Urushi from the trees. The conservation, handing-down and utilization of the techniques are being promoted mainly by the Japan Association for the Techniques to Tap Urushi.
 Uniquely shaped sickles, knife, spatulas and other tools are used for tapping Urushi. Their main parts are made from metal, and these tools are specially produced for tapping Urushi. Mr. Fumitoshi Nakahata, who holds Selected Conservation Techniques to manufacture of tools for tapping Urushi, produces each tool by fine-tuning it according to the technical features of each tapper. Handing down the skills and techniques required for the manufacture of tools for topping Urushi is indispensable for the production and utilization of Urushi produced in Japan.
 The outcomes achieved in this survey will be finalized as a report, while the photos taken as visual data will be utilized as calendars for overseas.


Workshop on the revitalization of the historical district in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia

The workshop
Historical buildings under renovation

 The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, has been continuously supporting the revitalization of the historical district of Padang by conducting academic research activities and holding local workshops in such fields as urban planning, architecture and sociology, since the institute conducted damage-status surveys just after the September 2009 Sumatra earthquake at the request of UNESCO and the Indonesian government.
 In 2015, a workshop on the revitalization of the historical district in Padang, West Sumatra was held on August 26, organized by the Department of Tourism and Creative Economy of West Sumatra Province and coorganized by the NRICPT, the Ministry of Culture and Education, Indonesia, the Padang City Government, Bung Hatta Universities, and others. For the workshop, in addition to experts from Indonesia and Japan, we invited a local architect who has been promoting the conservation of a historic district in George Town, Penang, Malaysia, and a movement for the inscription of the district on the World Heritage List, as well as a representative from relevant nongovernmental organization. The main theme of the workshop was about ways of promoting local development by making use of cultural heritages through citizens’ participation. In the workshop held at a hotel in Padang, more than 50 people including not only representatives from relevant authorities at national, provincial and municipal levels but also representatives from residents living in the historical district attended the workshop, a strong turnout exceeding the capacity of the venue. In the question-and-answer session, participants showed especially high interest in institutional frameworks, participation by local communities, and ways of cooperation with public administrations and universities.
 In cooperation with the relevant authorities in charge of the revitalization of the historic district, the Padang City Government is currently making preparations for the establishment of a group tasked with discussing local development of the district. We will continue to watch for such activities led by local people and provide necessary support.


Invitation program to Japan for personnel from Ministry of Culture, Myanmar and a training session on the protection of cultural heritage conservation of wooden structures

Exchange of views on difference in carpenter’s tools (Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum)
Experience of Hiwadabuki thatching technique (Kyoto city architecture conservation technique training center)

 As part of the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of the Cultural Heritage Project, “Protection of Cultural Heritage in Myanmar,” commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, four specialists from the Department of Archaeology and National Museum of Ministry of Culture, Myanmar, were invited to Japan and a training session on cultural heritage conservation of wooden structures was held from July 29 to August 6. This program is one of a series of training that has been continued in Myanmar since fiscal 2013, and is intended to have trainees understand in detail the practices of immovable cultural property conservation and restoration in Japan. In addition to lectures on such topics as the history of conservation and restoration systems, survey recording methods, measures against insect damage, anti-seismic measures and carpenter’s tools, tours to restoration work sites, practice of a trail survey and an exchange of views with restorers were conducted to help trainees expand their knowledge about the conservation and restoration of wooden structures. The program also provided an opportunity to discuss together about methods that could be applied in Myanmar and other issues.
 During their short stay, the trainees toured many restoration work sites as well as cultural heritage sites such as museums, historic parks, and groups of traditional buildings. On the last day of the training session, each trainee made a presentation of the results of the training one by one. Despite such a tight schedule, trainees ardently learned and absorbed many things. While feeling differences in climates or architectural cultures between both countries, trainees apparently became aware of underlying cultural commonalities in many scenes. In order to make use of the training for the future of the protection of their own country’s cultural heritages, trainees enthusiastically raised and asked various questions in each site, which apparently gave a strong impression to Japanese engineers and specialists. Finally, we appreciate the Japanese Association for the Conservation of Architectural Monuments, the Kyoto Prefectural Board of Education’s Cultural Properties Division, the Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum as well as all the organizations and parties involved for their cooperation in this program and training session.


Cooperation to safeguard cultural heritages in Myanmar (1)

Practical training session on the preparation of materials used for restoration at No. 1205 temple

 Workshops and investigations on the conservation of mural paintings in the brick-made monument
 From June 14 to 23, we conducted workshops on the conservation and restoration of mural paintings that have been conducted since last year, and carried out investigations on the environment inside the No. 1205 temple of the Bagan Monuments and damage conditions of its roof, as well as emergency restoration of collapsed parts of mural paintings. Workshops were held for three officials specialized in the conservation of mural paintings from the Bagan and Mandalay branches of the Department of Archeology and National Museum (DoA) of Myanmar’s Ministry of Culture. While inspecting past restoration cases involving mural paintings of Bagan temples, we debated such topics as causes of damages to mural paintings and the countermeasures. After that, the trainees had a practical training session at the No. 1205 temple to learn methods of keeping investigation records for an actual restoration of mural paintings, ways of preparing materials used for restoration, and other issues. Meanwhile, as a measure to address contamination and damages caused by beasts, birds, and insects, a problem pointed out in the investigation in fiscal 2014, we provided instructions on how to use termiterepellent and installation of the entrance door to the temple, and introduced the repellent in the temple together with the staff from the DoA. The trainees said that they would like to make use of what they learned in the workshops for other restoration projects, so the future utilization of the techniques can be expected.


Cooperation to safeguard cultural heritages in Myanmar (2)

Training session at Bagaya Monastery

 The Fourth Session of Training on the Conservation of Wooden Buildings
 We conducted the fourth session of training on the conservation of wooden buildings at the Bagaya Monastery in Innwa, and the Mandalay branch of Myanmar’s Department of Archeology and National Museum (DoA) from June 30 to July 11. Ten officials from the DoA and one graduate of Technological University (Mandalay) as an observer participated in the session. Following investigations of damaged parts on the floor framing and exterior walls as well as replaced materials, we also implemented exercises to keep a comprehensive observation record for railings surrounding the inner sanctum including carvings on them. While investigations by a group of several people have been conducted in the past training sessions, we gradually increased individual activities in the latest session, and each of the trainees made the final presentation at the end of the session. Their investigation reports were at a fairly high-level, indicating that the trainees are steadily acquiring the results of the training.


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