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


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.


International Symposium held on The Silk Roads as a World Heritage Site: Tracing the origins of Japan’s international cooperation in cultural heritage

A lecture underway
A panel discussion underway

 The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage (JCIC-Heritage) held an international symposium (co-organized with the Agency for Cultural Affairs) on “The Silk Roads as a World Heritage Site: Tracing the origins of Japan’s international cooperation in cultural heritage,” which took place at the Iino Hall on September 27. The decision was made this June to inscribe the “Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor” on the list of World Heritage Sites. The symposium covered topics related to this inscription, including previous support from Japan for inscription of the Silk Roads as a World Heritage Site, the significance of the listing, and the relationship between the Silk Roads and Japan.
 During the first half of the symposium, YAMAUCHI Kazuya, the Head of the Regional Environment Section of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, delivered a keynote lecture entitled “Japan’s Contribution to the Inscription of the Silk Roads as a World Heritage Site.” In addition, Xiaofei WANG, Director of the Cultural Heritage Bureau at Turpan Prefecture was welcomed from China and Dmitriy VOYAKIN of Archaeological Expertise LLP was welcomed from Kazakhstan to lecture on efforts and resources to nominate world heritage sites in their respective countries. A panel discussion on “The Silk Roads and Japan” took place during the latter half of the symposium. Panelists were 4 experts on the Silk Roads (KURANAKA Shinobu of Daito Bunka University, SAITO Kiyohide of the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara, MORIMOTO Kosei from Todaiji Temple, and YOSHIDA Yutaka of Kyoto University), and the discussion was chaired by MAEDA Kosaku, Vice Chairperson of JCIC-Heritage. Panelists talked about the links between the Silk Roads and Japan in terms of their own areas of expertise.
 The symposium had 300 attendees and provided an opportunity to inform a large audience of Japan’s considerable contribution to the inscription of the Silk Roads on the list of World Heritage Sites.


Invitation of personnel from the Ministry of Culture of Myanmar to attend training in the conservation of historical wooden buildings

A trainee dedicating a roof tile (the Great Buddha Hall of Todaiji Temple)
An explanation of conservation work on-site (Himeji Castle)
Practice making a rubbing (Amanosan Kongoji Temple)

 A program for training in conservation of historical wooden buildings has been conducted since last year pursuant to the Networking Core Centers Project for Protection of Cultural Heritage in Myanmar, commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan. As part of the program, personnel were invited to attend training in Japan for the first time. Among the participants in ongoing field training in Myanmar, 3 personnel from the Department of Archaeology and National Museum (DoA), Ministry of Culture of Myanmar visited Japan from August 21 to 30. The primary goal of this training session was to further explain to trainees the concepts behind conservation of historical buildings in Japan and the realities of conservation projects. In addition to receiving classroom lectures on basic topics, trainees visited sites in the Kansai region and elsewhere where historical buildings were under restoration work. Trainees heard from specialists who managed restoration work and they learned work procedures as well as specific techniques for surveys and conservation planning. 
 Sights such as first glimpses of sites where major conservation efforts were underway and methodically arranged building components made a substantial impact on trainees. Trainees learned a number of things by enthusiastically asking questions on-site and through practice. Trainees showed considerable interest in techniques to meticulously survey and document buildings during conservation work and in the careful work done by carpenters. Clearly, the techniques used in Japan cannot be immediately adopted in Myanmar. However, this training session was a valuable experience for the trainees since it encouraged them to think about how they would preserve and pass on their own cultural heritage in the future. These trainees, after all, will be responsible for conservation of historical wooden buildings in Myanmar. Plans are to conduct additional cooperative projects to help protect the cultural heritage of Myanmar.


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

Trainees and graduate students from Kanazawa University who participated in the training workshop

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has conducted a series of training workshops covering “documentation,” “excavations,” “conservation,” and “site management” in the Kyrgyz Republic in Central Asia since 2011. These training workshops are part of a project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan to safeguard cultural heritage in Central Asia.
 The 7th training workshop, the Training Workshop on Site Management and Museum Exhibition, was conducted over 12 days from July 3 to 14, 2014.
 The World Heritage Committee that met in Qatar this June decided to inscribe sites in Central Asia related to the Silk Road on the World Heritage list. However, the reality is that most of those sites lack site management. Site management and construction of on-site museums are urgent issues that Central Asian countries need to deal with.
 Thus, 3 young experts from the Kyrgyz Republic and 3 young experts from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan were invited to Japan to participate in the training workshop on Site Management and Museum Exhibition. After attending lectures at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, participants toured archaeological museums and sites that are typical of Japan.
 In addition, the training workshop was attended by 8 graduate students in the Graduate Program in Cultural Resource Management of the Center for Cultural Resource Studies of Kanazawa University.


3D photographic survey of the Ta Nei Temple in Cambodia

Staff of the ASPARA Authority processing data
3D model produced using SfM. Shown is the west face of the inner gallery at the Ta Nei Temple

 A 3D photogrammetry of the Ta Nei Temple was conducted with staff of the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (ASPARA Authority) from July 21 to 30. The survey was conducted as part of joint research and collaboration with the ASPARA Authority, which is responsible for conserving and managing the Angkor Complex. The goal of the joint research and collaboration is to establish a way to provide an elevation view and document scattered stones around the site based on a 3D photographic survey. This technical support will facilitate basic documentation of theTa Nei Temple, which the ASPARA Authority plans to start conserving over the next few years.
 3D survey techniques are constantly advancing. The current survey attempted a technique known as Structure from Motion (SfM). This technique is noteworthy since it is relatively simple and does not require expensive equipment or software. The site is extensively photographed with a simple camera, like that found in a smartphone, and the image data are processed using open-source software, yielding a 3D model of the site. A model is obtained after a series of steps and its precision has to be further verified, but its level is sufficient to allow its use as basic data.
 In the future, several problems will still need to be resolved in order for the resulting model to be put to practical use as Cambodian management staff use this technique to document the entire temple. Developing countries like Cambodia have difficulty arranging special budgets and equipment for site conservation, but SfM should emerge as a way for local staff to document the state of a site as part of their everyday operations.


On-site training on and a survey of the safeguarding of cultural heritage in Myanmar

On-site training at Bagaya Monastery
Practice preparing materials to conserve murals
Damage to glass mosaic decorations on a Buddhist alter at Shwe Nan Daw Monastery

 As part of the “Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project” commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, on-site training and surveys were conducted from early to mid-June in cooperation with the Department of Archaeology and National Museum (DoA), Ministry of Culture of Myanmar;

 1) A second on-site training course on the conservation of historical wooden buildings was conducted
 The course took place from June 2 to 13. Trainees were 8 staff members with specialties in architecture or archaeology from the main and branch offices of the DoA together with 1 associate professor and 3 students from the Technological University (Mandalay). The course consisted of classroom lectures at the DoA Mandalay branch office and on-site practice at Bagaya Monastery in the suburbs of Mandalay. The trainees learned techniques such as drafting schematic drawings of floor plans, measuring floor unevenness and the tilting of columns, and checking and recording what types of deterioration have occurred and their extent. Training concluded with each group announcing the results of its research. In addition, termite damage (a problem common to wooden buildings in Myanmar) was surveyed by an expert and a preliminary course on termite damage was conducted. Termite damage at Bagaya Monastery has spread to the upper part of the building, and monitoring of this damage commenced with the assistance of the trainees in order to examine effective countermeasures.

 2) Survey of and training on the conservation of murals at brick temple ruins
From June 11 to 17, a survey of the state of murals and conditions indoors at pagoda No.1205 was conducted to continue previous efforts. Damage to murals was mapped during the current survey. The murals are quite sturdy, but the survey revealed damage that must be dealt with in the future, such as the weakening and collapse of murals due to rain leakage and termite nests. In addition, training on the conservation of murals and pest control was conducted at the Bagan Archeological Museum. This training was attended by 6 conservators from the DoA Bagan branch. The trainees were especially interested in practice using restoration materials like adhesives and fillers as well as lectures on pest control and practice controlling pests. Plans are to continue conducting training sessions with more practical content.

 3) Survey on traditional lacquerware techniques
 Surveys were conducted in Bagan and Mandalay from June 11 to 19. The survey in Bagan was conducted in cooperation with the Lacquerware Technical University and Lacquerware Museum under the auspices of the Ministry of Cooperatives. The survey examined insect damage and it studied techniques that were used to produce lacquerware and damage to lacquerware in the museum’s collection. The survey revealed the need for urgent cleaning and the need to improve conditions for exhibition and storage of the pieces. In Mandalay, interviews on lacquer materials produced in Myanmar were conducted. In addition, techniques to produce glass mosaics in conjunction with lacquer decoration were studied at monasteries and shops selling those materials. Lacquer techniques that were used on the outside of the Shwe Nan Daw Monastery were visually inspected along with insect damage. Most of the interior and exterior of this building features lacquer decoration. This inspection revealed that ultraviolet rays and rain had extensively damaged the lacquer decorations.


Symposium: Safeguarding Syria’s cultural heritage

A panel discussion underway

 In April 2011, a large-scale pro-democracy movement developed in Syria, and that groundswell shows no sign of stopping. In actuality, Syria is currently in a state of civil war. There are over 140,000 dead in Syria, and over 4 million people have fled the country.
 Destruction of Syria’s cultural heritage as the civil war unfolds has made major news around the world. World heritage sites that epitomize Syria, such as Aleppo and Krak des Chevaliers, have become battlegrounds, and many ruins have been looted and many museums have been plundered. The illegal export of cultural properties from Syria is an international concern. In light of this situation, UNESCO began efforts to safeguard Syria’s cultural heritage.
 On June 23, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo hosted a symposium on Safeguarding Syria’s Cultural Heritage. At the symposium, presenters reported on the expert meeting, “Rallying the International Community to Safeguard Syria’s Cultural Heritage” that UNESCO had convened from May 26 to 28. In addition, presenters reported on various activities both at home and abroad to safeguard Syria’s cultural heritage.


The 15th Seminar of the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage on Community Involvement in the Management of Cultural Heritage was held

A lecture at the seminar

 On June 26 and 27, the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage (JCIC-Heritage) co-organized a seminar on Community Involvement in the Management of Cultural Heritae with the National Museum of Ethnology. The seminar took place at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and at the International House, Osaka.
 Over the past few years, there has been a clamor for public involvement in the management of cultural heritage in terms of promoting the coexistence of cultural heritage and tourism development. This clamor has arisen at the local, national, and international level, but the problem is that attempts to answer that clamor have not fared well. Given this reality, a seminar on Public Involvement in the Management of Cultural Heritage was held to specifically discuss the local community’s role and potential in terms of the management of cultural heritage.
 A lecture was given by SEKI Yuji, Vice Chairperson of JCIC-Heritage and Chairperson of the Latin America and Caribbean Subcommittee, explaining the purpose of the seminar and the issues in question. Afterwards, examples of the state of management of cultural heritage involving local residents were described by NISHIYAMA Noriaki (Peru), Head of the Hokkaido University Center for Advanced Tourism Studies, YAOITA Kiho (Fiji and Peru), an Appointed Associate Professor of the Hokkaido University Center for Advanced Tourism Studies, MASUDA Kanefusa (Micronesia) of the Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments, and MATSUDA Akira (Italy and the UK), a Lecturer in Japanese Art and Artistic Heritage at the University of East Anglia.
 A panel discussion took place after the lectures. Based on the examples described during the lectures and in light of questions from the audience, panelists actively discussed issues with the concept of community involvement, issues with its implementation, and the potential for community involvement from the perspective of international cooperation. The seminar had around 130 attendees during the 2 days in which it took place. Questions and views were proffered from various perspectives related to the management of cultural heritage, indicating the considerable interest in this topic.


Workshop held on the Conservation of Archaeological Metal Objects in the History Museum of Armenia

Exhibition of workshop achievements at the History Museum of Armenia
The opening ceremony for the exhibition (KAMEI Nobuo, Director General of the Institute, is on the far right)

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation held its 6th workshop at the History Museum of Armenia from May 20 to 27, 2014. This workshop is part of the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. The project is planned to last 4 years, and the aims of the project are capacity building and technical transferring in the conservation of archaeological metal objects. This year is the final year of the project, and the theme of this year’s workshop was “Exhibition in Museums”.
 The workshop was held for 6 experts from Armenia and 2 experts from Georgia and Russia. Japanese experts gave lectures on the case studies of exhibitions at Japanese museum, the effects of light, temperature, and humidity that must be considered during exhibition, the exhibition explanation panels, and materials used for exhibition works. Then, the participants took the lead in displaying the archaeological metal objects that had been conserved in the previous workshops. Not only to publicize the achievement of the joint Armenian-Japanese projects but also to inform the visitors about conservation activities of this project, various opinions regarding the exhibition plan were exchanged among the participants. Specifically, photographs of the object before conservation were displayed beside the conserved objects to show the difference while the slide show depicting every step of the conservation works was shown. More detailed information achieved through the studies on the exhibited objects was included in the brochure. The exhibition preparations finished on the final day of the workshop. The opening ceremony for the exhibition took place on the same day, and both the persons concerned in this project as well as persons not related with the History Museum of Armenia attended the ceremony.
 The workshop has concluded, and a report on the workshop is planned to be published in the future.


UNESCO International Expert Meeting: Rallying the International Community to Safeguard Syria’s Cultural Heritage

General Director of Directorate-General of Antiquities and Museums, Syria reporting on the extent of damage to Syria’s cultural heritage

 In April 2011, a large-scale pro-democracy movement developed in Syria, and that groundswell shows no sign of stopping. In actuality, Syria is currently in a state of civil war. There are over 140,000 dead in Syria, and over 4 million people have fled the country.
 Damage to Syria’s cultural heritage has made major news as the civil war unfolds. World heritage sites that epitomize Syria, such as Aleppo, Palmyra, and Krak des Chevaliers, have become battlegrounds. Many archaeological sites have been looted and many museums have been plundered. The illegal export of cultural properties from Syria is an international concern.
 In light of this situation, UNESCO began a new project, Emergency Safeguarding of Syrian Cultural Heritage, this March to safeguard Syria’s cultural heritage with the support of the EU.
 As part of this project, “International Expert Meeting: Rallying the International Community to Safeguard Syria’s Cultural Heritage” was convened by UNESCO at its headquarters in Paris from May 26 to 28. The meeting was attended by over 120 experts from 22 countries. Two of those experts were YAMAUCHI Kazuya and ABE Masashi from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. The extent of damage to Syria’s cultural heritage was reported at the meeting, and future strategies to safeguard Syria’s cultural heritage were actively discussed.


A survey of the current state of museums and cultural heritage in Sri Lanka after the civil war

Survey in the Jaffna Archaeological Museum
An exchange of opinions at the Office of the Department of Archaeology in Trincomalee

 In February and in May, the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage (JCIC-Heritage) supported surveys of the current state of museums and cultural heritage in Sri Lanka since the civil war. These surveys were part of a cultural cooperation program of the Japan Foundation (project participants: KOIZUMI Yoshihide, Supervisor of Planning in the Department of Planning of the Tokyo National Museum and FUKUYAMA Yasuko, Associate professor in the Faculty of Intercultural Communication of Ryukoku University). The project was implemented on the basis of survey studies on international cooperation of Sri Lanka by JCIC-Heritage in 2012. With the cooperation of the Department of Archaeology of Sri Lanka, exhibits and collections were surveyed and information on conservation of cultural properties was gathered primarily in museums in the north (the Jaffna region) and the northeast (the Trincomalee region). These regions had been affected by a civil war that lasted 26 years (1983–2009). Future strategies for conservation and use of cultural properties since the end of the civil war were discussed.
 For several years, Sri Lanka has worked to establish cultural facilities and develop regions using cultural properties while taking regional characteristics into account. These efforts are led by the Department of Archaeology and they seek to restore regions affected by the civil war. Jaffna is a unique place in Sri Lanka where one can see the religious imprint of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity, and Jaffna retains various cultural heritage sites with surviving buildings from the colonial period. Trincomalee has many vestiges of Buddhism as well as a history as a center of maritime activity and foreign trade. Plans are underway to establish museums and cultural centers by reusing historic buildings in both regions to appeal to domestic and foreign visitors. That said, the regions face numerous problems in terms of managing cultural properties in existing museums, exhibiting those properties, and personnel to exhibit them. Survey participants provided instructions and suggestions on exhibition plans and management techniques as they exchanged opinions with local personnel.
 Sri Lanka has just begun local development that draws on cultural properties in regions that have survived a civil war. The Department of Archaeology needs foreign support in the form of dispatched experts, instruction of personnel, and funds. JCIC-Heritage hopes to continue exploring the potential for cooperation in order to help the regions recover.


Participation in “Starting with the Days of the Nara Palace: A Fashion Show of Asuka & Tempyo Attire”

The fashion show underway
Group photo

 On May 8, an event entitled “Starting with the Days of the Nara Palace: A Fashion Show of Asuka & Tempyo Attire” took place in the Heiseikan of the Tokyo National Museum (organizers: Asuka Mura, the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan, the Tokyo National Museum, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, and Asahi Shimbun, Collaborator: the Nakagawa Laboratory of the Graduate School of Creative Science and Engineering of Waseda University). The event was related to a special exhibit of Wall Paintings from the Kitora Tumuli that took place at the Tokyo National Museum from April 22 to May 18, 2014. Models for the event included 13 members of the staff of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. This valuable experience of wearing ancient handmade attire was a first. All of the clothing was made by hand by ancient attire researcher YAMAGUCHI Chiyoko (who arranged the Tempyo attire). The historical setting of the Imperial Palace in Nara in year 3 of the Wadou era (710) was splendidly recreated thanks to planning and staging by SUGIYAMA Hiroshi, Head of the Department of Planning and Coordination of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties.
 Acting as a model, I experienced joyous anticipation and elation as I joined my fellow models in setting the stage while dreaming of the ancient world. As I wore beautiful clothes, had my hair coiffured, and adorned myself with numerous accessories, I was able to envision how people from the long-gone Imperial court conducted themselves. However, my imagination had its limits and I was reminded again of the difficulty of studying history. The experience was visceral. I would like to express my appreciation to everyone involved for all of their hard work. I hope to tackle history with a renewed interest.


Lobby Exhibition on Traditional Japanese Techniques to Conserve Cultural Properties Overseas

Exhibition in the Lobby
Image of part of the exhibition “Painting” Azurite pigment applied to silk

 Research results and projects have been periodically publicized in the Institute’s entrance lobby on the 1st floor. This time, the exhibition shows materials and techniques that are indispensable to create, appreciate, restore and conserve paintings and calligraphic works. The exhibition was planned by the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, and all of the images were taken by SHIRONO Seiji of the Image Laboratory of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems. The exhibition panel has been fashioned into a long hand scroll so that the visitors may realize that cultural properties are made with various materials and techniques The scroll is 1.15 m tall and 14 m long and it has a cover as well as a roller rod according to the Japanese traditional mounting method. Large photos depict moments that highlight the qualities of materials and techniques—such as the overlapping of paper fibers to produce a single sheet of paper, the crushing of rock and its refinement into powder for use as a bright pigment, and the methodical preparing and spreading of paste. In addition, actual samples of Washi, silk for painting, pigments, karakami and tools of conservation works are displayed in the showcases. Techniques to produce materials and conservation tools as well as techniques to restore cultural properties described in the exhibition must be preserved. In Japan, these techniques are designated as Important Intangible Cultural Properties or Selected Conservation Techniques by the Japanese Government. On the other hand, techniques and materials that have been cultivated in Japan are widely known for their usefulness and are applied for the restoration of cultural properties in foreign countries. The Institute also conducts international training projects in order to encourage a correct understanding of Japanese restoration techniques and materials. We hope visitors may learn that the world’s cultural properties are being protected by Japan’s exceptional traditional techniques to hand them down to future generations.


The 2013 General Assembly of the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage convened and the 14th seminar on “International Trends in Safeguarding Cultural Heritage” was held.

Lecture underway

 The 2013 General Assembly of the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage was convened on March 7th. The Secretariat General reported on Consortium projects in 2013 and projects planned for the coming year. This was followed by the 14th Seminar, which started with a keynote lecture by ANDO Hiroyasu, President of the Japan Foundation, entitled “International Cooperation and Exchange through Culture―In View of Mutual Relationship.” Afterwards, four other lectures described recent trends in the safeguarding of cultural heritage with a focus on discussion at the international conferences that took place last year.
 MOTONAKA Makoto, senior researcher of cultural properties in the Monuments and Sites Division of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, delivered a lecture on the evaluation process prior to the inscription of Mt. Fuji on the World Heritage list along with issues arising after its inscription. FUTAGAMI Yoko, Head of the Research Information Section of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems, reported on the deliberations that took place at the 8th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee on the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Ms. FUTAGAMI also described issues discussed by the Committee and recent topics concerning the Convention. KURIHARA Yuji, Secretary General of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, described Japan’s campaign to host the ICOM General Assembly and prospects for the future. Last but not least, MAEDA Kosaku, Vice Chairperson of the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage, gave a presentation regarding the 12th Expert Working Group Meeting on the Safeguarding of the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, Afghanistan. The meeting took place last year in Orvieto, Italy.
 The topic of international trends in safeguarding cultural heritage is usually brought up at seminars each year, and this year’s seminar had more than 100 attendees. Information on recent trends is greatly needed. The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage will continue its efforts to share information through seminars.


Restorers of wall paintings from Myanmar were invited to attend training in Japan

Training underway (Restoration of tomb mural paintings is being described)

 As part of the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project in 2013 commissioned by the Agency of Cultural Affairs, 2 conservators of mural paintings from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar were invited to visit Japan from February 3 to February 7. During the first half of the visit, the restorers took part in training to restore mural paintings. This training took the form of a tour of a restoration studio that restores Japanese paintings and books, lectures on mural paintings restored in Japan, and lectures on materials and techniques used to restore mural paintings in Japanese tombs and practice using those materials and techniques. During the second half of the visit, the restorers viewed mural paintings in temples in Kyoto and Nara. During the tour, the restorers observed the mural paintings they had heard about in lectures close up, and restoration materials and techniques used in Japan and Myanmar were actively discussed. The visitors’ strong drive to restore mural paintings in Myanmar was apparent. Conducting similar training in the future and inviting conservators of mural paintings from Myanmar should buttress cooperation between Japan and Myanmar with regard to restoring mural paintings.


to page top