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

Cooperating for the Reconstruction of the Historic Townscape of Padang, Indonesia

The current state of registered buildings in the historic area.
A sound building, a repaired building, one left without intervention, one demolished with a fence installed (from left to right).
Discussions at Padang local administrative organizations concerned

 In the framework of the Cooperation Project for the Rehabilitation of Earthquake-affected Cultural Heritage in the historic district of Padang in West Sumatra, Indonesia, commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have been conducting activities to support Padang. The city suffered severe damaage from the earthquake of September 30, 2009. Our support consists in integrating together with local bodies the protection and conservation of cultural heritage within the more general urban reconstruction process. As a first step in a series of surveys and activities to be executed until February 2011, we conducted a field survey on the state of restoration of historic buildings and twonscape from October 16 to 25.
 In this survey, we recorded the current status of the town one year after the earthquake, taking the data of the damage assessment survey of November 2009 (immediately after the earthquake) as basis for comparison. Although the rubble had been cleaned and the bustle of the town had returned, the state of restoration of the buildings that make up the historic townscape was varied. The number of registered heritage buildings, whose restoration had advanced was very limited, and many buildings were left untouched since the earthquake; some lots had been cleared completely.
 In the discussions with the governor and the local organizations concerned, our understanding matched in that the protection of cultural heritage contributes to the reconstruction of the town and that the cooperation of specialists, government and residents is important. We will thus continue working with local specialists, cooperating with the central, state and city governments. An on-site workshop on written cultural heritage is planned for November, and workshops on historic buildings and townscape will be held in December and January in Padang. Immediately after our survey team returned from its mission, an earthquake and tsunami hit West Sumatra again. Although Padang did not seem to have suffered heavy damage, this disaster strengthened our desire to contribute to the reconstruction of the town and the maintenance of a safe living environment through the protection of cultural heritage.

Expert Meeting on Cultural Heritage in Asia and the Pacific: Cultural Heritage in East Asia: What can we find and share through international cooperative activities for protecting cultural heritage?

View of discussions
Commemorative photo of participants

 From March 4 to 6, 2010, we held the Expert Meeting on Cultural Heritage in Asia and the Pacific at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, entitled “Cultural Heritage in East Asia: What can we find and share through international cooperative activities for protecting cultural heritage?” A total of 63 experts in the field of conserving cultural heritages got together from the China National Institute of Cultural Property; the National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Korea; the DunHuang Academy; the UNESCO Beijing Office; the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Region Training Research Center; the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties; and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. They discussed the current status and future of international cooperation in cultural heritage protection activities. The discussed how research organizations can have international cooperation. We were able to share various experiences and information, such as details of cooperative research and operations conducted by the research institutes, mutual cultivation of talent, and standardization of documentation of cultural heritage. This was the first opportunity for us to have a deep exchange of opinions for more than 20 hours at a meeting of experts like this. We developed a relationship with the research institutes. In addition, it can be said that we have made a start toward planning future projects and obtaining concrete results.

Networking Core Centers Project: Training Workshop in Mongolia’s Amarbayasgalant Monastery for Building Restoration

On-site survey
Survey result presentations were evaluated

 We dispatched four experts from Japan from August 18 to 29 as part of the Networking Core Centers Project in Mongolia and held a training workshop on the conservation and restoration of wooden buildings at the Amarbayasgalant Monastery in northern Selenge Province. This was the second workshop in 2009 jointly planned by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of Mongolia. The purpose was to contribute in capacity building for the conservation and repair techniques of wooden buildings in Mongolia.
 The workshop allowed students of the Architecture Department of the Mongolian State University of Scientific Technology to learn about the preliminary surveys needed for conservation/repair and design, and basic methods of drawing a plan as based on site survey. In classroom lectures the students learned the methods of repairing and surveying the buildings of cultural heritage in Mongolia and Japan, and in field practice they measured the buildings of Amarbayasgalant Monastery.
 Japanese temple/shrine master carpenter who had been dispatched by UNESCO as instructor during the repairs of the Monastery in the 1980s also participated to this training, so that the students could receive practical training on concrete methods of survey, drawing, and planning.
 Although it was the first time for the students to survey a historic wooden building by actually touching it, the lecturers could see that through the training process their view about buildings was being formed by on-site experience.
 In Mongolia, where there are few experts majoring in the conservation of cultural heritage buildings, we believe that the students have demonstrated the potential capacity of the future of the conservation of wooden buildings.

Networking Core Exchange Program – Mongolia: Technical Exchange Workshop on Color Painting of Wooden Structures

Introduction to example of repairing Japanese color coating
Practice: Understanding the outline of drawing patterns with the naked eye

 As part of the networking core exchange program in Mongolia, five specialists from Japan visited Mongolia from July 20 to 29. They held a technical exchange workshop on the color painting of wooden structures at the restoration site of Bereven Monastery in Khentii Aimag Prefecture. This workshop was planned jointly by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in Mongolia (MECS), in order to improve the wooden structure conservation and repair techniques to meet the current needs of Mongolia.
 The first half of the workshop contained presentations and opinion exchange on the repair and restoration plan and execution of color painting, traditional repair and restoration techniques, and scientific analysis. In the latter half, we analyzed and practiced on old material of the monastery using Japanese traditional color painting. The four Mongolian participants from each organization were in charge of color painting from the National Center of Cultural Heritage (CCH) and Suld-Uul Company, which has been contracted for the conservation and repair of historical buildings. The experts who did the actual restoration from both countries exchanged opinions and found common basic principles. Although some differences were revealed, sharing this significant information will benefit future technical exchange.
 When the workshop was finished, the Japanese specialists visited the Amarbayasgalant Temple of the Selenge Aimag Prefecture in northern Mongolia, and used scientific analysis to survey the existing color coating. Through this survey, the participants became aware of the importance of sharing information on analytical methods and results, and found a desire for continued exchange between experts. We feel that we have another place where Japanese experience and technology can contribute to the conservation of Mongolian cultural heritage.

Control of World Heritage and Conservation Workshop in 2009

Study of issues when managing world heritage (Peace Memorial Park)
Preparing group work: “Application for World Heritage (Simulation)”

 We participated in the international training workshop Conservation for Peace – World Heritage Impact Assessment: Series Control and Conservation of World Heritage, which was held by the Hiroshima Office of United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), from April 19 to 25, 2009 as part of a study on the applications of international training. Hiroshima Prefecture sponsored the sixth training session this year, and the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Getty Conservation Institute, the International Council on Monument and Sites (ICOMOS), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) sent lecturers. Forty two speakers participated from 23 countries, mainly persons working in management, administration, and research organizations of world heritage sites (natural and cultural heritage) in the Asia-Pacific region.
 The training consisted of three sessions: a classroom lecture, an on-site inspection, and group work. We heard lectures on management and were able to understand the importance of world heritage (natural and cultural heritage) and impact assessment. Then we visited the World Heritage Sites in Hiroshima (Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Park, and Itsukushima Shinto Srine and Miyajima), to evaluate issues at the local sites and have the opportunity to apply and compare the cases in different Asian countries. The work was divided into five groups, including heritage that has not yet been registered as a world heritage site, in which participants created a simplified edition of world heritage registration application, emphasizing impact assessment with respect to the value of the heritage. At the round table open to public on the final date, the participants and citizens exchanged opinions on the issues of Hiroshima’s world heritage through discussions.
 We acquired the specific data on the issues of world heritages in Asia, and also learned the training application method ? using advance preparation to achieve the maximum effect in a short training period, interactive lectures, and the inclusion of the “After Action Review” evaluation method.

Networking Core Centres for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage, Project in Mongolia

Meeting with the chairman of UMA
Viewing survey and restoration drawings at the National Archives

 As part of the Networking Core Centres Project for Mongolia, four members of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation visited Ulan Baator from March 9 to 13 and held discussions to prepare technical cooperation projects for the recording and documenting of stone ruins and the restoration of buildings. Our counterparts are Mr. Enkhbat, Director of the Center for Cultural Heritage of Mongolia, for training programs related to the conservation of stone ruins in Khentii province, and Ms. Oyunbileg, Senior Officer in charge of museums and cultural heritage at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of Mongolia, for training programs related to the conservation of buildings. In regard to the training program for the conservation of buildings, we met the chairman of the Union of Mongolian Architects (UMA) and exchanged information about topics such as the role of architects in the restoration and conservation of heritage buildings, ways to determine repair and conservation planning methodology, the current state of conservation works, issues related to capacity development as well as execution and control at worksites. We also visited the National Archives of Mongolia and were deeply impressed when we learned that all Mongolian architecture-related documents from 1939 onward, including those related to built heritage conservation, are stored there. We also found similarities between survey methods used in Mongolia and in Japan as we studied an old temple’s actual survey and restoration plans and drawings made in the 1980s. This visit to Mongolia allowed us to capture a good view of the way to further achieve the purpose of the Networking Project: building a system for conservation of cultural heritage that best suits the situation of Mongolia, whilst nurturing experts in this field and the next generation, through mutual communication.

16th ICOMOS General Assembly/International Symposium (Québec, Canada)

Visiting restored urban areas of old Québec
ICOMOS General Assembly

 I participated in the 16th ICOMOS General Assembly held in Québec (Canada) from September 27 to October 4, as a part of research activities on international trends in cultural heritage conservation.
 Experts of various fields related to conservation of tangible cultural heritage assembled from around the world. Approximately 20 people from Japan attended making the 2nd largest delegation from the Asia-Pacific region. The theme “Finding the Spirit of the Place” was discussed throughout the whole session, at the General Assembly, during the International Forum for Young Researchers and Professionals, the meetings of the International Scientific Committees (ISCs), the International Scientific Symposium, as well as site visits. The Forum for Young Researchers and Professionals (Sept. 27-28) was a new attempt where young researchers contributed to active discussions. As many as 23 specialized meetings were set for the ISC meetings (Sept. 29) among which I attended five meetings where Japan was little or not represented so far, and calling for greater participation. On September 30, the opening of the General Assembly took place. The International Symposium (Oct. 1-2) had four simultaneous sessions set around the theme ‘Spirit of the Place’; various examples of conservation practices from all over the world were introduced along with poster sessions. On September 3, the participants divided into seven groups to visit the heritage of Québec, its old city and surrounding sites. As a result of the General Assembly and the elections, one member from Japan was elected for the Executive Committee and one member was admitted to honorary membership.  Throughout these eight days we had valuable opportunities to actively exchange opinions and develop networks further ahead.

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