International Course on the Conservation of Japanese Lacquer Work

Jokoban with a series of restoration works finished (owned by Jissouji Temple in Minato City, Tokyo)
Hands-on training of attachment using urushi

 The Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques conducted an international course on the Conservation of Japanese Lacquer Works from September 17 to October 15. This course on conservation was a training program performed independently by the center, following on the heels of the International Course on the Conservation of Japanese Lacquer that we previously jointly held with ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property). For this training session, we selected a few restoration specialists among the trainees who learned the basics of the Japanese urushi culture through the Conservation of Japanese Lacquer, which lasted for two weeks, and implemented hands-on training on restoration for one month using actual lacquerware work as educational material.
 Two individuals – Mr. Gasner Adda from the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum in Germany and Mr. Barash Lentz from the Hungarian National Museum – received hands-on training from Mr. Yamashita Yoshihiko, a lacquerware work restoration specialist. They made a tour to observeurushi cultural heritage in Himeji, Kobe, and Nara from September 21 to 23, and on October 5, they visited Jissouji Temple in Minato City, Tokyo, which offered educational material (one of the Aizu region’s Matsudaira Family’s temples in Edo during the Edo Period) and looked on the lacquerware work, including the actual daimyo’s tools. They concluded their training with presentations on what they had learned. The educational material used in this training was a vermilion-lacquered jokoban (incense clock) with goldmitsuba-aoi emblem which was very dirty and damaged (the Aizu Matsudaira Family’s fixtures and furniture from around the late Edo Period). We borrowed this piece and brought it into the restoration studio in the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques, and the trainees experienced a series of operations: preliminary research, photographing, scientific analysis, curing, cleaning, and attachment of urushi coated film and damaged portions using traditional restoration materials such as lacquer and glue. They had a high awareness of issues and were very enthusiastic because they were to become restoration specialists engaged in conserving and restoring the lacquerware works in their own art galleries and museums in the future. We finished the restoration of the jokoban, which was seriously damaged and could not be moved until then, as an emergency measure which was possible in a short period of just one month. It will be designated as a cultural heritage of Minato City, Tokyo at the end of the year.

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