Seminar on “Protection of Cultural Heritage and the Latest Research on the Indus Civilization in India”
On September 26th, the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Japanese Centre for South Asian Cultural Heritage held a seminar titled the “Protection of Cultural Heritage and the Latest Research on the Indus Civilization in India” inviting Vice-Chancellor of the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute in India, Dr. Vasant Shinde.
Dr. Shinde is an archaeologist representing India, who has conducted many excavations in India. At present, he is working on the Archaeological Ruins at Rakhigarhi, which were the largest city ruins in the ancient Indus Valley civilization overwhelming Moenjodaro.
For this seminar, Dr. Shinde made presentations on the “Current Situation on the Protection of Cultural Heritage in India” and “The Latest Outcomes from the Excavation of the Archaeological Ruins at Rakhigarhi.”
Before the presentations, he toured the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. Deccan College is a post-graduate and research institute specialized in cultural heritage. In 2018, it will establish new departments of “Conservation and Restoration” and “Heritage Management.” For that reason, Dr. Shinde listened intently to the briefing provided by Mr. Kuchitsu, the Head of the Restoration Planning Section of the Center for Conservation Science.
Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of the Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal” (Part 7)
As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have continually dispatched an expert to Nepal. From September 6th through 14th, Mr. Yamada, associate fellow of this Institute, conducted an on-site survey.
This time, he mainly surveyed the finishing specifications of the internal walls for the buildings around Aganchen Temple in Hanumandhoka Palace, Kathmandu, the restoration of which is planned under the guidance of Japanese specialized technicians, while taking photos to provide an official record. The wall surfaces of the buildings have been repeatedly painted since their construction, changing the paint materials. Therefore, the finishing layers damaged by the earthquake were carefully peeled off one by one with a working knife to investigate the history of the internal wall specifications in each room. Toward the future restoration, it is necessary to examine whether the former painted surfaces should be preserved, as well as to consider the specifications for restoration painting. The results of the investigation will be utilized as information for making such decisions, giving us important clues to clarify the history of the buildings repeatedly rebuilt.
On the other hand, on September 10th, he attended the workshop for the preservation of historic settlements in the Kathmandu Valley hosted by Kirtipur Municipality that has historic settlements inscribed on the World Heritage Tentative List, and suggested the items that require urgent attention for the conservation of historic settlements. Responding to this suggestion, the Mayor of Kirtipur, local administrative staff having jurisdiction over each historic settlement, and personnel from the Department of Archaeology of the national government held enthusiastic discussions with one another. Although there are still a lot of tasks to be completed before a proper system for conservation of historic settlements can be established, this workshop allowed the members to anticipate its realization.
The International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper was run from August 28th to September 15th, 2017. This course has been jointly organised by the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and the International Centre for the Study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) since 1992. It is aimed at contributing to the protection of cultural property outside Japan by disseminating the knowledge and techniques of conservation and restoration of paper cultural property in Japan to participants from around the world. This year, 10 specialists in conservation from 9 countries (Argentina, Australia, China, Czech Republic, Greece, Israel, Latvia, the Philippines and the USA) were selected as participants among 79 applications from 38 countries.
The course was composed of lectures, practical sessions and excursions. The lectures covered protection systems of both tangible and intangible cultural property in Japan, basic insights into Japanese paper, traditional conservation materials and tools. The practical sessions were led by instructors from a certified group holding the Selected Conservation Techniques on “Restoration Techniques of Mounting.” The participants gained experience of restoration work of paper cultural property from cleaning it to mounting it to a handscroll. Japanese-style bookbinding, and handling of folding screens and hanging scrolls were also included in the sessions. The excursion to the cities of Nagoya, Mino, and Kyoto, arranged in the middle of the course, offered an opportunity to see folding screens and sliding doors in historic buildings, the Japanese papermaking (Honminoshi) which is designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property of Japan, a traditional restoration studio, and so forth. On the last day, the present situation and issues with a focus on paper cultural property in each country such as conservation materials and environmental control were discussed.
The participants could acquire a deeper understanding not only on conservation materials and tools used in Japan but also conservation approaches and techniques using Japanese paper throughout this course. We hope that the knowledge and techniques they gained in the course will be applied to conservation and restoration of cultural property overseas.
The Third Mission for the Project “Networking Core Centers for the Transfer of Technology Related to Study and Protection of Archaeological and Architectural Heritage in Myanmar” (Architectural Field)
As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs (re-commissioned by the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties), we conducted the third on-site survey for 2017 (from September 17th through October 2nd) by dispatching six members, including three outside experts. This time we conducted structural behavior monitoring, surveys on traditional building and production techniques, material experiments, and so forth.
In the structural behavior monitoring checked for the third time, no progress was found in deformation of the three monitored buildings in particular. However, part of the crack gauge had come off due to damage by birds or animals, and therefore, continual monitoring could not be performed at some of the measuring points. Therefore, we took measures according to the on-site situation by covering crack gauges or switching to crack disks.
The heritage building has various values: not only its appearance but also the techniques used for its construction. Regrettably, in the conventional restoration work in Bagan, people were scarcely aware of the conservation or reproduction of original techniques. And also scarce studies on such techniques are precious few. Thus, for this survey, we checked the bricklaying techniques in 20 buildings together with experts in building structure and conservation/repair. We also collected information on production techniques of traditional buildings through interviews and demonstrations with local bricklayers involved in repair.
As part of our technical assistance, we delivered lectures at the Bagan Branch of the Department of Archaeology and National Museums, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture in Myanmar for its 13 staff members, including the Deputy Director of the Bagan Branch, on September 20th. The three lectures were given in an omnibus manner: “Seismic damage of masonry cultural heritage in Asian countries” (Masahiko TOMODA, Head of the Conservation Design Section of the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties); “Surveys for Structural Analysis of Brick Cultural Heritage Buildings and Their Cases” (Professor Mikio KOSHIHARA, the University of Tokyo); and ”Conservation and Repair Work for Former Winery Facilities of Chateau Kamiya” (Yasuo NAKAUCHI, Adviser, the Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments). The audience showed much interest in reinforcement materials and techniques in particular.
On the other hand, in Yangon, we conducted compressive strength tests for single bricks (14 pieces) from September 23rd through October 1st in cooperation with the Myanmar Engineering Society (MES) and Yangon Technological University (Y1TU). In addition, we manufactured prisms (four-layered brick specimens) using three types of mortar that differed in materials and mix proportions based on the information obtained from the production technique survey in Bagan (nine in each type), cylindrical mortar specimens (three in each type), and square mortar specimens (three in each type). We are planning to conduct strength tests for these specimens about two months later.
We hope to accumulate more data useful for conservation and repair of the cultural heritage buildings in the Bagan area through such surveys and experiments.
The Forefront of Research on Sesshu – The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems Organizes a Workshop
Sesshu Toyo went to China (Ming) and made a serious career of ink brush painting. Materials on Sesshu’s entry into Ming include “Tenkai togaro ki” by Baifu Ryoshin and Sesshu’s painting “landscape” including his inscription (commonly called the Painting “Haboku-sansui” owned by the Tokyo National Museum (TNM)). Mr. Yu HASHIMOTO (Hokkaido University) presented his theory that Sesshu proactively went to Ming from the standpoint of Japan-Ming history research in his papers titled “Reexamination of Sesshu’s Travel to Ming China” (Studies in Art History 33, March 2017). Regarding “之” of “向者、大明国北京礼部院、於中堂之壁、尚書姚公、命公令画之” in “Tenkai togaro ki,” he pointed out that it was the theme of the painting drawn by Sesshu in the interior wall of lǐbu（礼部） in Beijing and assumed that it was an image of Zhôngkui（鍾馗） and as collateral evidence, and he discussed the relations between Zhôngkui and Chinese higher civil service examinations and lǐbu. Furthermore, the part “於茲長有声并李在二人得時名、相随伝設色之旨兼破墨之法兮” of Sesshu’s inscription in “Sansuizu” was read as the fact that Zhang Yousheug and Li Zai learned the traditional painting style by following each other unlike the traditional interpretation of “Sesshu’s studying under Zhang Yousheug and Li Zai.”
In response to this discussion, Mr. Minoru WATADA, Cultural Affairs Agency, scrutinized Hashimoto’s views of “Tenkai togaro ki” and Sesshu’s inscription in “landscape” in a presentation entitled “On the Occasion of Yu HASHIMOTO’s ‘Reexamination of Sesshu’s Travel to Ming China’” at a workshop organized by the Department on August 7th. We invited Mr. Arata SHIMAO, Gakushuin University, as the moderator, Mr. Koji ITO, Kyushu University, Mr. Hitoshi YONETANI, Waseda University, Ms. Makiko SUDA and Mr. Makoto OKAMOTO, Historiographical Institute, The University of Tokyo, as commentators and views and opinions from the perspectives not only of art history but also of historiography and philological history were exchanged in the workshop.
Mr. Watada read in the past “命公令画之” in “Tenkai togaro ki” as “之に画く” in the book titled “Sesshu and Japanese Kanga Painters (Brücke, 2013) and if it is “之を画く” as traditionally interpreted, he raised a question as to Hashimoto’s view that “之” is “墨鬼鍾馗” right before it. Many of the participants in the workshop expressed their views that there was no way to determine what “之” points to only through interpretation based on grammar and pointed out that there was room for restudy of the validity of making the theme of the painting an image of Zhôngkui. Based on the collateral evidence shown by Mr. Hashimoto and other evidence, some noted that the possibility of the theme of the painting being an image of Zhôngkui cannot be denied categorically, either. The participants concluded that seeking a possible interpretation and the theme of the painting that is appropriate for lǐbu would be future challenges to be addressed.
Furthermore, regarding the subject of “相随伝” written in the inscriptions, Mr. Watada read it as Sesshu, considering the fact that the subject after “余曽入大宋国” was supposed to be “余,” namely, Sesshu. So he took the position of reading Sesshu’s studying under Zhang Yousheug and Li Zai as traditionally interpreted. As opposed to this, many of participants in the workshop expressed views that there was a contradiction in terms of the structure of a sentence in the traditional theory and ended up supporting Mr. Hashimoto’s interpretation. It remains unknown why Sesshu illustrated two painters, that is, Zhang Yousheug and Li Zai , but if you pay attention to “数年而帰本邦地、熟知吾祖如拙周文両翁製作楷模,” as “長有声并李在” and “如拙周文” become paired, it is safe to say that Sesshu intended to make “如拙周文” stand out. Mr. Watada pointed out that unless you make the one that did “相随伝” Sesshu, it did not agree with the description of “至于洛求師,” namely, Sesshu sought a teacher in China. Mr. Shimao, who served as the moderator, suggested clichés be distinguished in text and it was an opportunity to share the recognition that studies are needed from an extensive perspective that is not confined to reading or interpreting of historiographic materials.
Thanks to the question raised by Mr. Watada, the participants were able to share the possibility and amplitude of interpretation of historiographical materials yet again. We can look forward to future developments in research on Sesshu.
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) held its 83rd World Library and Information Congress from August 19 to 25, 2017 in Wroclaw, a city in western Poland. IFLA, founded in 1927 in Edinburgh, Scotland, is an international organization for libraries and a member of the International Committee of the Blue Shield. Headquartered in The Hague, the Netherlands, IFLA has approximately 1,400 member institutions from over 140 countries, and holds an annual world congress. At this year’s world congress, 248 sessions, including conferences, meetings and workshops, took place based on various topics and types of libraries such as national, academic and public libraries. As the first delegate from the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, I, Tomoko Emura from the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, participated in the Congress, joining workshops and meetings on art libraries and other topics relevant to our archives to share information and network with other participants from around the world. A session for the Art Libraries Section, Discovering Art and Architecture: Open-Access Tools for Art History Research, was held in the Museum of Architecture in Wroclaw on August 22, where four speakers from the Netherlands, Italy, the United States and Hungary presented various measures to expand the sharing of art-related documents and research materials to facilitate further studies. Ms. Kathleen Salomon from the Getty Research Institute explained, in her presentation titled A Virtual Library for Art History: The Getty Research Portal, that the Portal added our institute to the list of contributors in May this year and now provides access to digitized copies of the magazines and exhibition catalogues from the Meiji era owned by our institute. She also explained that other rare books in non-English languages are widely accessible from the Portal. Having seen no other participants from Japan or other Asian countries in the Art Libraries Section or the standing committee, I received the impression that international initiatives on art-related documents and materials are led by people in the U.S. and Europe, but also found that many Japanese artworks and documents are owned by institutions all over the world. Further, I realized that our institute would be able to play an instrumental role in supporting research activities and promoting a better understanding of Japanese culture more widely around the world by providing archive functions and information more effectively to the international community. Our challenge for the future is to foster international cooperation while maintaining our specialized expertise at a sufficient level.
Analysis of the Painting of Kujaku-myo-o and the Painting of Fugen Bosatsu (owned by the Tokyo National Museum) by X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry
The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Tokyo National Museum (TNM) have jointly conducted an optical analysis of Buddhist artworks owned by TNM. As part of this collaborative research, we conducted an analysis of coloring materials by employing X-ray fluorescence spectrometry for the Painting of Kujaku-myo-o (Skt: Mahamayurividyarajni) and the Painting of Fugen Bosatsu (Skt: Samantabhadra) for two days from August 2 to 3, 2017. The two pieces of artwork are paintings on silk drawn in the Heian period (12th century) and designated as a National Treasure. Through X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, the types and quantities of elements that constitute matter can be identified in a non-destructive and non-contact manner. In recent years, in particular, high-performance portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometers have become widespread, and highly accurate data have become safely obtainable. The types of pigments or the compositions of metals, such as gold and silver, can be identified by the analysis of paintings, such as these two artworks. Through this collaborative research, we have obtained high-definition color, fluorescent, and infrared images of five Buddhist paintings drawn in the Heian period so far, including the two pieces for this analysis. Using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry, we have studied these images in detail and examined the colors and descriptions used in the artworks comprehensively. Although a great deal of research has been conducted on the Painting of Kujaku-myo-o and the Painting of Fugen Bosatsu from the perspective of art history, with this spectrometric technique, yet-to-be-discovered facts are expected to be uncovered. In addition, given the fact that experts from more than one realm ranging from art history to analytical chemistry and image formation have taken part in this collaborative research, there are likely to be new developments in the research of Buddhist paintings in the Heian period through cross-sectoral analysis and studies. For this reason, we will continue to promote cooperation among researchers in conducting research and moving ahead with the analysis of other Buddhist paintings in the same era as well.
From the Federated States of Micronesia, Mr. Marcelo K. Peterson, Governor of Pohnpei State, and Mr. Esmond B. Moses, a member of the Congress, visited the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage with Mr. Shoji Sato, the Executive Director of the Association for the Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC) (a former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Federated States of Micronesia) as a guide, and exchanged opinions on the protection of cultural heritage/traditional culture, and so forth. Mr. Osamu Kataoka (Researcher of the Intercultural Research Institute, Kansai Gaidai University) and Mr. Kanefusa Masuda (Senior Researcher of the Institute of Disaster Mitigation for Urban Cultural Heritage, Ritsumeikan University) joined us to have an in-depth discussion over diverse topics, including the conservation and utilization of Nan Madol, which is a ruined city on Pohnpei island and a World Heritage Site officially recognized by UNESCO in 2016.
This seminar has been conducted since 1984 in order to convey basic knowledge and techniques to curators working on the conservation of materials at the cultural property conservation facilities. For 2017, the two-week seminar starting from July 10 attracted 31 participants throughout Japan. The curriculum of this seminar consists of two major topics: management of the facility environment such as temperature and humidity, air quality, and prevention of pest damages; factors and manners of deterioration according to material types, as well as its prevention. Experts inside and outside the Institute gave lectures and practical training. For the “Case Study,” where the participants experienced the museum environment research on site, they visited Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore. After dividing into eight groups, they implemented research under the theme set by each group, and presented the outcomes at a later date. Under the current circumstances whereby many facilities are planning large-scale renovation and major movements related to the conservation of materials, such as shifting to LED lighting, are under way, we will scrutinize the curriculum further for smooth technical transfer of proper management.
On August 19th (Saturday) to August 27th (Sunday), the Modern Cultural Properties Section of the Center for Conservation Science conducted a survey on the conservation and restoration situation of iron structures built in the Japan colonial period (1895-1945) existing in Taiwan. In this survey, we focused on a large-scale factory and iron bridges. The preservation of Japanese colonial buildings began in earnest following the end of martial law in 1987, and about half of all Designated or Registered Cultural Properties are Japanese colonial-era buildings. For this survey, although we focused on a sugar-refining plant, since tobacco and brewed liquor factories had a monopoly on the country until the 1990s, many of their factories and machinery have been left untouched. Although these factories are greatly influenced by their location, many factories in large cities such as Taipei have been assigned new roles by town planners, and are used as commercial and cultural facilities. On the 22nd, we visited the Bureau of Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture, and held a discussion with Director-general Gwo-Long Shy on the efforts to preserve Taiwan’s cultural assets. Since 2000, Taiwan has made efforts to preserve its industrial system of production, distribution and manufacturing. This has led to an active exchange of ideas regarding renewed interest in the preservation of Japan’s own industrial heritage.
To conserve Japanese paintings, calligraphic works and other pictorial artifacts, we are now increasingly required to have some knowledge of conservation science. To meet these demands of conservators who wish to learn how to handle chemicals, particularly those that have recently become more popular in restoration sites, and how to apply them in conservation and restoration works, the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Association for Conservation of National Treasures (ACNT) jointly conducted a workshop with training program for conservators from August 8 to 9, 2017, which included lectures on basic knowledge and practical work sessions. The workshop aimed to provide hands-on knowledge that can be applied to actual conservation works. To achieve this purpose, we designed a curriculum that would help participants accurately understand the chemical property of organic solvents and enzymes as well as the proper handling of basic laboratory instruments and chemicals for more effective and safer restorations.
A total of 11 people, one from each corporate member of ACNT, participated in the workshop. Dr. Sano, Director of the Center for Conservation Science; Dr. Sato, Head of the Biological Science Section; and I provided lectures on the safe handling of organic solvents; integrated pest management (IPM) for cultural properties at restoration studios; and removal methods of adhesives and stains, respectively. Based on these lectures, the participants practiced removing various types of stains on the sheets of paper that we prepared, by using suitable solvents and enzymes. The practical work session also covered other topics such as the use of cyclododecane as a temporary protective coating for water-sensitive colorants. Mr. Kimishima, ACNT’s Senior Conservator, taught in the work session and provided hands-on training to the participants.
The program ended with a lively Q&A session and discussion. We will continue to hold such workshop in the future.
As part of the joint research with Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), “The Workshops on Conservation of Japanese Textile” were held jointly in the Research Center for Conservation of Cultural Relics, NTNU from August 9th to 18th, 2017 for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese textiles overseas. The workshops that consisted of the Basic workshop “Cultural Properties of Textile in Japan” and the Advanced workshop “Conservation of Japanese Textile”, were conducted by the researchers and restorers specialized in Japanese textile from Japan and Taiwan. The textile specialists such as conservators from Laos, the Philippines, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the U.S.A. took part in the workshops. The Basic workshop was held from August 9th to 11th, attended by 10 participants and 2 observers. In the workshop, basic knowledge of Japanese textile was introduced through the lectures and practical sessions of the relevant protection system, materials such as fiber and thread, techniques such as weaving and dyeing, structure and history of kimono, and so forth. The Advanced workshop was held from August 14th to 18th, attended by 6 participants and 3 observers. This workshop was more practical. It comprised of the display and folding method of kimono, chemical analysis, and practice on application of support silk fabric. Moreover, information regarding the conservation of textile such as technical ideas and culture in each country were exchanged in time for the discussion. With the aim of contributing to the protection of Japanese textiles overseas, similar workshops will be implemented by introducing not only textile objects as tangible cultural properties, but also intangible cultural properties such as techniques of manufacture and restoration.
Attendance: Thirteen members of the Kyoto Prefectural Assembly Standing Committee for Culture and Education
Purpose of visit: Inspection of initiatives and facilities for the conservation, management, and utilization of cultural properties
Yasuhiro Hayakawa, Deputy Director of the Center for Conservation Science, explained the work being done at the Center.
Art and Gender: Two Decades of Progress Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems
The study of art history from the perspective of gender, which signifies the social and cultural constructs relating to male/female differences, developed in the West in the 1970s and ’80s. In Japan, gender was chosen as a theme by the Japan Art History Society in the ’90s, leading to exhibitions at art museums throughout the nation, attracting attention. Now, two decades later, we look back on the development and progress of gender studies. Ms.Reiko KOKATSU traced the footsteps in her presentation titled “The Gender Perspective: Its Introduction and Current Status in Japanese Art History Studies and Art Exhibitions.”
Ms. KOKATSU, who was involved in the planning of the 1997 “Floating Images of Women in Art History: from the Birth of the Feminism toward the Dissolution of the Gender” exhibition at the Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts, is also party to the ensuing “gender debate” that the exhibition helped to ignite. What emerged from the debate was the perspective of whether “art” exists as a separate world, cut off from real-world society. Ms. KOKATSU says such differences in perspective are prevalent in art circles even today. One example of coordinated movement by society and art might be the involvement of art historians in the protests against the “gender-free bashing” that became a social problem from 2004 to ’06.
After the presentation, Ms.Midori YAMAMURA (Special Researcher, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) spoke about the current state of gender studies in the USA. Ms.Maki KANEKO (University of Kansas) and Ms. Ryoko MIZUNO (Japan Women’s University) were also in attendance, with Ms.MIZUNO presenting some examples of the gender perspective in Japanese classical art studies. A multifaceted exchange of views took place in relation to art and gender.
For a summary of KOKATSU’s presentation, please refer to Vol. 12 of Gender History issued in 2016.
The “Cormorant Fishing Boat Project,” which has been underway at the Gifu Academy of Forest Science and Culture from May 22, has been successfully completed. The 13-meter-long cormorant boat was displayed at a launch ceremony on July 22.
The aim of this Project was to record and inherit boat-building techniques while actually engaging in building a cormorant boat, with the participation of American boat builder Douglas Brooks, under the guidance of boat builder Seiichi Nasu (86) of Mino City, Gifu Prefecture (also refer to our May 2017 Activities Report). Also participating were American naval architect Marc Bauer and Gifu Academy furniture student Satoshi Koyama. The boat-building process was open to the public in the shelter structure built within the Academy premises. Tobunken served in the roles of research and documentation, taking video records of virtually the entire building process. Going forward, we will be editing and assembling the records in a way that will be useful for acquiring the necessary building techniques, and plan to co-author written and video reports with Mr. Brooks by the end of the next fiscal year.
While the Project itself has come to a conclusion, the utilization, transmission, and dissemination of cormorant boats and their building techniques will continue across many fields. The cormorant boat built in the Project will be purchased by Yui no Fune, an organization that offers guided boat tours of Nagara River, and will be used to introduce river boat culture to the general public. Meanwhile, at Gifu Academy, work is underway to explore how smaller, more manageable boats can be made using the traditional techniques learned in the Project. Since techniques will not be handed down if there is no demand for them, there is a need for flexible thinking to devise boats that meet contemporary needs and interests.
The transmission of living techniques requires not only the compilation of academic records but also efforts to utilize them in contemporary ways and to make them more widely known to the general public. Tobunken intends to continue working with organizations and experts in a wide range of disciplines to explore better ways of transmitting these techniques.
Many thousands of cultural properties were severely damaged by the tsunami that occurred following the 2011 Off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku Earthquake. Although six years have passed from the disaster, treatment of the tsunami-damaged cultural properties continues in the disaster-stricken areas. In order to investigate the occurrence of volatile organic compounds, which are harmful to workers’ health, we made a contract with Rikuzentakata City and conducted a survey on the treatment methods for the tsunami-damaged cultural properties and on the working environment in the facility where treatments are conducted.
We visited the treatment facility in the Rikuzentakata City Museum, which is located in a temporarily closed school facility in Iwate Prefecture, for on-site research in August from the 25th to 26th. Damaged folk cultural properties are bathed in water for desalination in the school yard. On the first floor, paper documents are treated for desalination in a teachers’ room and cleaned natural history specimens are classified in a classroom. Treated objects are stored separately according to each type of cultural property in the classrooms on the second floor or a temporary installed storage facility in the gymnasium.
We were able to obtain a lot of valuable data about the air quality in the facility and water quality during treatment, helped by the cooperation of the museum staff. Temperature and humidity in the facility are continuously measured even now. By the end of this fiscal year, we plan to propose improvements after collecting data.
From July 6 to 31, 2017, conservation and restoration work was carried out on the outer walls of Me-taw-ya (No. 1205) temple on the Bagan Archaeological Site in Myanmar with the main objective of protecting the murals from rain damage. Based on the results of scientific analysis and physical testing of the various materials composing the temple, which had been conducted since FY2016, we re-assessed the problematic restoration materials and methods currently used. We then worked to restore the places most damaged by last year’s earthquake, and successfully completed our task with consideration given to compatibility between old and new materials.
On the request of the Myanmar Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture, we also made a presentation at the 10th Expert Meeting on Earthquake Damage to the Bagan Archaeological Site held on July 27, giving a report on our activities to date. This resulted in our work being highly commended for its utility in the context of today’s urgent need for restoration initiatives for the Bagan Site, and we were asked to further intensify our cooperation going forward.
In part to respond to these requests, we plan to continue with our consistent program of conservation and restoration, as well as to communicate repeatedly with local experts in order to construct conservation and restoration policies suited to the Bagan Archaeological Site.
These workshops are held annually for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese art objects such as paintings and calligraphic works overseas, and the promotion of understanding of these objects. In this year, the basic course “Japanese Paper and Silk Cultural Properties” was conducted from July 5th to 7th, 2017 and the advanced course “Restoration of Japanese Folding Screens” from the 10th to 14th at the Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin (Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) with the support of the Asian Art Museum and Museum of Technology (Deutsches Technikmuseum).
In the basic course, 11 restorers, conservators and students from seven countries participated. This course included lectures on the materials used for the cultural properties, such as adhesives, mineral pigments and paper. Practical works on painting on silk, Chinese ink painting and handling hanging scrolls were also conducted. In the advanced course, instructors from a certificated group holding the Selected Conservation Techniques “restoration techniques for mounts” gave practical works and lectures to nine restorers from six countries. This course aimed to provide a method in which Japanese folding screens are conserved using the traditional technique. The participants could understand the structure and functions of a folding screen by accomplishing processes from the underlying work to the application of the final surface paper.
Discussions were held in both courses actively. In addition to a question and answer session, opinions about restoration and applications of Japanese techniques and materials were exchanged.
Similar projects will be implemented with the aim of contribution of the preservation and utilization of Japan’s tangible and intangible cultural properties overseas by sharing information about conservation materials and techniques in Japan with conservators overseas.
The 41st Session of the World Heritage Committee was convened in Krakow, Poland from July 2 to 12, 2017. Tobunken staff attended the meetings and gathered information on trends relating to the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.
In discussions relating to inscription on the World Heritage List, it was striking that many cases were decided to be inscribed against the recommendations of the Advisory Bodies. Twenty-one sites were newly inscribed during the Session, but only 13 of them, including Japan’s Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region, were considered worthy of inscription by the Advisory Bodies. Some have pointed out that such reversing of the recommendations of the Advisory Bodies stems from their experts lacking a thorough understanding of the dossiers and additional information submitted by the States Parties. Others caution that the Committee Members, conscious of the various benefits that inscription on the World Heritage List imparts, are prioritizing political agendas over the assessment of experts. During the meetings, the chairperson repeatedly voiced his concerns over the politicization of the Committee discussions, but the direction of the discussions did not change significantly.
The States Parties to the World Heritage Convention have a duty to protect the World Heritage sites in their respective countries. When sites are inscribed on the World Heritage List before sufficient systems are in place for their protection and conservation, or in the absence of appropriate boundary and/or buffer zones of the property, it becomes difficult to fulfill this duty. The politicization of the World Heritage Committee no doubt reflects the high level of interest in World Heritage on the part of the States Parties. However, we felt that it was imperative for each State Party to act on the basis of expert knowledge necessary for the protection of their World Heritage sites, so that this high level of interest does not result in more harm done than good.
Archaeological Investigation and Risk Assessment for the Conservation and Management of Ta Nei Temple in Angkor, Cambodia
The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties is providing technical support to the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (hereafter APSARA) to draft a plan for the conservation and management of Ta Nei Temple. From July 16 to 30, 2017, we carried out an archaeological excavation and risk assessment of the buildings (Figure 1).
Our excavation was mainly to identify remains of the East Approach to the temple, located at its front. We worked with APSARA staff with the cooperation of the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. When we cleared the underbrush along about 100 meters from the Eastern Gate of the outer enclosure to the East Baray reservoir, we discovered remains of a laterite terrace on the bank of the reservoir, suggesting the high likelihood of this location being the starting point for an approach leading to the Eastern Gate.
We first opened a trench measuring 2 meters east-west and 10 meters north-south about 12 meters east of the Eastern Gate (Figure 2). Our excavations revealed a ditch running east-west 50 cm below the current ground level. The ditch was about 2 meters wide and filled with amounts of fine chips of laterite (1cm-0.5cm in diameter), suggesting the possibility of an approach. In addition, both sides of the ditch were covered with fist-sized sandstone cobbles.
For the purpose of finding the rest of this ditch as well as to verify the initial ground level, we opened a trench measuring 2 meters east-west and 2.5 meters north-south along the Eastern Gate and dug down. This trench revealed a sandstone cobbles covered surface that spread out over the entire surface 50 cm under the current ground level, and we were unable to detect any remains of the ditch.
We are planning another excavation in November to determine further details of the Eastern Approach and to identify the entirety of the newly discovered terrace-like remains.
One of the major charms of Ta Nei Temple is its ancient ruin-like setting, relatively untouched by human hand compared to other Angkor ruins. On the other hand, there is a need to prevent further collapse, in part to ensure the safety of visitors. Therefore, it is urgent for support structures to be installed and updated in a planned, organized manner on the basis of structural risk assessment of the overall temple complex. We decided to create elevation maps using SfM and conduct a risk assessment starting from the major buildings along the central axis. We started with two buildings with which we worked to establish the procedures for such operations. This work is currently being continued by APSARA staff.
To preserve the buildings and surroundings in good condition, as well as to help visitors to the area better understand the significance and value of the site, we wish to intensify our cooperation toward academic elucidation and achievement of effective conservation.