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 13th seminar on “Developing a New Partnership for a Comprehensive Approach to International Cooperation for Cultural Heritage Protection” was held.

Panel Discussion

 The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage (JCIC-Heritage) held its 13th Seminar, “Developing a new partnership for a comprehensive approach to international cooperation for cultural heritage protection” on Thursday, September 5, 2013, at the Independent Administrative Institution National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. Efforts by private organizations to protect cultural heritage have increasingly garnered public attention, but there are few opportunities to hear and discuss the principles and objectives of those organizations. Given this situation, JCIC-Heritage recognized the need to consider cooperation with various private organizations and the need to discern their efforts in different academic disciplines, thus leading JCIC-Heritage to hold this Seminar.
 OGIWARA Yasuko , Executive Secretary of the Kigyo Mécénat Kyogikai (KMK, Association for Corporate Support of the Arts), started the seminar with a lecture entitled “Corporate Support of Art and Culture: Its Varied Forms and Current State” that focused on a review of activities by the Mécénat in which their corporate members played a central role. Ms. Ogiwara also analyzed the current state of those activities and she described recent changes and the potential for future activities by the Mécénat.
 HIRAO Kashuku , the head of corporate social responsibility (CSR) at Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co., Ltd., gave a lecture entitled “Art Conservation Projects by Bank of America Merrill Lynch .” Ms. Hirao described projects to protect cultural properties implemented with the cooperation of the Tokyo National Museum. She also explained the significance and objectives of CSR activities by companies and the ripple effects of projects resulting from partnerships.
 MINO Yasuhisa , Executive Director at the Sumitomo Foundation, gave a lecture entitled “Grants from the Sumitomo Foundation for Projects to Protect, Restore, and Preserve Cultural Properties.” Mr. Mino described the background for the Foundation’s establishment, its characteristics, and his experience with grants for projects to protect cultural heritage over the past 20 years.
 SHIMA Nobuhiko, a journalist, moderated a panel discussion including all of the speakers as well as KOMIYA Hiroshi , Senior director at the Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research. This discussion provided an opportunity to consider future actors working to protect cultural heritage. A wide range of topics was discussed, including the difficulties of continuing projects and their importance, economic conditions and the nature of support, partnerships formed by project participants, and leadership needed to manage projects.


3rd Training Course in Architectural Surveying at the Temple of Ta Nei in Angkor, Cambodia

A topographical survey underway at the temple site
Combining a contour map and a survey map of architectural remains

 The 3rd training course in architectural surveying was conducted over a 2 week-period from July 22 to August 2 at the temple of Ta Nei at Angkor in Cambodia. This training is planning for younger staff members of 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), which are all responsible for managing ancient monuments in the Kingdom of Cambodia. The participants are specialists in architecture and archaeology, and in this 3rd course nine trainees including 1 new staff participated.
 As we finished recording the temple layout within the first and second enclosure walls by the previous courses, the 3rd course began with a traverse survey for making reference points to measure architectural remains and topography within the third enclosure wall. By using these points as reference also for a topographical survey that included the third enclosure wall with the east and west gopuras and the moat outside of the second enclosure wall. The trainees were divided into 2 groups to conduct the survey, and in the end, all of them could create a contour map and a 3D model of the area within the third enclosure wall by using these measuring data. The trainees appeared to be highly motivated to take on challenges: as the trainees who had attended the previous courses had almost mastered basic steps in surveying architectural remains and plotting, they could teach to their fellow trainees even when they encountered something they did not know. In addition, on the final day of the course, all of the trainees gave presentations on the topic of surveying and drawing of architectural remains for the conservation, describing their own part in site work and exchanging opinions on the prospects for the future.
 This training course is not simply to provide technical methods in archaeological surveying from Japan to Cambodia. Rather, the course has also steadily encouraged exchanges among Cambodian trainees themselves. We continue the cooperative projects with the hope that younger personnel who will be responsible for the future of sites in Cambodia grow through such efforts.


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

Extracting core samples from a test specimen made of rammed earth
Interview with craftsmen at Yuta Goempa

 Commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan, this project aims to understand and preserve construction techniques used to build traditional buildings in Bhutan in particularly rammed earth houses and temples, and to assess and improve their earthquake-proofing and safety. The project began last year with the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites, Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, Bhutan, as a counterpart, with whom the Japanese experts have jointly studied and tested on building techniques, structures and materials undertaking in such a way research exchanges and human resource development.
 The first field survey this year was conducted from June 21 to July 3 involving 9 experts from Japan. Test specimens of rammed earth for materials strength tests were prepared using traditional construction techniques, as well as construction studies and micro-tremors measurement were conducted at several temples, houses and ruins in the districts of Thimphu, Wangdue Phodrang and Paro. In addition, the experts visited a rammed earth temple damaged by the last earthquake being restored, and sites where rammed earth residences are being constructed. Through interviews with craftsmen, the experts gathered information on the current state of restoration of heritage buildings and construction techniques.
 Over the past few years, such traditional buildings have rapidly disappeared from the capital of Thimphu. However, the survey also revealed that some Bhutanese wish to somehow pass on the techniques they have inherited from their forefathers to future generations. We hope to continue providing technical support and conducting personnel exchanges so that Bhutan can properly preserve those techniques, which represent part of the country’s cultural heritage.


Workshop on the “Conservation of Japanese Paper and Silk Cultural Properties”

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

 This workshop is held annually as a part of the Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas. This year, it was held at the Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin, with the basic course, “Japanese paper and silk cultural properties,” from July 3rd through the 5th, and with the applied course, “Restoration of Japanese folding screens,” from July 8th through the 12th.
 The basic course covered the process from production of a cultural property to its appearance before the public, i.e. its creation, mounting, exhibition, and viewing. Lectures, demonstrations, and training were conducted regarding materials such as paper, pigments, paste, and animal glue, techniques of creating Japanese paintings and calligraphy, aspects of mounting, and handling of cultural properties.
 The applied course included a workshop primarily on practice restoring a folding screen using traditional conservation techniques. Attendees actually produced wooden lattice undercores, which are then covered with multiple layers of paper to create a folding screen, and paper hinges that join panels of the folding screen.
 This workshop seeks to offer the opportunity to understand Japanese tangible cultural properties such as paintings and calligraphic works to thus broaden understanding of intangible cultural properties as well, such as papermaking and mounting, among as many foreign conservators as possible.


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

Conservation efforts underway
Exchange of opinions on conservation policies

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted a workshop on conservation of archaeological metal objects at the History Museum of Armenia from June 11 to 22, 2013. 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. The project is in its third year, and the workshop is the fourth to be held domestically.
 This workshop was an advanced course for conservators of archaeological metal objects, so Armenian experts were chosen from among personnel who had been attending previous workshops. In total, there were 4 attendees from the History Museum of Armenia and other institutions in Armenia. Based on the knowledge and skills they had gained over the past 2 years, Armenian experts participated in conservation work with Japanese experts. After surveys, which included photography and scientific analysis, and planning exhibition/conservation work, experts concluded the conservation work. This work helped to improve the knowledge and skills of Armenian experts.
 The next workshop will be on the topic of preventive conservation for exhibition and storing. Plans are to prepare objects for exhibition in the History Museum of Armenia next year.


The 2012 General Assembly of the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage convened and the 12th seminar on “International Trends in Safeguarding Cultural Heritage Protection” was held

Keynote lecture

 The 2012 General Assembly of the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage was convened on March 15th. The Secretariat General reported on Consortium projects in 2012 and projects planned for the coming year. This was followed by the 12th Seminar, which started with a keynote lecture by Jean Wee, Director, Preservation of Monuments Board, Ministry of Community, Culture, Youth and Sports, Singapore, entitled “International Cooperation-OMNI-Logue: Your voice is Mine.” Afterwards, four other lectures described recent trends in the safeguarding of cultural heritage with a focus on international conferences that mainly took place last year.
 FUTAGAMI Yoko, Head of the Research Information Section of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems, National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, described deliberations concerning inscription of sites in accordance with the World Heritage Convention. Ms. FUTAGAMI also described inscription of a Palestinian site on the World Heritage List. NISHIBAYASHI Masuo, Ambassador in charge of Cultural Exchange and Ambassador in charge of Arctic Affairs, reported on the Closing event of the World Heritage Convention 40th Anniversary celebrations, held in Kyoto last year, and one of its outcomes, named Kyoto Vision. Mr. NISHI Kazuhiko, Associate Specialist for Cultural Properties of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, provided an overview of events in Toyama and Himeji held in conjunction with the celebrations’ Closing event. Mr. NISHI also described the Toyama Proposal on Heritage and Sustainable Development and the Himeji Recommendations. MIYATA Shigeyuki, Director of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, reported on deliberations concerning inscription of files on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Mr. Miyata also mentioned recent remediation of the regional gap in inscriptions and conduct of the 7th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
 The topic of international trends in protecting cultural heritage is usually brought up at seminars annually and attendees always number more than 50 people. 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 .


The 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

A trainee cleaning a metal object

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has undertaken a four-year training project since 2011. As part of the project, a series of workshops will be held covering “documentation,” “excavations,” “conservation,” and “site management.”
 The fourth workshop, a “Training Workshop on Conservation of Archaeological Objects and Documentation of Excavated Objects,” was held jointly with the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage, the National Academy of Sciences, Kyrgyz Republic from February 8 to 14, 2013. A total of eight young Kyrgyz trainees participated in the workshop.
 During the workshop, trainees received practical training in “pottery reconstruction,” “metal conservation,” and “pottery drawing” using archaeological objects that were excavated during the 3rd workshop in the summer of 2012.
 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation plans to conduct various workshops to protect cultural heritage in Central Asia next year as well.


Survey of the Philippines as a Partnering Country by the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage

Interview with members of the National Commission of Culture and the Arts
Interior of San Agustin Church, a World Heritage Site
Callao Cave on the northern part of the island of Luzon

 The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage surveyed the cultural heritage of Myanmar from February 14th to the 25th. The main goal of the survey was to explore current and future developments in international cooperation to preserve cultural heritage in the Philippines by visiting sites firsthand and determining the Philippines’ specific requirements for cooperative efforts. Sites such as churches and houses from the Spanish colonial period as well as prehistoric shell mounds and rock art were visited along with museums and libraries. Survey members gathered information and interviewed relevant personnel.
 Results of the survey indicated that the public needs to be increasingly aware of the need to protect many historic buildings and archaeological sites as cultural heritage. That said, educational institutions involved in protecting cultural heritage are lagging, so personnel need to be promptly trained. Cooperation with local authorities is a key aspect of protecting cultural heritage, and provision of that protection depends on local politics.
 Interviews indicated that the Philippines wishes Japan to help foster academic cooperation between the countries and train Filipino personnel with an eye toward increased public awareness of cultural heritage and cooperation in Asia. Japan needs to capitalize on its previous cooperative efforts in Asia and provide support with an eye toward cooperation with other Asian countries. Such steps are essential to determining ways to protect the cultural heritage of the Philippines.
 The year 2013 is the 40th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation, and Japan is expected to cooperate more with the region. In order to explore the nature of cooperation Japan can provide with regard to preserving cultural heritage, plans are to determine what support Japan can provide while continuing to gather information and coordinate with relevant institutions.


Agency for Cultural Affairs project to invite artists and experts in cultural properties from overseas welcomes a Deputy Minister of the Armenian Ministry of Culture and organizes a seminar

A presentation in the seminar (Deputy Minister Samuelyan at left)

 The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo invited to Japan Ms. Arev Samuelyan, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia, over the 10-day period from January 10 through January 18 2013, under the framework of an Agency for Cultural Affairs project to invite to Japan artists and experts in cultural properties from overseas.
 During the first half of her visit to Japan, the Deputy Minister Samuelyan energetically visited spots including the backyards and exhibits of the Tokyo National Museum and the National Museum of Western Art as well as conservation sites of historic architectures in Kyoto and Nara, such as Kiyomizu-dera temple, exchanging opinions with experts. At a seminar on the subject of conservation of cultural properties in the Republic of Armenia and Japanese cooperation with such efforts held by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo on January 16, she presented on the current state of protection of cultural properties in Armenia. Representatives from Japan presented on the subjects of a survey report on the Republic of Armenia (by the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage), a project on human-resources development and technical transfer for conservation of archaeological metal objects under a framework of the program of “networking core centers for international cooperation on conservation of cultural heritage” funded by the Agency for Cultural Affairs (by the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation), propagation of Armenian architectures to other countries in the vicinity of Armenia, and a workshop on conservation of textiles at the History Museum of Armenia (by the Japan Foundation). The event provided excellent opportunities for networking among organizations and researchers related to Armenia as well as informing the general public about Japan’s cooperation in protecting Armenia’s cultural properties. In addition, on January 17 Ms. Samuelyan made a courtesy visit to Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Seiichi Kondo, expressing gratitude for Japan’s cooperation in conservation of cultural properties and asking for continued support in the future.
 This invitation served as an opportunity for building even closer ties in the existing cooperative relationship between the two countries as well as promoting cooperation and exchange projects between Japan and Armenia in a variety of fields, not just the protection of cultural properties.


Technical survey on safeguarding of cultural heritage in Myanmar: Field study mission dispatched

Taking measurements at a wooden temple
An example of a highly damaged temple building
Visiting a metal casting workshop
Survey at the National Museum in Yangon

 As part of the Project for International Contribution to Protection of Cultural Heritage (Experts’ Exchange) conducted by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo under commission by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, a mission of experts was dispatched to Myanmar from January 26 through February 3. This mission, made up of 17 members in total, comprised three teams to study the fields of architecture, arts and crafts, and archaeology, respectively. The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo was responsible for the fields of architecture and arts and crafts, while the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties was responsible for archaeology. Intended to make clear future directions of action for cooperation provided by Japan to Myanmar in regard to safeguarding of cultural heritage, the survey was able to advance smoothly with the accompaniment and assistance of the responsible staff members from the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library of the Myanmar Ministry of Culture.
 Together with checking the state of damage and key factors affecting conservation of brick monuments in Bagan as well as wooden monasteric buildings in Mandalay and other areas, the architecture team’s activities also included interviews with concerned staff of local agencies and craftsmen, to identify issues related to future conservation and restoration. These activities revealed such as the fact that full-fledged structural repairs had not been conducted in a long time and activities such as keeping basic records concerning the state of conservation were not being conducted to a sufficient extent.
 The arts and crafts team conducted surveys and interviews on the state of conservation, storage and exhibition, as well as training of human resources involved in conservation and restoration, for mural paintings , metal objects, lacquerwares, and books and sacred documents. It did so by visiting national museums and libraries, temples, schools, and workshops in Yangon, Bagan, and Mandalay. While they observed signs of the knowledge obtained through overseas training and other efforts being put to use in Myanmar, it also was clear that sufficient conservation and restoration measures were not being taken, due to shortages of materials and equipment and to underdevelopment of related systems.
 The mission also gathered basic information on Myanmar’s system for protection of cultural heritage through activities including meeting with the Ministry of Culture in the capital city of Naypyitaw. While it was clear that there were shortages in areas such as the technologies and human resources needed to conserve and restore cultural heritage in each field, the motivation of those in Myanmar to improve the situation was high, so that it is expected that technology transfer and human-resources development through projects such as joint research and training would be highly effective as assistance.


Seminar on bio-degradation of stone monuments in Cambodia, and training on site measurement

Seminat on conservation of stone monuments in Angkor
Second measurement training at the Ta Nei site

 Since 2001, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo has jointly conducted studies and research on conservation of cultural properties made of stone, with its main field being the Ta Nei site in Angkor, Cambodia, together with the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA). This seminar, with the participation of experts from Japan, Cambodia, Italy, and South Korea who had taken part in these studies, included presentations on subjects such as taxonomical research on lichens, quantitative and qualitative research on physical changes in stone materials, and research on the relationship between the environment and living organisms, as an overview of research that had been conducted up to that point to monitor and control the living organisms that flourish on stone surfaces. It also featured exchange of opinions on improving site conservation in the future.
 Also, the second training onarchitectural measurementwas held at the Ta Nei site from January 10 to 18. A total of 11 trainees, including two new participants from the APSARA, split into three teams to check the plans prepared in the first training in July of last year and to continue the measurement work using total stations, largely completing the plan of the central part of thetemple.
 Continuation of research cooperation, including transfer of technology and human-resources development are planned, while further studying how the results of these efforts can be put to use in conservation of Angkorsites.


Study of conservation of movable cultural properties in the United States

Materials from American institutions involved in conservation of cultural properties
The Freer Gallery of Art

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation carries out studies and research concerning the systems for conservation of cultural properties in each country around the world. As one such project, currently it is studying the state of conservation of movable cultural properties in the United States. While the U.S. is home to numerous museums of history and art and holds many of the world’s movable cultural properties, it has no government agency that specializes in the protection and management of cultural properties. Management of cultural properties is left to their owners, and management and regulation at the federal level is not very strong except in emergencies such as major natural disasters. Under these circumstances, management, restoration, and exhibition of moveable cultural properties in the U.S. is handled on an individual basis, in accordance with the management policies of each museum and with the wishes of the properties’ owners.
 While thinking on cultural properties differs considerably between Japan and the U.S., at the same time the U.S. is home to numerous art museums that hold collections of Japanese art. In addition, the Center’s Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas, begun in 1991, has restored more than 250 works of art at 24 art museums across the United States. Thus, the Center has close ties with American art museums. Accordingly, from January 26 through February 3, 2013 Tomoko EMURA and Asuka SAKAINO conducted a study in Washington, D.C. to ascertain in a systematic way the state of the conservation of movable cultural properties in the United States. They conducted a number of interviews focusing chiefly on key organizations conducting comprehensive activities to protect cultural properties, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior, the Library of Congress, the American Institute for Conservation (AIC)/Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC), the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), and the nonprofit Heritage Preservation. They also studied the state of management of the collections of history and art museums. In particular, they learned about the collection management rules and the state of restoration of works at the Freer Gallery of Art. America’s oldest national art museum, the Freer Gallery opened in 1923 and holds numerous works of art from East Asia, including Japan.
 This study showed that one of the reasons cultural properties in the U.S. are conserved appropriately despite the lack of strict regulations is because of cooperation among individual organizations and personnel along with effective functioning of bottom-up decision-making. Future plans call for advancing more practical study and research looking at the history museums playing central roles in each region of the U.S. and at museums holding works of Japanese art.


Symposium held on “Wandering Cultural Heritage: 10 Years of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property”

The symposium underway
A panel discussion
A speech by Massimiliano Quagliarella of Italy’s Carabinieri (national military police)

 The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage hosts a symposium each year for the general public. This year, the symposium was held at Heiseikan of the Tokyo National Museum on December 1, 2012. The symposium was entitled “Wandering Cultural Heritage: 10 Years of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property” (sponsor: Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan).
 This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Japan’s ratification of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. The symposium introduced Japanese efforts to safeguard cultural properties from illegal exportation and importation pursuant to the Convention and the current state of those efforts, and also described efforts overseas.
 A report on Japan’s national efforts was given by SHIOKAWA Tatsuhiro, Director of the Office for International Cooperation on Cultural Properties, Agency for Cultural Affairs while a report on local efforts was given by Superintendent TSUJIMOTO Tadamasa, an officer of the Nara Prefectural Police Department who deals with crimes against cultural properties. Speaking on the current state of trafficking in cultural properties, KURITA Isao, an art dealer and owner of the Gandhara Antiques specialty shop, described the root of the problem of trafficking in cultural properties in countries where those properties are trafficked from. Foreign examples were described by a member of Italy’s Carabinieri (national military police), Massimiliano Quagliarella, Head of Operations, Carabinieri Cultural Heritage Protection. Quagliarella described safeguarding of cultural heritage by the Carabinieri as well as actual cases of art forgery and detection of illegal exports. Active discussions developed after all of the presentations, with panelists joined by IGARASHI Kazushige Deputy Director of the Enforcement Division, Customs and Tariff Bureau, Ministry of Finance.
 Although the problem of safeguarding cultural heritage is seldom brought up, this problem is actually a familiar one. Examining this problem, the symposium was well-received by members of the general public who were in attendance. The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage will continue to make opportunities to further understanding for the general public about problems related to cultural heritage.


Myanmar’s cultural officers invited and seminar held

A meeting at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo

 As part of the Project for International Contribution in Protection of Cultural Heritage (experts’ exchange) commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan, officers from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar were invited to visit Japan from December 10 to 14. Invitees were 5 Ministry personnel specializing in archaeology, conservation, cultural anthropology, and fine arts such as U Thein Lwin, Deputy Director General of the Ministry’s Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library. Invitees stayed in Tokyo and Nara, where they exchanged opinions with personnel at the Tokyo and the Nara Institutes, toured museums, and visited sites of archeological excavation as well as repair works of historical buildings. On December 11, a seminar entitled “Protection of Cultural Heritage in Myanmar: Current Situation and Issues” was held at the NRICPT’s seminar hall. Invitees delivered such presentations on archeological surveys, site preservation, and history and the current state of museums in Myanmar, sharing information by responding to questions from the audience. This invitation program provided the latest information on the protection of Myanmar’s cultural heritage and it fostered mutual understanding towards future cooperation. The same project plans to dispatch field study missions, in cooperation with the Nara Institute, in the 3 areas of architecture, art and crafts, and archaeology from the end of January to early February, in order to ascertain the direction of future Japanese cooperation in the protection of Myanmar’s cultural heritage.


11th Expert Working Group Meeting for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley World Heritage Property

A Meeting at the RWTH Aachen University

 In conjunction with UNESCO and research institutions from at home and abroad, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties have long labored to conserve cultural heritage in Afghanistan. Research institutions in different countries and Afghanistan have cooperated specifically to safeguard the Bamiyan Valley site, primarily via UNESCO/Japanese Funds-In-Trust projects for Safeguarding of the Bamiyan Site. Safeguarding of the site is a key component of the Cooperative Projects for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage in West Asia made possible by an Institute fund to cover operating expenses.
 An expert working group meeting is held annually to discuss guidelines for the preservation and use of the site. This year, the meeting was held in Aachen, Germany from December 10 to 11 under the joint auspices of UNESCO and the RWTH Aachen University. The meeting was attended by experts from Afghanistan, Germany, France, and Italy and from international bodies such as UNESCO, ICOMOS, ICCROM, and UNOPS. Japanese experts from the Institute, the Nara Institute, and Mukogawa Women’s University were also in attendance. In addition to the ongoing topics of conservation of wall paintings and preserving fragments of the Buddha statues, the meeting featured reports on the current state of ruins located throughout the valley and road and airport improvement plans. In addition, blueprints for an envisioned museum, facilitated by a research agreement between the Institute and Mukogawa Women’s University, were presented at the meeting. The meeting led to a practical discussion of both tourism development and long-term preservation of the site.


Survey of Japanese artworks in Armenia and Georgia

The History Museum of Armenia & the National Gallery of Armenia
Survey in the Georgian National Museum

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation surveys Japanese artworks in collections of art museums overseas and it provides those institutions with advice and information on relevant research. The Center also conducts cooperative conservation programs for artworks that urgently or desperately need to be conserved. In countries far removed from Japan where the climate, environment, racial makeup, and religion differ considerably, seeing the state of Japanese artworks instills in one the vitality of cultural properties, despite their fragile composition. In November 2012, KAWANOBE Wataru, KATO Masato, and EMURA Tomoko surveyed Japanese artworks in the Republic of Armenia and Georgia. Both countries were once part of the Soviet Union, and 2012 marked the 20th anniversary of their establishing diplomatic relations with Japan. However, this survey was the first on-site survey of Japanese art by personnel from the Institute.
 Japanese artworks in the History Museum of Armenia, the National Gallery of Armenia, and the Charents House-Museum were surveyed. These museums have ukiyo-e (woodblock) prints from the late Edo Period and early modern to modern craftworks. That said, some of the works are not properly identified since their title or date of production is unclear. The Center provided advice and information regarding these works. Additionally, the state of conservation of cultural properties in the Matenadaran (the Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts) and the National Library was also studied.
 In Georgia, Japanese artworks primarily in the National Museum were surveyed. The National Museum has armaments from the Edo Period, such as armor and swords, as well as Japanese artworks like ukiyo-e paintings, pottery, and textiles. The museum was found to have 2 silk hanging scrolls, “Carps” by TACHIHARA Kyosho (1786–1840), a painter from the late Edo Period, and “Mt. Fuji” by TAKASHIMA Hokkai (1850–1931), a painter active during the Meiji Period. Both works have been damaged by time and need extensive restoration. The first step, however, is to gather detailed information about these artworks and then coordinate the future programs with the museum staff.


Workshops and International Seminar on the Conservation of Archaeological Metal Objects in the History Museum of Armenia

Practice during a domestic workshop
Practice during the international workshop
Exchange of opinions among participants in the international workshop practicum

 As part of the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project commissioned by the Agency of Cultural Affairs, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted workshops on the conservation of archaeological metal objects in the History Museum of Armenia in November 2012 at the museum. The 3rd domestic workshop for Armenian experts was conducted November 6–17, and 8 of the participants had attended the previous workshop. Continuing from the previous workshop, the 3rd workshop expounded further on elemental analysis of metal surfaces using a handheld XRF analyzer following surface cleaning of archaeological metal objects to remove corrosion and deposit. Participants also practiced corrosion inhibiting, surface coating, adhering and filling defects. Participants learned techniques to treat materials in order to facilitate their conservation and display.
 An international workshop was held with 4 Armenian experts as well as 6 expert invitees concerning archaeological metal objects from 5 countries—Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. Also giving presentations were Armenian archaeologists and scientists who study archeological metals in Armenia. Attendees gave presentations on the study of Armenian metal objects and on the current state of museums and conservation in their own countries. The workshop contributed to foster the exchange of information and establish wider networks.
 The next set of workshops will cover advanced cases. Plans are to summarize research on fabrication techniques and have participants use the conservation knowledge and skills they learned in previous workshops.


Support for documentation standards and procedures of the Silk Roads World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination in Central Asia: specialist training workshop in the Republic of Tajikistan

Surveying at Hulbuk

 As part of the UNESCO-/Japan Funds-in Trust project titled as “Support for documentation standards and procedures of the Silk Roads World Heritage Serial and Transnational Nomination in Central Asia”, a specialist training workshop on archeological site documentation was conducted in Tajikistan from November 2nd to the 7th by Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation in close collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Tajikistan and Historic-Cultural Reserve “Hulbuk”, Tajikistan. Within the framework, a series of specialist training workshops have thus far been conducted in other Central Asian countries, such as Kyrgyz and Kazakhstan. The workshop in Tajikistan focused on practical training of site documentation at the ruins of the medieval city of Hulbuk (9th-12th century AD), which is currently on the tentative lists of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. In particular, on-site practical training of topographic survey and establishment of excavation grids as well as basic lectures on surveying were conducted, using total station that was supplied to the Tajik side from UNESCO. The six days short-term workshop was not always sufficient to obtain a mastery of the various survey skills, but attended ten Tajik participants made a serious effort to acquire the skills, using their own equipment. Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation will continue this supporting project for young Tajik experts in the next 2013 season.


Conservation of wall paintings from the early Islamic period excavated in southern Tajikistan

Fragments (partial) excavated at the Khulbuk site Left: before efforts Right: After surface cleaning and fragments were pieced back together
Backing work underway

 From November 6 to December 5, wall painting fragments in the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan were conserved on-site. The wall painting fragments that are being conserved were excavated in 1984 from the palace ruins at Khulbuk in southern Tajikistan. The Khulbuk site dates to the early Islamic period. The fragments have been kept in the repository of the National Museum of Antiquities but for a long time they were not properly conserved. Serious conservation efforts began in 2010.
 The wall painting fragments are extremely fragile. Pigments from multi-colored layers are merely resting on the fragments, and the plaster base coat has been severely fragmented. Following up on last year’s work to reinforce the multi-colored layers, work was done to stabilize assembled fragments by piecing them back together and attaching a new backing. Approaches such as filling in the gaps in fragments that were stabilized last year were tested with the goal of exhibiting the fragments in the future. The wall painting fragments are easier to appreciate once they have been stabilized and pieced back together with the gaps filled. Plans are to examine ways to exhibit the fragments in the future.
 This conservation project was undertaken with a Sumitomo Foundation grant for the preservation and conservation of foreign cultural properties.


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

Observations of a rammed earth wall using a soil color chart
Measurement of micro-tremors at a rammed earth temple in the City of Thimphu

 For the second time this year, experts from Japan were dispatched to the Kingdom of Bhutan from November 21 to December 2 in order to survey on the conservation of rammed earth buildings in the country within the framework of the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project commissioned by the Agency of Cultural Affairs. The survey was conducted jointly with Bhutanese counterparts from the Division for Cultural Properties, Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs. Experts split into 2 groups to do the following works in the capital Thimphu and its suburbs:
 Architectural survey group: In order to reveal the traditional techniques of rammed earth construction, multiple craftsmen were interviewed, and reinforce techniques for damaged houses, temples, and ruins with rammed earth structures were inspected and surveyed.
 Structural survey group: In order to quantitatively assess the performance of structures with rammed earth walls, specimens that Bhutanese personnel had prepared ahead of time were subjected to compressive strength testing. Micro-tremors were also measured at 2 small temple buildings of rammed earth structure. Basic data were obtained for analysis of the structural properties of those buildings.
 In addition to the current surveys, a workshop was conducted with Bhutanese counterparts in order to share the results of previous surveys (including prior cooperative projects involving Japanese personnel), as well as to introduce Japanese experiences for the conservation of  traditional houses in Japan.
 Through such activities, the Core Centers Project seeks to explore prospects for appropriate conservation of traditional buildings and continuation of building techniques and deal with the issue of improved safety in the event of an earthquake. The project also seeks to train local personnel who are responsible for preserving cultural heritage. Hopes are to further enhance cooperation by transferring basic techniques through architectural surveys and structural analysis to eager Bhutanese personnel.


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