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.
|■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|
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.
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.
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.
As part of the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan, the first session of training in conservation of wooden architecture took place in Mandalay and Innwa from February 4th to 12th. The training focused on wooden monastery buildings from the Konbaung Dynasty since these traditional buildings have yet to be adequately safeguarded in Myanmar. Training covered topics germane to proper conservation of those buildings, such as basic surveys, recording and sketching the building, and formulation of conservation management and restoration plans. Training is intended for young to mid-career staff of the Department of Archaeology and National Museum of the Ministry of Culture, Myanmar, and plans are to conduct 5 training sessions in total over a period of 3 years. The first training session had 11 trainees. After receiving basic lectures on architectural history, conservation history, and systems of protecting cultural properties, the trainees sketched and surveyed the layout of the Bagaya Monastery in Innwa as preliminary steps towards a building survey.
Japan has amassed a wealth of expertise and experience conserving and restoring historic wooden structures, but Myanmar’s traditional building techniques and patterns have not been adequately studied. Many questions remain. How were ancient buildings designed and built and systems of measurement were used? With these questions in mind, the training sessions seek to historically reappraise wooden architecture in Myanmar through surveys conducted with the trainees. The trainees are highly motivated, and they should gain needed expertise and insight through future training sessions.
Invitation program to Japan for personnel from the Ministry of Culture, Myanmar and a seminar on the protection of cultural heritage
Three personnel from the Department of Archaeology and National Museum of the Ministry of Culture, Myanmar were invited to visit Japan from February 17 to 22. On the 18th, a seminar was held at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo to follow-up on last year’s Seminar on the Current Situation of and Issues Concerning the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Myanmar. In addition, the visitors from Myanmar viewed different categories of cultural heritage in the Kanto and Kansai regions (such as buildings, artworks and handicrafts, historic sites, and districts for preservation of important traditional buildings). The visitors also heard from and talked with staff who are in charge of conservation and management of each site.
During the Seminar, 3 representatives from Myanmar delivered presentations primarily on efforts to safeguard cultural heritage that they were involved in. The representatives described the progress of excavations and the state of site conservation in ancient Pyu cities, plans for site management of Beikthano-Myo and public education campaigns, and restoration and repair work at the Bagaya Monastery in Innwa, and the representatives also furnished a number of photographs. Representing Japan were 3 experts from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and Nara. The Japanese experts described the progress of cooperative projects between Japan and Myanmar and prospects for the future. The seminar also featured an active question-and-answer session.
During their tour of cultural heritage facilities in Japan, the representatives from Myanmar visited the Tokyo National Museum, the Archaeological Park of Otsuka and Saikachido, the Yokohama History Museum, Ninna-ji Temple, Horyu-ji Temple, the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, the Site of Heijo Palace, the Miyama District for Preservation of Important Traditional Buildings in the City of Nantan, Kyoto Prefecture, the Imashirozuka Tomb and Museum of Ancient History, and Remains of the Shin-ike Haniwa (clay figure) Production Site. The visitors gained a better understanding of the current safeguarding of Japan’s cultural heritage.
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
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) has conducted training workshops on Documentation, Excavation, Conservation, and Site Management in the Kyrgyz Republic since 2011. This program was commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan in order to safeguard the cultural heritage of Central Asia.
From February 10 to 15, 2014, the JCICC jointly conducted its 6th workshop, a Training Workshop on Conservation of Excavated Objects, with the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage of the National Academy of Sciences, Kyrgyz Republic.
During the workshop, trainees brought in archeological objects that had been excavated in the Kyrgyz Republic. Guided by experts, the trainees conserved these objects. A new element was added to the workshop in which trainees practiced Creating Replicas of Archeological Objects.
The 6th workshop was attended by 8 young Kirgiz experts who had attended all of the previous workshops. In addition, Professor Kubatbek TABALDIEV of Kyrgyzstan-Turkey Manas University brought students with him to observe the workshop. The workshop ended a great success.
The JCICC plans to continue conducting various training workshops in the future in order to safeguard the cultural heritage of Central Asia.
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) conducted the 3rd international workshop at the History Museum of Armenia from January 15th–21st and also 5th domestic workshop at the Museum from January 24th–25th. This project was a part of the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan.
During the international workshop, the international seminar was held on the 15th and 16th. In addition to Armenian experts, 7 experts on the metal conservation were invited to Armenia from 6 countries including Japan, Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. Armenian archeologists researching on the Armenian archaeological metal objects were invited for the lectures. The attendees discussed the topic of “Preventive Conservation.”
The attendees gave presentations on the study of Armenian metal objects as well as on the present situation of museums and preventive conservation in their own countries. These seminars helped to exchange of information and establish networks. The seminars were followed by the lectures and the practical training provided by Japanese experts to 7 Armenian experts and 6 experts from the 5 countries such as Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. It lasted for 3 days ending on the 21st. Attendees learned about the environmental control in museums, integrated pest management (IPM), and the methods of materials testing for the exhibition and storage.
The domestic workshop for Armenian experts had 7 attendees. Attendees established plans for the exhibition of the metal objects that had been conserved in the previous workshops and they began to prepare for the exhibition.
The next workshop will cover the topic of exhibition in museums. Plans are to present the achievement throughout this project by holding the exhibition.
Survey of Meiku Shoukei (Views of Famous Places) in the collection of the National Gallery of Armenia
The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo has continually surveyed Japanese artworks in collections overseas. However, the fact that there are Japanese artworks in collections in the Caucasus region, a region ranging from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea, has only recently come to light. In November 2012, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted surveys of Japanese artworks in Armenia and Georgia and the Center determined the location of these artworks. The Center deemed that more detailed surveys were needed, so with a grant from the Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research a survey was scheduled for 3 days starting on January 15, 2014. TSUDA Takako, a curator from the Nagoya City Museum, assisted the survey in regard to ukiyo-e (paintings and woodblock prints for popular consumption). Meiku Shokei in the National Gallery of Armenia (denoted here as the version in Armenia) consists of 29 prints of scenes that are each 8.1 cm high and 11.8 cm wide. As Ms. TSUDA explained, the version in Armenia is based on illustrations from the first volume of Meiku Shoukei, printed from woodblocks and published in 1847. Meiku Shoukei was done by ODAGIRI Shunko, an artist and feudal retainer of the Owari Domain. The work was done entirely by hand, from planning to painting and publishing. The work compiles kanshi (Chinese-style poems), waka (Japanese poems), and haikai (playful poems) that weresolicited from different places and that relate to scenic sites around Nagoya along with original paintings. Authors of the poems are listed at the end of the work. Compared to Meiku Shoukei in the collection of the Nagoya City Museum, the version in Armenia is a revised version of the work that includes explanations of each scene at the top of each print. The version in Armenia was apparently purchased by the National Gallery from an individual collector in 1937, though the work has remained in its collection without any information on its name, artist, or year of production. Interesting questions are how these block prints of famous places ended up in Armenia and how Japanese artworks are received overseas. Plans are to consolidate survey details into a report to help spur future research.
The 4th Training Course in Architectural Surveying at the temple of Ta Nei in Angkor, Cambodia was conducted over about a week from January 17th to 24th. This program began last year, and the 4th training course marks the final course. Trainees were 9 Cambodian young staff members specializing in architecture or archeology from the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (ASPARA), the National Authority for Preah Vihear (NAPV), and JAPAN-APSARA Safeguarding Angkor (JASA, a team combining the Japanese Government Team for Safeguarding Angkor and the ASPARA Authority).
The topics of the last course were surveys of large trees on the site and photogrammetry. Trainees completed the site plan that had been started during the 1st course, as well as learned new techniques to record various elements of the site as preparation for future site management including creation of risk maps of this site. Using Total Station and dedicated software for photogrammetry to create 3D photo records of walls with carvings and scattered stones. Through these works, we also discussed the topic of how to use this kind of information to manage the site in the future. On the final day of the course, each trainee gave a presentation on his or her findings, and trainees smiled as they received certificates for completing the 2 years program.
Ta Nei is one of the important sites in Angkor that has received little intervention until now, and many issues remain regarding the site management. This program has imparted basic survey skills to Cambodian staff managing the site and it represents the first step in helping them preserve the site for future generations. The training courses in architectural surveying are now finished, but plans are to continue providing technical assistance and to continue research exchanges.
UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust Project, “Support for Documentation Standards and Procedures of the Silk Roads World Heritage Serial Transnational Nomination Dossier within the Framework of the Silk Roads World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination”: Uzbek Workshop and Sub-Regional Closing Meeting
Five countries in Central Asia and China have been involved in various efforts to nominate cultural heritage sites along the Silk Roads as World Heritage Sites in 2014. To support these efforts, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) has participated in UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust Project, “Support for Documentation Standards and Procedures of the Silk Roads World Heritage Serial Transnational Nomination Dossier within the Framework of the Silk Roads World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination”: Uzbek Workshop and Sub-Regional Closing Meeting for 3 years since 2011 and JCICC has conducted various training workshops in countries in Central Asia.
This workshop marks the final training workshop. The workshop was conducted from December 1st to 3rd in Tashkent, Uzbekistan at the UNESCO Office in Tashkent. Training covered Photographic Surveys of Cultural Heritage Sites. Fourteen young experts participated in the training.
Once the training workshop concluded, We attended the sub-regional closing meeting of the project that took place in Tashkent on December 4th and 5th. The meeting reviewed the training program conducted by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the University College London in countries of Central Asia. Representatives from different countries asked that training be conducted in the future as well. They specifically asked that training related to Surveys of Historical Buildings, Preservation of Sites, and Management of Cultural Heritage be conducted.
Project to support the World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination of the Silk Roads (a UNESCO/Japanese Funds-In-Trust project): Personnel training in the Republic of Tajikistan
To help safeguard the Bamiyan site in Afghanistan, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties actively initiated a project to preserve the site starting in 2003. This project was instituted in conjunction with UNESCO and research institutes at home and abroad. Local Afghani experts and experts from different countries gather, and meetings have been conducted annually to present the results of the preservation project that year and to discuss policies for the years to come. In 2013, a meeting co-organized by UNESCO and the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research took place on December 10-11th in the City of Orvieto, Italy.
The meeting was attended by experts from Afghanistan, Italy, Germany, France, and Belgium as well as experts from international bodies like UNESCO, ICOMOS, UNOPS, and the World Bank. The meeting was also attended by Japanese experts from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Wako University, the University of Tsukuba, and Mukogawa Women’s University. Discussion centered on the current state of ongoing preservation of the Bamiyan mural paintings and fragments of the giant Buddha statues. In 2013, a German team installed “Feet”-like structures to ensure the safety of visitors of the Eastern Buddha statue. Experts from different countries presented various views as to the potential to use this structure to help rebuild the giant Buddha statue. Other topics that were discussed in detail were an envisioned museum/cultural center (Japan began actively submitting plans last year), the current status of preservation efforts that started in 2013 at sites around Bamiyan (such as Shahr-e Zohak and Shahr-e Gholghola), problems harmonizing economic development and protection of cultural heritage, and the current state of safeguarding of other cultural heritage sites in Afghanistan (such as the minarets in Herat).
International training in Paper Conservation in Latin America was conducted jointly by the Institute, ICCROM, and INAH (Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History) as part of the ICCROM-LATAM Program (conservation of cultural heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean). Training took place at the INAH from November 6th to 22th and was attended by 9 experts in conserving cultural properties from 8 countries: Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Spain, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Peru, and Mexico.
Training sought to provide attendees with basic knowledge of traditional Japanese paper, adhesives, and tools. It also sought to enhance attendees’ understanding of Japanese mounting and restoration techniques by having them practice reinforcing, infilling, and lining using actual Japanese paper, adhesives, and tools. The first half of the training consisted of lectures by Japanese experts on materials and tools used in mounting and restoration techniques and then practice by the attendees. In the latter half of the training, lecturers from Mexico, Spain, and Argentina with experience conserving works using mounting and restoration techniques described how Japanese materials, tools, and techniques were actually used to restore cultural properties in Europe and the US, and then attendees practiced those techniques. Given the likelihood that Japanese mounting and restoration techniques will be used to conserve cultural heritage in different countries, plans are to conduct similar training sessions in the future as well.
Project to support the World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination of the Silk Roads (a UNESCO/Japanese Funds-In-Trust project): Personnel training in the Republic of Tajikistan
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) has been commissioned by UNESCO to provide support for nomination of World Heritage sites in Central Asia along the Silk Road. Since 2012, JCICC has conducted a series of training workshops on documentation of cultural heritage in Central Asia and the Republic of Tajikistan.
Following a workshop in 2012, a second training workshop was conducted jointly with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan. The workshop took place from November 7 to 14, 2013. Training during the workshop took place on-site at the Hulbuk site, a medieval fortified town nominated as a World Heritage site. On-site training was conducted by experts from Japan, and training consisted of surveys using equipment (total stations), documentation using CAD, analyses using GPS and GIS.
Trainees participating in the second workshop were 9 young Tajik experts. Of these experts, 2 were from the National Museum of Antiquities, 2 were from the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences, 1 was from Historical and Cultural Reserve “Hissar”, 3 were from the Hulbuk Museum, and 1 was from the Kulob Museum. Through intensive lectures and practice over a period of about a week, participants planned and implemented surveys to document sites and they learned specialized processes used to analyze the survey results. Participants also learned how to use survey equipment and GPS devices that had been donated for use in the project. This experience and the equipment that was provided will help participants who completed the training to study, safeguard, and document cultural properties in their country. JCICC plans to conduct various training workshops to safeguard the cultural heritage of Central Asia in the future as well.
28th General Assembly of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties (ICCROM)
From November 27 to 29, 2013, Director General KAMEI Nobuo, KAWANOBE Wataru, and SAKAINO Asuka of the Institute attended the 28th General Assembly of ICCROM in Rome, Italy. The decision to found ICCROM was made at the 9th UNESCO General Conference in 1956. This intergovernmental organization has been headquartered in Rome since 1959. ICCROM works to conserve a wide range of cultural heritage, both movable and immovable. The Institute has specifically helped with these efforts by conducting training in the conservation of paper and laquerware.
The General Assembly meets biennially. At this meeting of the General Assembly, 13 new members of ICCROM’s Council were elected to replace members who had completed their terms. Serving Council members from 12 countries (United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Canada, South Korea, Greece, Guatemala, Sweden, China, Tunisia, Japan, Brazil, and France) have been joined by newly elected Council members from the US, India, Egypt, Switzerland, Sudan, Spain, Tanzania, Chile, Germany, Bahrain, the Philippines, Belgium, and Mexico. The meeting of the General Assembly also reiterated to Member States the need for ICCROM to improve its finances. Japan’s monetary contribution is second only to that of the US, and Japan is cognizant of the severity of this problem. Hopes are that the new Council will consider specific approaches so that ICCROM can continue its activities in the future.
From September 19th to October 14th, conservation works were conducted at the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan to the wall painting fragments excavated from the Khulbuk site. These wall painting fragments are assumed to have been produced in the early Islamic period. Since a limited number of wall paintings of this era have been found, this wall painting is very important from historical and art historical points of view in Tajikistan. NRICPT has been earnestly conserving the wall painting fragments since 2010.
The wall paintings were excavated in fragments. When conservation work initially began, paint layers and the white plaster layer as a ground were extremely fragile. In the previous projects, the work such as consolidating the paint layers, jointing broken fragments together, and attaching a new backing had been carried out. This year, artificial renders imitating earthen plaster were applied on the backs of wall painting fragments for further stabilization.
By this operation, the fragments in the various thicknesses were standardized to the same thickness, and it allowed the surface height of the fragment consistent for exhibition. Moreover, the defective and joint parts of fragments were filled with gypsum-based grout. The filling surface of the fragments was painted regarding the color balance of the whole painting which consequently made the image easier to see. In the future, plans are to explore ways to safely exhibit the fragments at the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan.
Part of this conservation project was undertaken with a Sumitomo Foundation Grant for the Preservation and Conservation of Foreign Cultural Properties.
Since 2003, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has conducted the ‘Safeguarding of the Bamiyan Site’ project in close cooperation with the Ministry of Information and Culture, Afghanistan and Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Japan. Our mission was on hold for three years after 2010 due to security issues in Afghanistan, but a short-term 11th mission was finally dispatched from September 28th to October 6th of this year.
This mission sought to compensate for the 3-year hiatus by confirming the current state of cultural heritage and landscape in the region. This work involved five activities. First, the state of the Buddhist caves and mural paintings was surveyed. Second, environmental data from the past few years, including meteorological data from the Bamiyan Valley and temperature and humidity data from the caves, were collected. Third, general surveys of archaeological sites in the Bamiyan and Foladi Valleys were conducted. A survey of the Foladi Valley revealed a new Buddhist cave that might date to the latter half of the 6th century AD. Fourth, basic information on the landscape at a planned museum construction site was collected. The site is to be the home of a new Bamiyan museum constructed with the help of Mukogawa Women’s University, Japan. Fifth and finally, lectures on the history and culture of the Bamiyan site and previous conservation activities at the site were conducted for students of Bamiyan University, attracting a considerable number of attendees.
The one-week mission yielded limited results, but the fundamental data obtained will serve as the basis for a research plan for the next mission. In addition, the considerable interest of students in the Bamiyan site promises the appearance of a new generation of ‘guardians’ of cultural heritage in Afghanistan.
As part of the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo conducted a survey on safeguarding Myanmar’s cultural heritage in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar from October 23rd to November 1st. Among the art and craft works in Myanmar, the mission surveyed temple mural paintings and lacquerware. Institute personnel were accompanied and assisted by personnel from the Department of Archaeology, National Museum, and Library of Myanmar’s Ministry of Culture and university staff.
During a survey of temple mural paintings in Bagan, mural paintings in a hall in pagoda No.1205, a Buddhist monument scheduled for surveying and conservation by Japan and Myanmar, were imaged and the state of damage to those paintings was surveyed. In addition, humidity and temperature recorders were set up inside and outside the hall at pagoda No. 1205 for environmental monitoring to ascertain meteorological conditions that might cause the mural paintings to deteriorate.
Meteorological equipment was also set up at the site of the Bagan Branch of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum, and Library of Myanmar’s Ministry of Culture. In the future, plans are to collect and analyze data and devise policies for conservation of mural paintings in concert with personnel from the Bagan Branch of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum, and Library.
During a survey of lacquerware in Mandalay, studios making items such as kamawaza (religious texts drew on lacquer) , glass mosaics, dry lacquerware, and begging bowls (used by priests to collect alms) were visited to observe the techniques and materials currently used to produce lacquerware in Myanmar and interview craftsmen. In Bagan, raw materials for bamboo crafts were studied and all of the ancient lacquerware in the museum of the Bagan College of Lacquerware Technology was surveyed. Plans are to continue conducting similar surveys in the future.
Pro-democracy movements in the Middle East that originated from the Arab Spring have caused major changes in the Arab world. A large-scale democracy movement began in Syria in April 2011, and where this swell will lead is not known. The nation is currently in a de facto state of civil war. Syria has already experienced over 100,000 deaths, and many citizens have been forced to flee. Opposition is growing as Syrians flee to neighboring countries, and there appears to be no end in sight to the conflict.
As the civil war unfolds, the destruction of cultural heritage has again captured headlines around the world. Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, is renowned as an ancient capital with scenic views, but the city has been home to severe fighting during the war. Cultural heritage is at great risk, as evinced by the burning of historical souqs (markets or bazaars) that led the city to be inscribed as a World Heritage Site and destruction of the much of the Ancient City of Aleppo. In light of continued fighting, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee placed all 6 of the World Heritage sites in Syria on the List of World Heritage in Danger on June 20, 2013.
In light of these circumstances, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo hosted a symposium on “Syria’s Recovery and Its Cultural Heritage” on October 31st with the backing of the Japanese Society for West Asian Archaeology.
During the symposium, presentations were given by 9 experts, including Dr. Youssef KANJOU, the current Director of Antiquities and Museums of Aleppo. Presentations covered the Current State and Future Direction of the Syrian Civil War, Syria’s History and Cultural Heritage, the Extent of Destruction of Cultural Heritage by the Syrian Civil War, and Restoration of Cultural Heritage and National Recovery. A panel discussion followed the presentations, where the topic of What Should Be Done to Restore Syria’s Cultural Heritage Now and in the Future was actively discussed.
Symposium held on“Future of the World Heritage – Preservation of the World Heritage and Japanese International Cooperation.”
The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage (“JCIC-Heritage”) hosts a symposium each year for the general public. This year, the Symposium was held in the U Thant International Conference Hall of the United Nations University on October 26, 2013. The Symposium was entitled the “Future of the World Heritage – Preservation of the World Heritage and Japanese International Cooperation” (sponsors: JCIC-Heritage, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan).
In recent years, interest in World Heritage has grown. Japan is increasingly expected to internationally cooperate in safeguarding cultural heritage in order to safeguard World Heritage around the globe. This symposium described Japan’s international cooperation with regard to World Heritage sites such as Angkor in Cambodia and Bamiyan in Afghanistan. In addition, Japanese experts who have worked at those sites reported various issues faced by each of those World Heritage sites. The symposium was home to a discussion of the future forms of Japan’s international cooperation.
The keynote lecture was given by Kishore Rao, Director of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre. He described the issues with and prospects for safeguarding cultural heritage via the credible international framework provided by the World Heritage Convention over the past 40 years.
Instances of safeguarding cultural heritage and international cooperation around the world were reported. A report on Cambodia was given by ISHIZAWA Yoshiaki, chairperson of JCIC-Heritage, a report on Honduras was given by TERASAKI Shuichiro, a member of the Latin America and Caribbean Subcommittee of JCIC-Heritage, a report on Egypt was given by KONDO Jiro, a member of the West Asia Subcommittee of JCIC-Heritage, and a report on Afghanistan was given by MAEDA Kosaku, vice-chairperson of JCIC-Heritage.
SEKI Yuji, chairperson of the Latin America and Caribbean Subcommittee of JCIC-Heritage, moderated a panel discussion after the reports. An active discussion developed regarding the strengths of and future issues with Japan’s international cooperation to safeguard cultural heritage around the world.
This symposium included many reports on Japan’s international cooperation to safeguard cultural heritage and was well-received by attendees in a wider age range than usual. JCIC-Heritage will continue to create opportunities to encourage more members of the general public to take an interest in problems related to safeguarding cultural heritage.
UNESCO Japanese Fund-in Trust Project “Preservation of the Cultural Heritage Complex of Thang Long, Hanoi”
A project to preserve the Thang Long Imperial Citadel site, a World Cultural Heritage located in the heart of Vietnam’s capital city, has been undertaken by the NRICPT, commissioned by the UNESCO Office in Hanoi to spearhead Japanese efforts, since 2010. The project is scheduled to conclude at the end of this year. The following efforts were undertaken at the site since the latter half of last year.
a) GIS training workshops (December 27-28, 2012, May 15–18, 2013, September 10, 2013)
Selected staff of the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Centre received training from both Japanese and Vietnamese experts to establish a geographic information system (GIS) to manage cultural properties. Attendees learned various topics including basic concepts of using a GIS to manage cultural properties, correcting the base map using measurement points on-site, and ways to create a data base. This training has allowed staff to conduct basic operations themselves.
b) The second workshop on archaeological artifacts (January 23–24, 2013)
A workshop was co-organized by the NRICPT and the TL Centre in cooperation with the Institute of Archaeology, Imperial City Research Center, and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. The workshop focused on the study of ancient roofing techniques by comparing roof tiles unearthed from the site with those found in Japan. Experts from both countries exchanged their knowledge and opinions, and they also visited excavations at the ancient temple and traces of ceramic kilns.
c) Workshop on sociological assessment (March 4, 2013)
A workshop on socio-economical assessment of the value of the Thang Long site was co-organized by the NRICPT with the TL Centre and Institute of Vietnamese Studies and Development Sciences, Hanoi National University (IVIDES). Experts from both countries gave presentations based on survey results and interviews with relevant individuals. The experts actively discussed their views on the future use of the site.
d) Survey of buildings from the colonial period (May 20–24, 2013)
Historical military buildings that were built during French colonial rule at the Thang Long site were surveyed with the TL Centre staff. Together, a new survey and supplementary surveys surveyed 7 buildings in order to prepare accurate documentation of the current status of these buildings, which have value as cultural properties, as basic data for management of cultural properties. Plans are to publish survey drawings, including those of 10 previously surveyed buildings, and to offer the digital data to the TL Centre.
e) Field study on the preservation of excavated remains (August 8–9, 2013)
At the excavation site, monitoring data were collected from sensors that have measured moisture migration in the soil where archaeological remains are located. Preserved bricks that had been subjected to an outdoor exposure test were also recovered for analysis of the test results. In addition, local staff members were given lectures on the use of equipment and materials and methods of data analysis to enable them to make similar measurements even though the current project has concluded.
f) Symposium on overall achievements of the project (September 11–12, 2013)
A symposium was held to bring together experts in charge of different portions of the project and other relevant personnel. The symposium served as a forum to summarize achievements of the project thus far and to exchange opinions on issues with an eye towards the future. Nine presentations were made in this two-day symposium with more than 60 participants from both countries and the UNESCO Office in Hanoi. The symposium, which was also one of the events to commemorate 2013 as the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Year, allowed participants to reaffirm the significance of the site in different terms and to sense the extensive achievements of the project firsthand, including studies on appropriate conservation efforts, planning site management, and teaching and training personnel to create a system to preserve and manage the Thang Long site. Japanese personnel are currently working, together with their Vietnamese counterparts, to publish a final project report by the end of the year.