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

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.

Workshops on the “Conservation of Japanese Artworks on Paper and Silk”

Practice with a Japanese calligraphic work during basic course
Making a folding screen during advanced course

 This workshop is held annually as a part of our project to expand the understanding of tangible and intangible cultural properties, e.g. paintings and traditional mounting techniques, respectively. This year, it was held at the Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin, with basic course, “Japanese Artworks on paper and silk” from July 8 to 10 and with advanced course, “Restoration of Japanese Folding Screen”, July 13 to 17.
 In basic course, lectures and practical sessions were conducted on creation, preservation and utilization of Japanese art works on paper and silk for 20 participants. The lectures covered the topics of materials such as paper, pigments and adhesives, the protection system of cultural properties in Japan, as well as mounting culture. Based on the lectures, participants practice creating artworks and handling of hanging scrolls.
 In advanced course, it was conducted for 10 participants on the practice of creating a folding screen, with related lectures and demonstration of its emergency treatment, regarding the traditional mounting techniques. During the course, each participants created a folding screen from underlying paper on wooden lattice core until applying of a painting, learning of its structure, functions of parts, tools and mounting techniques.
 Restorers, museum curators and students from across Europe, Asia and Oceania participated in this workshop and discussed on various topics through the course. The conservators from the world pay attentions to the conservation of Japanese art works. The workshop will be conducted to contribute toward the preservation of Japanese cultural properties overseas for as many conservators as possible.

Survey on the Selected Conservation Techniques – Silk thread for strings of traditional Japanese instrument, Cypress bark roof, and Ramies in Showa Village

Silk thread for strings of traditional Japanese instrument
Cypress bark roof
Gathering the ramie plant

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducts surveys on the Selected Conservation Techniques and disseminates information about them to overseas as traditional techniques preserving and supporting Japanese cultural properties. In July 2015, we conducted surveys on the production of Silk thread for strings of traditional Japanese instrument, Cypress bark roof and Ramies in Showa Village.
 Shamisen and koto are traditional Japanese musical instruments, and indispensable for presenting Japanese traditional performing art such as Bunraku and Kabuki. Strings made of synthetic fibers are also used nowadays, however those made of silk are said to have the best tone. It goes without saying that such strings support the play and sounds of the instruments. With the help of Association for Silk Thread for Strings of Traditional Japanese Musical Instruments, Kinomoto, in Shiga Prefecture, we conducted a survey on the process of zaguri (spinning silkworm cocoons into a thread). In recent years, the domestic sericultural industry has been declining, so the handing down of traditional techniques to later generations is becoming an important issue.
 The cypress bark gathered from a standing tree has been traditionally used for roofing, and the technique has been used to build traditional temples and shrines. As such roof needs to be reroofed periodically, it is important to ensure good quality materials and to hand the technique down to later generations. Following a survey on the gathering of cypress bark conducted in October last year, we conducted a survey on the roofing at the Shotendo hall of Hozan-ji temple in Ikoma, Nara Prefecture, with the help of Tomoi Shaji Inc., a company belonging to Association for the Preservation of National Temple and Shrine Roof Construction Techniques, Inc..
 Ojiya-chijimi and Echigo-jofu are textiles designated as the Important Intangible Cultural Properties under the Japanese law. These textiles are made from the ramie plant cultivated and processed in the village of Showa, Onuma District, Fukushima Prefecture. With the cooperation of Showa Village Association for Conservation of Karamushi Production Techniques and its members, we investigated the respective processes of gathering more than two-meter-high ramie plants, peeling the skin off, and extracting the fiber. Similar to other traditional craft industries, those engaged in the ramie production and processing have started to age, so training and developing successors and handing the technique down to later generations are becoming pressing issues.
The results of the survey will be compiled in a report and we plan to make a calendar for overseas users.

Three-dimensional photographic measurement at Ta Nei temple in Cambodia

Photographing from a high altitude by remote shutter operation using a digital camera’s Wifi function and iPad.
Data processing using open-sourced software programs

 Among the monuments of Angkor, many of which have been restored by various methods thanks to international cooperation, Ta Nei temple has never undergone full-scale restoration in the past and quietly remains unchanged as it was in a dense forest. In order to ensure an adequate conservation of the monument while also paying attention to the aspect of utilizing it for tourism without undermining its value, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, continues to provide technical assistance to APSARA (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap) to draft a plan for the conservation and management project.
 As for the three-dimensional photographic measurement at the remains using SfM (Structure from Motion), which began last year, we have been testing it to establish a method to keep records of the remains’ current conditions, which can be implemented by local staff members as cheap and easy as possible. In this mission conducted from May 27 to June 2, we photographed the remains in the inner side of the inside gallery and implemented the total station measurement of orientation points together with staff from APSARA. Next, we created a three-dimensional model of the ruin covering the inner side of the inside gallery by processing the obtained data using open-sourced software programs (Visual_SfM、SfM georef、Meshlab). While we are currently examining the accuracy of the model, if the method is established, it is expected to be applied not only to other monuments of Angkor but also to ones in other developing countries as a recording method that does not require special equipment or budgets.
 Meanwhile, the outline and progress situation of the project were reported at the 24th technical session of the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor held on June 4 and 5 at the APSARA headquarters office. The collection of basic data including those necessary to create the model of the entire site will be completed within this fiscal year.

Project for the Conservation Centre of the Grand Egyptian Museum ―A Training Course on “Japanese Paper for Conservation Treatment”―

Physical property test

 As part of the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s (JICA)’ Project for cooperation with the Conservation Centre of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM-CC), a training course on “Japanese Paper for Conservation Treatment (Fourth term)” was conducted for two staff members who are in charge of organic conservation of paper such as papyrus in the GEM-CC from the 8th to 17th June.
 This training course is the last one of a series of four that we have held to apply the traditional Japanese conservation technique called “SOKO” to the conservation of papyrus. Trainees learned the outlines of Japanese conservation of cultural property as well as the basic SOKO technique such as lining in the NRICPT and conservation ateliers in Kyoto for eight weeks. In addition, we gave lectures and held practice sessions on methods of dyeing Japanese paper with natural dyes, as per requested. Having such a keen interest displayed through their diligent asking of questions and discussions with instructors indicated that they had learned much from the training.
 They learned a method for constructing various physical property tests such as “Determination of tensile properties” and “Determination of stiffness” by using papyrus samples in this session. They also developed an understanding of data collecting and sorting, and how to analyze it.
 This project seeks to foster and enhance cooperation among staff of the GEM-CC so that what is taught in training courses can spread and raise the standard as a whole. This is achieved by having trainees describe and teach what they have experienced and learned to their colleagues. They will design an action plan to apply the knowledge obtained to actual daily work after the roll out.

Study on the conservation condition forthe “technical support for the safeguarding of architectural heritages at Bagan,” project of UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust for the Preservation of World Cultural Heritage

The outer appearance of the Phya-sa-shwe-gu temple
Investigation of the inner side of a structural crack by using an endoscope
Excavation survey to investigate a foundation structure

 This project is intended to contribute to enhancing the conservation management system of historical buildingscomprising Myanmar’s Bagan monuments, and provides technical assistance aiming for updating the monument inventory and establishing a method to assess the conservation state of structures. At the same time, the project is also aiming for contributing to the human resources development for the Department of Archeology and National Museum (DoA) of Myanmar’s Ministry of Culture, which is in charge of the conservation and management of the monuments. We have been working on the two-year project since 2014.
 Commissioned by UNESCO, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, has been taking part in the project, mainly the assessment of conservation states of architectural structures. So far, we have been putting our efforts into drawing up a rapid condition assessment sheet to effectively understand in a short time the overall conservation states of all buildings in Bagan built during the Bagan Dynasty period. As a next step, we started a study on methodology for an in-depth condition assessment of structural problems that are detected by a rapid assessment. Even among the monuments in Bagan, individual historical architectures differ significantly not only in their scales and structures, but also in locations and damage conditions. Thus, it is difficult to standardize the process of the in-depth condition assessment as we did for the rapid condition assessment, while it is considered possible to develop a certain pattern for detecting basic problems and creating a work flow. So, we decided to select the Phya-sa-shwe-gu temple (No. 1249) as it is an architecture with a typical scale and structure that has not undergone a full-scale restoration so far, and conduct a pilot case study for an in-depth condition assessment at the temple.
 In a field study from June 11 to 19, we conducted detailed recording of crack distribution, non-destructive tests using a Schmidt hammer and an ultrasonic gauging device, a study on the inside of walls using micro drilling and an endoscope, and an excavation surveyto investigate the foundation structure together with an Italian expert in structural engineering, Myanmar engineers and staff members of DoA. On the last day, we discussed about an indoor strength test on brick samples taken from the temple at a research institution in Yangon.
 The temple building’s structural degradation has been significantly progressing, and the outer wall of the back of the corridor is in a particularly dangerous condition. Through analysis of information and data obtained in the latest survey, we will examine the cause and mechanism of damage and continue the study aiming for presenting an appropriate diagnosis flow.

Surveys on Selected Conservation Techniques – Roof ornaments, Hand-spun ramie yarn in Miyako Island, Ryukyu indigo and Udagami handmade paper

Production of onigawara roof ornament
Hand-spun ramie yarn in Miyako Island
Production of Ryukyu indigo
Bud picking of kozo plant that is used to produce Udagami handmade paper

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducts surveys on Selected Conservation Techniques to present their information overseas as traditional techniques to protect and support Japanese cultural properties. In June 2015, we conducted surveys on Roof ornaments, Hand-spun ramie yarn in Miyako Island, Ryukyu indigo and Udagami handmade paper.
 For the tiling roof of temples and shrines, several types of tiles and ornaments are used, and it is necessary to hand down the traditional advanced skills and the techniques that can be used depending on the purpose to later generations. With the cooperation of Yamamoto Kawara Kougyou Ltd. in Ikoma District, Nara Prefecture, we surveyed the production processes of onigawara roof ornaments and other products.
 In Miyako Island, there is a traditional technique to extract the fibers of ramie and hand-spin them to make ramie yarn. While it is an important technique for preserving and transferring Okinawa’s textile techniques including Miyako-Jofu designated as the Important Intangible Cultural Properties under the Japanese law, the ageing of skilled workers and training of their successors are becoming an urgent task.
 Ryukyu indigo, which is also used for Miyako-Jofu textiles, is a dyestuff using a different type of indigo used in the main island of Japan, and the main production area of the material is currently limited to the Izumi area of Motobu town on the main island of Okinawa, indicating how valuable such materials are.
 We also conducted a survey on the production process of traditional handmade Japanese paper using home-grown kozo plants (paper mulberry) at Fukunishi Washi Honpo in Yoshino District, Nara Prefecture. The Udagami paper of Yoshino is used mainly as the backing paper of hanging scrolls. It internationally receives high evaluation in the conservation and restoration of cultural properties such as calligraphies and paintings, and is widely used for such purposes. We will compile the results of the surveys in a report and produce a calendar for overseas.

Presentations at the Institute of Conservation in the UK

A lecture underway
A post-conference workshop

 From April 8 to 10, 2015, a conference entitled “Adapt & Evolve: East Asian Materials and Techniques in Western Conservation” took place mainly at the Brunei Gallery at the University of London. The conference was organized by the Book and Paper Group of the Institute of Conservation (colloquially known as ICON) in the UK.
 The conference consisted of tours of relevant institutions in the City of London, group events (presentations and question-and-answer panels), and various workshops. MASUDA Katsuhiko (an emeritus researcher at the Institute, currently a professor at Showa Women’s University), HAYAKAWA Noriko (a senior researcher at the Institute), and KATO Masato (a head of the Resource and Systems Research Section at the Institute) reported on the results of projects such as international training in Conservation of Japanese Paper (JPC) and the Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas as well as studies of the materials used to restore cultural properties. In addition, post-conference workshops were conducted after the conference. HAYAKAWA Noriko and KUSONOKI Kyoko (an associate fellow of the Institute) explained the traditional adhesives used in the field of conservation in Japan, and showed how to make starch paste and they instructed attendees in its application.
 According to the conference organizer, the conference was attended by about 300 people from around the world. During the question-and-answer session, the conference chair asked the audience about the JPC, and the answer revealed that 30 or more individuals who had completed the training were in attendance. Individuals who had completed other workshops organized by the Institute were also in attendance. Thus, the Institute plays a major role in introducing East Asian materials and techniques to Western conservation. In addition, many of the attendees asked that the Institute continue to provide information about conservation.

A survey of Selected Conservation Techniques — Ornamental metalwork, gold brocade, and loom shuttles

Making ornamental metalwork
Weaving gold brocade
Making a loom shuttle

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has conducted surveys of Selected Conservation Techniques. The Center interviews the technique holders, asking about topics such as their work process, the circumstances of their work, and how societal conditions are affecting them. SHIRONO Seiji (an artificer in the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems) photographed them at work, their tools, and other items. In April 2015, surveys on the making of ornamental metalwork., gold brocade, and loom shuttles were conducted in Kyoto.
 MORIMOTO Yasunosuke IV, the fourth-generation director of Morimoto Traditional Ornament Metalwork Co., Ltd., showed how to make ornamental metalwork and ritual decorations for temple and shrine buildings. Making ornamental metalwork involves a series of steps from shaping copper sheets to engraving a design, gold plating, and then finishing the metalwork. These processes were observed during this survey.
 At Hironobu Textiles Co., Ltd., which makes traditional textiles (such as gold brocade) for mounting, HIROSE Kenji discussed the current state of Nishijin textiles, and he showed how to make gold brocade by weaving gold thread into the weft of a fabric. A tool that is essential to weaving fabric is a loom shuttle, which is a wooden tool that is passed through a loom to weave the weft of a fabric. HASEGAWA Junichi makes loom shuttles. HASEGAWA explained the various types and uses of loom shuttles and he showed how he makes shuttles.
 Cultural properties need to be preserved, but the materials and techniques used to make those cultural properties also need to be preserved. The results of these surveys will be compiled in a report. In addition, plans are to create a calendar for overseas countries in order to publicize Japanese cultural properties and the materials and techniques used to create and preserve those properties.

Research of the mural painting fragments from archaeological sites in the Republic of Tajikistan

Photographing mural paintings unearthed at the Penjikent site
Piecing together mural painting fragments unearthed at the Khulbuk site

 From March 3 to 8, unearthed mural painting fragments were researched, pieced back together, and photographed at the Tajikistan National Museum, the Khulbuk Museum, and the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan.
 Four mural paintings (dated to the 7–8th centuries) that were unearthed at the site of the medieval fortified town of Penjikent in Sogdiana are being stored and exhibited at the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan. These are a valuable scholarly resource given the limited number of similar paintings. The painting techniques and the state of their conservation were researched and the paintings were photographed in detail in order to better understand their value in terms of art history and the state of their conservation.
 Fragments of mural paintings (dated around the 10–11th centuries) were unearthed at the Khulbuk site in the early 1980s. Since then, those fragments were simply stored in the Khulbuk Museum without any effort to piece them back together. During the research, these fragments were pieced back together and photographed. The mural painting fragments had been piled up in a wooden box for storage, so work began by transferring individual fragments to a plastic container and assigning each fragment a reference number. Fragments in each container were photographed and the condition of each fragment was recorded to provide basic information for use in conservation work.
 Fragments of mural paintings (dated around the 8th century) from the Kala-i Kakhkakha 1 site are being stored and exhibited at the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan. The current condition of them was recorded, and the fragments were visually inspected in detail.
 The results of this study should effectively facilitate future conservation of mural painting fragments in the Republic of Tajikistan.

Myanmarese experts invited to Japan to attend training in conservation of mural paintings

Practice conserving simulated mural painting fragments

 As part of the “Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project” commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, 2 mural painting conservators from the Department of Archaeology and National Museum (DoA) of the Ministry of Culture of Myanmar were invited to train in Japan from March 9 to 13, 2015. The training consisted of lectures on conservation of mural paintings and practice conserving those items, a visit to a restoration studio, and viewing of temple murals. The training further educated the Myanmarese conservators about conservation of wall paintings in Japan.
 During the first half of the training, the conservators received lectures on aspects of Japanese murals (decorated kofun [ancient Japanese tombs], mural paintings in kofun, mural paintings on plaster found in temples, panel paintings, etc.) such as their history and the materials and techniques used to make them along with examples of their conservation. The conservators also received lectures on the materials and techniques used to conserve kofun mural paintings, and they practiced conserving simulated mural painting fragments. The trainees were highly interested in learning about materials and techniques, and they actively asked questions. In addition, trainees visited a restoration studio that restores Japanese works such as paintings and books. Trainees observed actual restoration work and they talked about basic policies regarding conservation in Myanmar and Japan. During the latter half of the training, trainees visited Kyoto and Nara and they viewed surviving murals in Houkai-ji, Horyu-ji, and Yakushi-ji. Trainees discussed the conservation of mural paintings with Japanese representatives as they closely observed mural paintings that were described in the lectures. The hope is to continue cooperation in the future so that the information taught during training will benefit projects to conserve mural paintings in Myanmar.

A survey of Japanese paintings in Australia

A survey at the National Gallery of Victoria

 Japanese artworks in collections overseas play an important role in introducing foreigners to Japanese culture. However, there are few conservators of Japanese works overseas, so numerous works are not ready for exhibition, and those works are not properly conserved. The Institute conducts the Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas so that these Japanese artworks can be conserved and exhibited. The program facilitates cooperation in conservation of works overseas and it conducts workshops in an effort to conserve and restore such works. The current survey examined Japanese paintings in Australia in order to identify works for future conservation by the cooperative program.
 From March 16 to 19, Institute researchers visited the National Gallery of Victoria and the National Gallery of Australia. The National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne is Australia’s oldest art museum while the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra boasts the country’s largest collection of art. During the survey, the detailed state of hanging scrolls, a hand scroll, and folding screens (8 works in total) were examined and the works were also studied from the perspective of art history. The works will be assessed in terms of art history and works in need of urgent conservation will be identified based on the results of the survey, and works will be selected for conservation under the cooperative program. In addition, information gleaned from the survey will be provided to the curating institution in order to formulate future plans to exhibit and conserve the works.

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