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Survey on mural paintings in Bagan, Myanmar


 Bagan, located in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar, is a site renowned for its many ruins. Between the 9th and 13th centuries, the city became the capital of the kingdom of Pagàn, its formal name. During the kingdom’s zenith, which was between the 11th and 13th centuries, over 10,000 Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries were built, many of which contain magnificent wall paintings. The institute is currently conducting a survey on art history, iconography and the evolution of mural paintings techniques in Myanmar. So far researchers have investigated about 100 mural paintings and the results achieved have become essential tools for undergoing conservation and restoration projects.

Survey of the mural paintings in Bagan Archaeological Zone

Cooperation for the protection of Syrian cultural heritage in a state of war


 A large-scale democratic movement started in Syria in March 2011 and escalated into a war. In the more than 8 years since, the death toll has exceeded 500,000 and another 5 million people have been forced to flee the country. Syria has seen damage to historically significant cultural heritage sites during the war, and this has been covered as major news around the world. Aleppo and the Crac des Chevaliers, major historic sites in Syria, have been used as military bases, and archaeological heritage sites and museums throughout the country have been damaged by looting and stealing. From August to October 2015, the site of Palmyra, recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, was destroyed deliberately by the Islamic State. The Institute has organized symposia regularly since 2013 with the aim of identifying the state of damage to Syrian cultural heritage sites and bringing their significance to the attention of people in Japan. Considering the difficult situation in Syria, the Institute invited Syrian experts and organized, in cooperation with the National Archives of Japan and the National Diet Library, a training workshop for the conservation of paper in 2018. It is planned to continue training programs for Syrian experts this year.

Training workshop for the conservation of paper

Collections of Palmyra Museum damaged by the
Islamic State (Courtesy of Dr. Robert Zukowski)

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