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

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

2015 Calendar: Preserving Cultural Properties: Traditional Techniques from Japan

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation is studying Selected Conservation Techniques that must be preserved in order to preserve cultural properties. The center conducts interview surveys with the technique holders and the individuals from selected organizations, asking about their work process, the situation surrounding their work and their social environment and takes photographic records of them at work and their tools. Two versions of a 2015 calendar (a wall hanging version and a desktop version) for overseas were produced to inform the public of these efforts and provide information. The calendar is entitled Traditional Japanese Technique to Conserve Cultural Properties and it covers production of Japanese paper, production of sukisu bamboo screens for papermaking, plastering, dyeing with natural Japanese indigo, gathering Japanese cypress bark, Tatara smelting, and production of brushes for makie from among topics studied in 2014. All of the photographs were taken by SHIRONO Seiji of the Institute’s Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems. These visually stunning images capture an instant highlighting the aspects of traditional materials and techniques, and explanations of each photograph are provided in English and Japanese. The calendar will be distributed to foreign agencies and organizations dealing with cultural properties to promote of understanding of Japanese techniques to conserve cultural properties and Japanese culture.

A survey of Japanese paintings in the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology

Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, Krakow (Poland)
During a survey of works in the collection

 Numerous 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. Works in the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology were surveyed because of the museum’s fervent desire and need for help with conservation.
 Located in Krakow (Poland), the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology is home to a number of the Japanese artworks found in Eastern Europe. The Kyoto-Krakow Foundation was founded by individuals such as the film and theatre director Andrzej WAJDA. The Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology was established in 1994 with help from the foundation and private contributions and assistance from the governments of Japan and Poland. The museum’s collection centers on works collected by the art collector Feliks ‘Manggha’ JASIENSKI (1861–1929), and the collection includes a host of Japanese paintings such as ukiyo-e (woodblock) prints as well as pottery, lacquerware, and textiles.
 A survey of paintings in the collection was conducted in 2 phases of January 13–23, 2015 and February 3–6, 2015. The first phase surveyed 84 paintings. Seven of these works were selected based on their value in terms of art history and their urgent need for conservation. The second phase examined these 7 works in detail in order to determine the time needed to conserve them and appropriate methods of conserving them.
 Plans are to formulate a plan for conservation of the identified works and to conserve them under the Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas in the future. The information gleaned from the survey will be shared with curators and conservators at the museum so that these works can be conserved and exhibited.

Seminar on Traditional Wooden Buildings in Myanmar

Panel discussion at the seminar

 As part of a project financed by a grant for operational expenses entitled Cooperation for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage in Southeast Asia, the Institute held a seminar on Wooden Buildings in Myanmar in its seminar hall on February 13.
 Starting in 2013, the Institute has conducted studies and provided trainings on the conservation of cultural properties in Myanmar. Such efforts include the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage project to safeguard the cultural heritage of Myanmar commissioned by the Agency of Cultural Affairs of the Japanese government. As a field of the cooperation is,the Institute has implemented a training program in survey techniques for the conservation of historic wooden buildings. There still is, however, a dearth of study accumulation, whether domestic or foreign, on wooden buildings in Myanmar themselves, and these buildings have yet to be fully understood.
 Raymond Myo Myint Sein, a former professor at the Department of Architecture of the Rangoon Institute of Technology, is a pioneer in research on wooden buildings in Myanmar and Zar ChiMin, an associate professor at the Department of Architecture of Technological University (Mandalay), is a spirited young researcher. At the seminar, these two invited speakers and Japanese representatives gave presentations sharing the results of previous research on traditional wooden buildings in Myanmar. Then, discussion was made on the cultural significance of those buildings to Myanmar people and topics for the future research.
 A report on the seminar featuring articles from the presenters and the details of the panel discussion waspublished, as well.

2014 surveys of partnering countries: Malaysia and Nepal

During an interview with the Director of the Sarawak Museum and other museum representatives (Malaysia)
Patan Durbar Square (Nepal)

 The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage conducted several surveys in partnering countries Malaysia and Nepal in February. The surveys had 3 goals: to gather information about the current state regarding issues with safeguarding of cultural heritage, to ascertain needs related to those efforts, and to explore the possibility for international cooperation.
 In Malaysia, Consortium research members met with the Director of the Department of National Heritage from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and other representatives. The meeting provided general information about the system for safeguarding cultural heritage at a national level. Afterwards, they toured through the historic cities of Melaka and George Town (World Heritage Sites) and the archeological site in the Bujang Valley of Kedah and examined the state of preservation of those sites. They also visited Kuching on the island of Borneo, where ethnic minorities continue to preserve their traditions. Consortium gathered informationabout the system and efforts to safeguard the area’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage, which differs from thoses in Malay Peninsula.
 In Nepal, Consortium research members observed the UNESCO Japanese funds-in-trust project initialized to preserve cultural heritage in Lumbini (World Heritage site) and the management of the conservation of traditional buildings in the Katmandu Valley. They viewed intangible cultural heritage in forms of the Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri and Gyalpo Lhosar (celebration of Tibetan New Year), and interviewed locals. In addition, Consortium visited the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, the Department of Archaeology and the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust to gatherinformation.

A field survey on the safeguarding of cultural heritage in Iran

A discussion of the safeguarding cultural heritage with representatives from ICHHTO
A mosque in Isfahan where tiles have been replaced over a period of 17 years

 From January 7 to 23, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) conducted a field survey on the safeguarding of cultural heritage in Iran. The survey included 9 World Heritage sites in Iran. The survey was conducted in order to determine the current state in which Iranian cultural heritage is safeguarded and to explore the possibility of future international cooperation in this regard.
 As of 2015, Iran is a cultural colossus with 17 World Heritage sites. A tour of cultural heritage sites such as Persepolis and Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan was conducted in cooperation with Iran’s Cultural Heritage Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO). JCICC personnel were able to hear directly from site managers about site preservation and restoration efforts and current issues regarding the safeguarding of cultural heritage.
 In Tehran, JCICC personnel talked with Dr. M. TALEBIAN, the vice president of ICHHTO. JCICC personnel described projects by the Institute and they discussed the nature of future efforts to safeguard cultural heritage with Dr. TALEBIAN based on their inspection of cultural properties at different sites in Iran. In addition, JCICC personnel visited Iran’s Research Institute for Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT), a leading research institute in Iran. JCICC personnel toured the RICHT and discussed cultural heritage with RICHT personnel.
 Through the UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust, Japan has previously provided support for restoration of the Chogha Zanbil ziggurat and the Arg-e Bam site that were ravaged by an earthquake in 2003. Thus, Iran has already engaged in cultural exchanges with Japan. The hope is that such efforts will foster greater cooperation between Japan and Iran and allow joint studies and conservation efforts with Iran in the future.

Cooperation to safeguard cultural heritage in Myanmar(1)

An explanation on using dry rubbings to document marks left by woodworking

 The third session of training in conservation of wooden structures
 From January 13 to 23, a training session was conducted at the Bagaya Monastery in Innwa and at the Mandalay branch of Myanmar’s Department of Archaeology and National Museum (DoA). Major topics of the training were survey methods to trace the history of modifications in building structures from the period of initial construction and applied building techniques. Trainees were 10 personnel from the DoA, an associate professor from the Technological University (Mandalay), and a graduate of the university as an observer. Some trainees used CAD images when they presented the results of surveys conducted in groups. Trainees appeared to be quite adept at sketching plans in comparison to when they started the training. Such evidence of trainees taking the initiative and the effectiveness of continued training is truly a joy to behold.

Cooperation to safeguard cultural heritage in Myanmar(2)

Work underway at pagoda No.1205

 A survey of and training in the conservation of mural painting at brick temple ruins
 From January 19 to 26, emergency steps were taken to preserve collapsing portions of mural painting at pagoda No. 1205 and conditions indoors and the state of damage to the pagoda’s roof were surveyed. These efforts began last year. The survey of the roof corroborated the assumption that damage was due to rain leakage and termite nests. Plans are to explore effective countermeasures to deal with these problems in cooperation with personnel from the DoA. In addition, training on surveying and documenting restoration of mural painting was conducted at the Bagan Archeological Museum. Trainees were 5 experts in mural painting restoration from the Bagan and Mandalay branches of the DoA. Surveying and documentation are seldom done during restoration efforts in Myanmar, so this training should teach attendees about basic surveying and documentation techniques and impress upon them the importance of those steps.

Cooperation to safeguard cultural heritage in Myanmar(3)

Materials analysis using X-ray fluorescence (Bagaya Monastery)

 A survey of lacquer materials and techniques
 From January 15 to 23, surveys on lacquerware in Myanmar were conducted in Mandalay, Monywa, and Bagan. In Mandalay, a portable X-ray fluorescence analyzer was used to ascertain the traditional materials in and techniques used to produce lacquer materials and glass mosaics found in wooden buildings such as the Shwe Nan Daw Monastery. In the suburbs of Monywa, interviews were conducted regarding collection of lacquer ingredients. Results of that survey furthered understanding of the characteristics of lacquer produced in Myanmar, which differs from that produced in Japan. In Bagan, the collection of the Lacquerware Museum was surveyed and lectures on materials analysis were provided to personnel from the Lacquerware Technology College and the Lacquerware Museum. The fact that trainees have a greater understanding of the need to and ways to preserve lacquerware is evident in ongoing cooperation between Japan and Myanmar.

Workshop on the Conservation of Japanese Artworks on Paper and Silk

A lecture on painting materials and techniques as part of the basic course
Practice with urgent repair of a hanging scroll as part of the applied course

 This workshop on the Conservation of Japanese Artworks on Paper and Silk is conducted annually as part of the Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas. This year, the workshop was held at the Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin, with the basic course on “Japanese paper and silk cultural properties” taking place from December 3–5 and the applied course on “Restoration of Japanese hanging scrolls” taking place from December 8–12.
 During the basic course, attendees received lectures, demonstrations, and practice with the components that comprise a cultural property (paper, paste, animal glue, and pigments), the techniques of creating Japanese paintings and calligraphy, aspects of mounting, and handling of hanging scrolls. The course was attended by 20 restorers, curators, and students from overseas.
 The applied course included a workshop primarily on practice restoring a hanging scroll using traditional mounting and restoration techniques. Attendees received lectures on the structure of a hanging scroll (which consists of multiple layers of paper and cloth), decisions regarding restoration of those scrolls, and handling traditional brushes and knives. Attendees also received practice performing urgent repairs. This course was attended by 15 restorers and curators.
 Over the past few years, Japanese mounting and restoration techniques have garnered attention from specialists restoring cultural properties overseas. These techniques can be used on foreign paintings and books. This workshop provided an opportunity for attendees to actually encounter mounting and restoration materials and techniques firsthand. Through these efforts, we hope to increase the understanding of tangible cultural properties such as paintings and books as well as the techniques for making Japanese paper and mounting and restoration techniques that can help to preserve those items.

The Networking Core Centers Project for the Conservation of Traditional Buildings in the Kingdom of Bhutan

Rinzin Penjore, Director of the Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs of Bhutan (l.) and KAMEI Nobuo, Director General of the Institute (r.),Workshop attendees (at the grounds of the National Library)
Workshop attendees (at the grounds of the National Library)

 A final mission was sent to Bhutan from December 20 to 24 to conclude the Networking Core Centers Project for the Conservation of Traditional Buildings in the Kingdom of Bhutan. This project started in 2012 commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan. A workshop was jointly organized with the Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs of the Kingdom of Bhutan to sum up the project. The project sought to determine how to properly conserve traditional rammed earth buildings such as houses and to improve their ability to withstand earthquakes. Results of the studies of construction technique and structure of the buildings over the last 3 years were presented by both Bhutanese and Japanese members. The personnel involved also discussed prospects for future works that the Bhutanese side need to undertake. The workshop was co-chaired by the Director of the Department of Culture (the direct counterpart in this project) and the Director General of the Institute. The workshop was attended by relevant personnel from the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites of the Department of Culture as well as personnel from the Department of Disaster Management of the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, the Department of Engineering Services of the Ministry of Works and Human Settlement, the Bhutan Standards Bureau, and the National Library of Bhutan.
 The architectural study team conducted field surveys of about 60 houses and temples as well as ruins, abandoned villages, and new rammed earth building sites. Information on traditional construction techniques (including techniques to reinforce structures) was compiled based on the findings of those surveys and interviews with craftsmen. Standardized format for investigation and tentative building typology were reported during the workshop. The structural study team conducted materials tests, micro-tremors measurement and destructive load tests to overcome structural vulnerabilities stemming from earthquake damage. Based on the results, basic techniques for assessment of structural strength and simulations of structural analysis were presented. In addition, a medium to long-term road map was proposed to see what steps could be taken to continue those surveys in the future and also if those surveys would lead to the formulation of guidelines to determine structural stability. In the meantime, existing buildings are being lost. Methods of preserving those buildings were also discussed.
 These joint surveys over the past 3 years are merely the prelude to understanding traditional construction techniques in Bhutan, and Bhutan has a long way to go in assessing the historical value of those structures and establishing techniques to properly preserving them. Bhutan is faced with the loss of its tangible and intangible cultural heritage due to natural disasters such as earthquakes and torrential rains as well as a mounting wave of urbanization. We hope Japan is able to assist Bhutan in safeguarding its cultural heritage, and to continue assisting the people of Bhutan in the future as well.

Attendance of the 18th General Assembly of ICOMOS

The outside of the meeting site
The General Assembly in session

 Representative from the Institute attended the 18th General Assembly of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) that took place from November 9 to 14, 2014 in Florence, Italy. In light of the 1964 International Charter on the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (the Venice Charter), ICOMOS was founded in 1965 as an international NGO to safeguard and conserve cultural heritage. ICOMOS has over 10,000 members worldwide, and is known for its work reviewing world heritage nominations as an advisory body to UNESCO.
 The General Assembly meets every 3 years to elect the Executive Committee and to hold an international symposium. At this Assembly, Gustavo ARAOZ was reelected as President and KONO Toshiyuki, a Professor at Kyushu University, was chosen as one of the 5 Vice Presidents. In addition, an international symposium “Heritage and Landscape as Human Values” was held. The symposium featured a wide range of presentations on issues that countries commonly encounter when safeguarding heritage, such as topics related to sustainability through traditional knowledge and community-driven conservation. The year in which the General Assembly met also marked the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Venice Charter and the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Nara Document on Authenticity (the Nara Document). A panel featuring personnel involved in the adoption of these documents discussed the events leading to their adoption and subsequent developments after their adoption.
 The Institute will continue to gather and compile information on the safeguarding of cultural heritage overseas by attending international conferences like this in the future as well.

International Course on Conservation of Paper in Latin America

Practice preparing wheat starch paste
A demonstration of attaching a backing

 A 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 LATAM program seeks to conserve cultural heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Course on Conservation of Paper in Latin America was jointly organized by the Institute, ICCROM, and Mexico’s Coordinación Nacional de Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (CNCPC-INAH). The course was conducted from November 5 to 30 at the CNCPC-INAH, and the Course was attended by 9 experts in restoring cultural properties who hailed from the 8 countries of Spain, Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, and Mexico.
 The course sought to provide attendees with basic knowledge and proficiency with regard to traditional Japanese paper, adhesives, and tools so that this knowledge and proficiency could be used to help conserve cultural properties in the attendees’ home countries. The first half of the course consisted of lectures by Japanese experts on materials and tools used in mounting and restoration techniques and then practice by the attendees. This year’s course focused on creating a work environment that provided safety during restoration work, work preparations, acquiring tools, and cleanup. During the second half of the course, lectures were given by experts from Mexico, Spain, and Argentina who had completed the Institute’s International Course on Conservation of Paper. These lecturers described actual examples in which they had used Japanese techniques to restore cultural properties in the West. Afterwards, attendees practiced using those techniques. Given the likelihood that Japanese mounting and restoration techniques can be used to conserve cultural heritage in other countries, plans are to conduct similar training sessions in the future as well.

A second investigation of Selected Conservation Techniques-Ryukyu indigo, production of sukisu bamboo screens for papermaking, and a plasterer

Ryukyu indigo (indigo paste)
Making a bamboo screen
Applying borders (chirimawari, the region between the plaster wall and surrounding woodwork) as part of the plastering process

 Following on from last month, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation is continuing to investigate of Selected Conservation Techniques. The center conducts interview surveys with technique holders, asking about topics such as their work process, the situation surrounding their work, and their social environment, and takes photographic records of them at work, their tools, and other items. In November 2014, surveys and documentation activities were conducted regarding Ryukyu indigo production in Okinawa, production of sukisu bamboo screens for papermaking in Ehime, and a sakan (plaster work) in Tokyo were studied and recorded.
 Ryukyu indigo differs from other types of indigo plants on the main island of Japan. The processes of cultivating and manufacturing Ryukyu indigo also differ substantially from those used in indigo dyeing with tade-ai (Chinese indigo). Mr. INOHA Seisho is a holder of Selected Conservation Techniques, and Mr. NAKANISHI Toshio who is carrying on INOHA’s techniques. Mr. NAKANISHI explained that recent typhoons and inclement weather have affected the growth of Ryukyu indigo. Mr. NAKANISHI also described the process of manufacturing indigo.
 Ms. IHARA Keiko is a member of the National Society to Preserve Tools and Techniques Used to Produce Japanese Paper by Hand who lives in Ehime. Ms. IHARA is also certified as a traditional craftsperson by Ehime Prefecture. Ms. IHARA talked about the current state of sukisu screen production, procurement of bamboo strips and silk thread to make those screens, and the difficulty of training a successor.
 The company Nakashimasakan was working at a site in Tokyo where a traditional building was being restored. Part of sakan (plaster work) done by the company was photographed. Relating sakan (plaster work), Japanese wall, National Cultural Property Wall Technical Preservation Meeting is certified as a group holder of Selected Conservation Techniques.
 Cultural properties obviously need to be preserved, but the materials and techniques used to craft those cultural properties also need to be preserved. The research materials from this study will be compiled. In addition, plans are showcase some of these materials overseas. A calendar with visually stunning images could be used to highlight the nature of Japan’s cultural properties, how those cultural properties are created, and materials and techniques that need to be preserved.

“Education for International Understanding” class at Itabashi First Junior High School.

During the class 1
During the class 2

 On November 13, 2014, SEKI Yuji, Vice chairperson of the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage (“JCIC-Heritage”) and a Professor at the National Museum of Ethnology, gave a lecture as part of a class on “Education for International Understanding” at Itabashi First Junior High School in Itabashi Ward, Tokyo.
 Itabashi First Junior High School is home to “volunteer efforts in support of schools.” JCIC-Heritage was invited to participate in the efforts by a regional volunteer coordinator, and JCIC-Heritage responded by sending a representative to give a lecture in connection with “Education for International Understanding.” This was JCIC-Heritage’s first invitation from a junior high school. Professor SEKI, who spent his childhood in Itabashi Ward, was asked to give the lecture.
 Professor SEKI’s lecture, titled “International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage,” lasted 50 minutes and was attended by 150 or so students.
 In the first half of the lecture, Professor SEKI explained what cultural heritage is and he then used pictures of Japanese castles and Kabuki performances to describe tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Professor SEKI then explained why cultural heritage needs to be protected, what will happen if it is not protected, the importance of international cooperation to protect that heritage, and the forms of international cooperation in this field, and he used slides to give clear explanation.
 In the latter half of the lecture, Professor SEKI talked about his experiences with international cooperation to protect cultural heritage in Peru and he showed pictures of sites in Peru.
 JCIC-Heritage will continue to educate and enlighten the public about international cooperation to protect cultural heritage, and JCIC-Heritage plans to inform the public about the importance of international cooperation.

Investigation of Selected Conservation Techniques—brushes for Makie, dyeing with true indigo, and gathering Japanese cypress bark

Production of brushes for Makie
Dyeing with natural Japanese indigo
Gathering Japanese cypress bark

 Cultural properties must be protected and passed on to future generations as the shared heritage of humanity. If the materials and tools for producing cultural properties, and the techniques for restoring them, are not handed down and used, it will be impossible to keep cultural properties in good condition. Japanese conservation and restoration techniques for cultural properties are recognized for their usefulness and used in practice, even outside Japan. Traditional techniques that are essential for preserving cultural properties, and must themselves be conserved, have been selected by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology as Selected Conservation Techniques. Individuals and groups possessing such techniques (holders) are also certified. At present, 71 techniques have been certified, as well as 57 individual and 31 group holders.
 The Japanese Center for International Cooperation in Conservation carries out studies relating to Selected Conservation Techniques, and widely disseminates information both inside and outside Japan. The center conducts interview surveys with technique holders, asking about topics such as their work process, the situation surrounding their work, and their social environment, and takes photographic records of them at work, their tools, and other items. In October 2014, surveys and documentation activities were conducted regarding production of brushes for Makie by Mr. MURATA Shigeyuki at the Murata Kurobei Shoten in Kyoto, dyeing with natural Japanese indigo by Mr. MORI Yoshio at Konku in Shiga, and gathering of Japanese cypress bark by Mr. ONO Koji at Awaga Shrine in Hyogo. The three cases investigated were traditional, specialized techniques in three different fields (lacquer, dyeing and architecture), but the point of commonality is that all of these individuals are keeping traditions alive through intelligence and skill—working earnestly with natural materials, and coping with changes in the environment. The results obtained through these surveys will be accumulated and used as research materials on cultural properties. At the same time, by distributing media overseas such as calendars incorporating images with high visual impact, we plan to internationally disseminate information on the nature of Japanese culture, and on materials/techniques for creating and conserving cultural properties.

Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Kyrgyz Republic and Central Asia

Training for drawing of pottery unearthed from Ak-Beshim

 Since 2011, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been collaborating with efforts to protect cultural heritage in the Kyrgyz Republic and the countries of Central Asia, based on the framework of the Agency for Cultural Affairs’ Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project for the Protection of Cultural Heritage. Previously, workshops to develop human resources have been held in the field of protection of cultural heritage, such as documentation, excavation, conservation, and site management.
 This year is the final year of this project, and in July inspection tours and workshops were conducted on site management and museum exhibition in Japan. Later in the year, over the six days from October 27 to November 1, the 8th workshop “Training Workshop on Exhibition and Publication of the Excavation Report” was held in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic. Twelve trainees from Kyrgyz participated in this workshop.
 At present, museums in Kyrgyz still lack adequate facilities and human resources. Therefore, this workshop featured lectures on exhibition techniques at museums, management of lighting, temperature and humidity, and exhibition hall management techniques. After that, there were lectures and training on techniques for preparing site reports, including topics such as drawing of archaeological finds and descriptions of their attributes. In addition, due to the diversification of archaeological investitgation techniques in recent years, today’s reports contain various types of natural science approaches. Therefore, lectures were given and training carried out regarding analytical techniques for animal and plant remains sampled from Ak-Beshim, where excavation training was conducted in 2012 and 2013.
 This will be the final workshop held under the current framework. However, considering the current situation in Kyrgyz and Central Asian countries regarding museums, conservation facilities, and site management, there remains a need for international support in all areas of cultural heritage protection. Going forward, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation plans to continue its efforts in various international cooperation projects for culture heritage, with the aim of protecting cultural heritage in Central Asia.

An expert on historical buildings from the Islamic Republic of Iran is invited to Japan

eminar on Iranian cultural properties
Tour of the Hyogo Earthquake Engineering Research Center

 As part of the “New Century International Educational Exchange Project” of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, an Associate Professor from the University of Isfahan in the Islamic Republic of Iran was invited to visit Japan from August 26 to September 5. The professor, Mehrdad HEJAZI, has been closely involved in conservation of a site in Bam; Bam suffered massive damage from an earthquake that struck in 2003. Japanese researchers on Iran in various fields such as archaeology and linguistics assembled in conjunction with HEJAZI’s visit, and a seminar on historical buildings in Iran was conducted. During the seminar, HEJAZI delivered a presentation on issues involved in and prospects for conservation of culturally significant buildings in Iran. HEJAZI discussed numerous aspects of Iranian cultural properties with the assembled researchers.
 Japan is often plagued by natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Similarly, earthquakes have caused severe damage to culturally significant buildings in Iran, where such buildings are constructed of brittle, sun-dried bricks. During his visit, HEJAZI gained further insight into concepts and projects to conserve historical buildings in Japan. HEJAZI toured the Hyogo Earthquake Engineering Research Center, the world’s largest earthquake resistance testing facility, and he also toured the Kyu-Yubikan, a historic building in the City of Osaki, and culturally significant buildings in the inner bay area of the City of Kesennuma; both locations in Miyagi Prefecture were damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake. These events allowed a profound discussion of techniques for conservation of culturally significant buildings and disaster prevention measures for those buildings.
 The invitational program proved fruitful, laying the groundwork for further cultural exchanges between Iran and Japan.

International course on Conservation of Japanese Paper conducted in 2014

Practice restoring Japanese paper in a cultural property

 An International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper was conducted from August 25 to September 12. This course was co-organized by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and ICCROM. The main purpose of the course is to provide the person who work with cultural properties with the skills and knowledge necessary to conserve and restore paper cultural properties from Japan. Ten conservators from New Zealand, Taiwan, Denmark, the UK, Serbia, France, Cuba, the US, Australia, and Thailand were invited to attend this year’s course from among 69 applicants.
 Lectures covered topics such as basic science related to restoration materials and cultural properties from an academic perspective. In addition, participants practiced restoring Japanese paper to make a finished scroll and Japanese-style book binding. Folding screens and hanging scrolls are typical forms of Japanese cultural properties, and participants studied the construction of these objects and they practiced handling them. Participants visited the Mino region in Gifu Prefecture and they learned about the process of hand-making Japanese paper, ingredients of that paper, and the historical background behind its manufacture. In addition, participants visited a traditional restoration studio and shops selling traditional tools and materials in Kyoto. An active discussion took place on the final day of the course. Participants exchanged opinions on the use of Japanese paper in their respective countries, and some participants asked technical questions about conservation. Through this course, Japanese techniques can help to conserve cultural properties overseas. Plans are to conduct similar courses in the future.

Survey of Traditional Rammed Earthen Buildings in Bhutan

A survey in the Village of Tenchekha, where the population is decreasing
A craftsman explains human-based units of measurement

 This year will be the third year since the “Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project, Preservation of Traditional Buildings in the Kingdom of Bhutan,” which was commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, started in partnership with the Bhutanese Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs. Bhutan has many rammed earthen buildings such as residences, and this project aims to preserve those buildings and improve their safety. The Institute has been conducting surveys and studies of traditional Bhutanese construction techniques from the perspectives of architectural history and structural mechanics. The surveys and studies include surveys to examine traditional methods of construction and analyses of the structural strength and earthquake resistance of those buildings. From September 18 to 27, 2014, a fifth field survey was conducted in cooperation with the Institute’s Bhutanese counterpart, the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites (DCHS) of the Department of Culture under the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs.
 Prior to this survey, the DCHS had been asked to prepare several test pieces of rammed earth in accordance with instructions regarding the ratios of materials in those pieces. Cores were taken from the prepared test pieces to examine their strength. Results of the inspection verified that walls made of lime and rammed earth provided structural reinforcement. In the past, the strength of these walls depended entirely on the craftsman’s gauging of the size of soil particles and the optimum moisture content of soil. For the inspection, however, DCHS staff members received guidance in operational procedures from the Institute so that these aspects could be quantified by laboratory testing. In addition, the Institute’s structural study team measured microtremors to simulate behavioral characteristics of a temple near Thimphu.
 The architectural study team surveyed several residences and ruins that preserve the old style of architecture in a rural community within Paro Dzongkag. This survey aimed to ascertain changes in structural forms and determine their relationship to wall construction techniques. Interviews were also conducted with craftsmen and technicians who are experienced in rammed earth construction in order to gain knowledge. Possible ways to improve methods of construction were discussed with these craftsmen and technicians.
 Bhutan experienced heavy rains during the survey. A building that was surveyed last year was found to have already collapsed and new damage to a building that was visited just a few days prior was noted. These examples reveal how fragile these buildings are if they are not properly maintained and these examples highlighted the need to preserve these traditional buildings.

Conservation and exhibition of wall paintings unearthed at the Hulbuk site in the Republic of Tajikistan

Conservation work (Wall painting fragments are laid out on a mounting board)
During the ceremony to showcase the conserved wall paintings

 From September 11 to October 2, wall painting fragments that were unearthed at the Hulbuk site were conserved and exhibited at the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan. These wall paintings were presumably produced in around the 10th to 11th century and few similar paintings exist. Thus, these paintings are scholarly materials with considerable value in terms of the art history of Tajikistan and other countries in Central Asia. Since 2010, the Institute has been extensively restoring these wall painting fragments with the cooperation of the Institute of History, Archeology, and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan. As of last year, work was done to piece the fragments back together and then reinforce and stabilize them.
 This year, the fragments were mounted to facilitate their safe exhibition. First, a backing was created and then attached to the back of the wall painting fragments. Fragments were then arranged on a mounting board 91 cm wide × 182 cm tall based on line drawings done when the fragments were excavated. Seventeen wall painting fragments were re-assembled to depict a single image. Decorative mortar matching the texture of the wall painting fragments was added around those fragments. Nuts and bolts were used to fix the fragments in place. This construction allows the fragments to be safely removed from the mounting in the future so that they can be transported to other museums for exhibitions.
 After the exhibition, a ceremony was held to showcase the conserved paintings. The ceremony was attended by personnel from the Institute as well as Saidmurod BOBOMULLOEV, Director of the National Museum of Antiquities, Rahim MASOV, Director of the Institute of History, Archeology, and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences, and KAMADA Takashi, Japanese Ambassador to Tajikistan. Plans are to continue exhibiting the wall painting fragments in a hall at the National Museum of Antiquities, where other items unearthed from the Hulbuk site have been assembled.
 This conservation project was undertaken in part with a Sumitomo Foundation grant for Projects to Preserve and Conserve Foreign Cultural Properties.

to page top