|■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
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.
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.
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.
Practice cleaning the surface of archeological metal objects
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted a workshop on conservation of archaeological metal objects at the History Museum of Armenia from May 29 to June 8, 2012. This project was part of the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan. This workshop was the second conservation workshop, following one in late January and early February of 2012. Ten young Armenian experts from the History Museum of Armenia and other institutes in Armenia participated in the workshop. The workshop began with practical conservation techniques with a focus on surface cleaning and desalination of archaeological metal objects, i.e. removal of corrosion and incrustation. The workshop included lectures on examples of conservation work in Japan, conservation techniques overall, and cleaning and desalination of archeological metals. The workshop also included practice with photography, condition check, exhibition/conservation planning, and conservation treatments. This workshop helped improve the knowledge and skills of Armenian experts.
The next workshop will continue with surface cleaning, e.g. corrosion removal, and techniques to prepare objects for exhibition at the Museum after next year. Plans are to conduct an elemental analysis of objects once they have been conserved and study techniques for their fabrication in greater depth.
A presentation by Ms. Yelena Atyants at the Seminar
Under the exchange program for museums in Asia, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation invited Ms. Yelena Atyants, head of conservation at the History Museum of Armenia, to Japan from February 26 to March 3, 2012. In conjunction with her visit, an open seminar on “exchange programs for the conservation of cultural properties in the History Museum of Armenia” on February 27, 2012 was held at the NRICPT. The seminar included a description of NRICPT projects at the History Museum, an introduction to the History Museum, a report on results of the 1st Workshop on Conservation of Archeological Metal Objects (which took place in January and February 2012 in Armenia), and a presentation on exchanges regarding conservation of textile artifacts in the History Museum of Armenia.
There is no Japanese embassy in the Republic of Armenia at this moment, so there are few opportunities to widely publicize cooperation/exchanges like those mentioned. Hopes are that the current project will help to facilitate cooperation/exchanges between Japan and the Republic of Armenia in various areas beyond the protection of cultural properties.
Photography in practice
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted workshops on conservation of archaeological metal objects at the History Museum of Armenia from late January to early February 2012. From January 24 to February 3, 2012, a training workshop with documentation as its theme was conducted for 10 younger Armenian experts of the History Museum of Armenia and other organizations. The workshop included lectures like “occupational health and safety,” “museums and conservation,” “metals science,” and “science and analytical techniques in relation to cultural properties” as well as practice with “photography,” “condition check,” “optical studies using microscopes,” and “elemental analysis using handheld XRF analyzers.” In addition to covering selection of appropriate methods of conservation treatment, the workshop covered the establishment of a network of domestic experts and study of the techniques for fabricating bronze objects.
From February 7th to the 11th, an international workshop on the conservation of archaeological metals was held. In addition to the 10 young Armenian conservation experts, attendees included several Armenian archaeologists and scientists who study archeological metals in Armenia and international metals conservators/experts from Georgia, Iran, and Romania. Attendees gave presentations on the study of Armenian metals and on the state of museums and conservation in their own countries. The workshop helped to foster the exchange of information and establish networks.
We will begin practical conservation treatments such as corrosion removal in the next mission. Plans are to perform elemental analysis after conservation and study techniques for fabrication of objects in greater depth.
Conclusion of the Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding
Our institute concluded an agreement with Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia and a memorandum of understanding with the History Museum of Armenia on June 24, 2011 at the Ministry of Culture in Yerevan, the Republic of Armenia.
The agreement covers comprehensive cooperation in the field of the conservation of cultural heritage in the Republic of Armenia. The agreement seeks to train Armenian experts on cultural heritage through joint projects and workshops at home and abroad. The memorandum of understanding agrees to cooperation in the training of experts in the conservation and study of metal artifacts kept by the History Museum of Armenia.
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation plans to begin efforts pursuant to the agreement and memorandum of understanding in the autumn of 2011.
Occupational health and safety training
Conclusion of an agreement on full-fledged cooperation
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation is continuing to assist with the Project for the Conservation Center of the Grand Egyptian Museum implemented by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Occupational Health and Safety Training was conducted at the Conservation Center from April 27 (Thurs.) – May 5 (Thurs.), 2011. Professor Fumiyoshi Kirino of the Tokyo University of the Arts and Akira Fujisawa of the National Research Institute’s Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation were sent to the Center by JICA to serve as instructors. Egyptians have no chance to study occupational health and safety at institutions of higher education that teach conservation and restoration of cultural properties, and Egyptian experts often have doubts about their health and safety during their everyday work. The knowledge and skills they need have been determined from previously implemented training, leading to the current training program. Training was warmly welcomed, and trainees have often asked for repeated instruction. The goal is to provide everyone working at the Conservation Center, from restoration experts to cleaning personnel, with a shared awareness of health and safety through periodic training.
In addition, 3 individuals from the National Research Institute participated in the phase 2 study (full-fledged cooperation) to formulate a detailed plan that JICA implemented from May 27 (Fri.) – June 4 (Sat.). With the written cooperation of experts, JICA consulted Egyptian representatives about the potential for future cooperation based on the phase 2 human resources development plan coordinated by the National Research Institute. As a result, JICA promised Egyptian representatives that it would assist with the teaching and training of experts working at the Conservation Center, and the early stages of full-fledged cooperation began after this July. Accordingly, the National Research Institute plans to cooperate more effectively with JICA.
Survey of artifacts in the History Museum of Armenia
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation began Cooperation to Safeguard Cultural Heritage in the Countries of the Caucasus as part of the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project commissioned by the Agency of Cultural Affairs. This year, the program will operate out of the History Museum of Armenia and teach and train personnel in conservation and restoration of metal and textile artifacts.
The Republic of Armenia has a number of materials that are extremely valuable historically but cannot encourage research and conservation and restoration as expected due to the lack of financial resources, personnel, educational institutions, and information. The country craves foreign assistance to teach and train personnel in the area of protecting cultural properties.
A preparatory team was sent to the country from April 3 (Sun.) – 13 (Wed.), 2011. The team consulted with officials of the Ministry of Culture (which oversees museums), it inspected the History Museum of Armenia’s conservation and restoration facility and repository, and team members talked directly with conservation and restoration experts working there about specific details on research cooperation.
As a result, preparations are currently underway to conclude an agreement and memorandum of understanding with Armenian representatives. Preparations are also underway to begin workshops and joint projects regarding conservation and restoration and scientific study of the metal and textile artifacts in the History Museum of Armenia.
Analysis training using a conservation scientific device at National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (training on using a latest handheld X-ray fluorescence instrument produced by JEPOL)
IPM training (training on antifungal test) at Center for Fungal Consultation
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation continues to cooperate with a technical support project at the Conservation Center of Grand Egyptian Museum, conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
From September 14 to October 7 (a part of training sessions on September 24), six conservators of the Conservation Center of Grand Egyptian Museum were invited to Japan, and three training sessions were executed in parallel to respond to the current status and issues in the Center.
At the “Conservation and restoration management” session (until September 24), Mr. Osama Abd Elsalam, the deputy director at the Conservation Center of Grand Egyptian Museum, visited the Kyushu National Museum, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties in Nara, and the Shosoin Office, and discussed with their managers what can be done in order to improve the operation and management of the center.
In the “Analysis using scientific devices for conservation” training session, three conservation scientists attended lectures and practical training at the Kyushu National Museum, the National Museum of Japanese History, and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, and learned the analytical techniques needed when using devices in conservation and restoration, the selection of devices for purposes, and knowledge and techniques in regard to application in conservation and restoration.
In “IPM (microorganisms)” training, two Egyptian specialists, who belong to the microorganism laboratory, executed culture, the separation and identification of fungi and bacteria at the Center for Fungal Consultation, the National Institute of Health Sciences, and the Osaka Prefectural Institute of Public Health.
We will continually conduct training so that they can acquire the skills for operating scientific devices for conservation and so they may carry out conservation/restoration techniques so that the staff members in the conservation and restoration fields will be able to cooperate and supplement each other so work can be performed.
Training on packaging relics of various materials and shapes
Training on transporting a heavy object
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation continues to cooperate with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which is conducting a technical support project for establishing and operating the Conservation Center of the Grand Egyptian Museum.
As part of this project, JICA dispatched four instructors from Nippon Express to Egypt from July 3 to 19, and held training on packing for transport in the Conservation Center. This was the second time this training had been held, following the one-week training for seven invited Egyptian conservation specialists that was conducted in the National Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, last October.
We used as many locally procured materials and educational tools as possible and executed on-the-job training, using the latest equipment transported from Japan, in addition to the equipment installed in the Conservation Center. The objects to be packed in the training ranged from small ones to heavy ones weighing about 200 kg, and we used not only replicas but also real relics. The training included robust packing for transport from an external storage site or museum to the Conservation Center, loading and unloading them to and from a vehicle for transport and simple packing for transport between laboratories within the Center and activities during transport. As in the previous training, we also paid attention to conveying the Japanese mentality of being committed to work with a love of relics, in addition to transferring techniques. We hope that the trainees who learned the packing techniques and the spirit of these training sessions will work carefully and speedily when actually packing items for transport.
We will proceed to offer cooperation in effective capacity development that is suitable for the individual levels of specialists, aiming for full-scale operation of the Center.
IPM practical training
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been continuing to cooperate in the technical support project of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to establish and operate the Conservation Center in Egypt, an affiliated organization of the Grand Egyptian Museum.
As part of this project, three Japanese conservation specialists were dispatched to the local site from May 14 to 22, and IPM training took place at the Conservation Center. IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management, and it indicates here integrated management for preventing harmful organisms from damaging cultural properties. Before this training, the staff of the Conservation Center had little idea about IPM, but its concept has led to the continuous management activities of Egyptian staff such as their own monitoring after training. On June 14, the opening ceremony of the Conservation Center took place with the attendance of Ms. Susan Mubarak, the first lady of Egypt. There are currently more than 120 Center employees and restoration specialists, and a further increase in this number is being examined. Thousands of relics have already been brought to the Center, and restoration and conservation work has started gradually. We will continuously move forward with effective cooperation in capacity development that is suitable for the various levels of the individual specialists, aiming for full-scale operation of the Center in the future.
Viewing the repository
Visiting the Conservation Center of the Grand Egyptian Museum
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation continues to provide technical support for the establishment and operation of the Conservation Center which is an affiliated organization of the Grand Egyptian Museum, as requested by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
We dispatched a mission of 10 Japanese experts in conservation/restoration and storage/management and two of the Institute’s staff members to Egypt for preliminary investigation from October 26 to November 14 at the longest (schedule differs depending on specialty field in charge). The purpose of this mission is to establish a plan of fostering human resources in the full-scale cooperation stage, Phase II (second stage), which is to start in April, 2010.
During this period, we visited the Conservation Center of Grand Egyptian Museum twice, had repeated discussions with the executives of the project on the Egyptian side and the restoration specialists who were proceeding with the preparations at the local site, and learned about the progress of the establishment of the Center. Also, we had an opportunity to visit the repository of the Museum to which the cultural properties are to be moved and talk with the restoration specialists, and learned about the current situation of conservation/restoration of cultural properties in Egypt. Based on the results of this investigation, we will summarize the human resource fostering plan established by an expert, and submit it to Egypt through JICA. We will promote further cooperation toward the establishment and operation of the Center.
Dyeing practice using synthetic dye
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, in response to a request from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), offered technical support for the project of establishing a Conservation and Restoration Center as an affiliated organization of the Grand Egyptian Museum, which is located in Giza, Egypt. For approximately two months from July 8, 2009 to September 1, we are executing first training session for this project in order to foster human resources and transfer technology. Two trainees who work for to the Conservation and Restoration Center of the Grand Egyptian Museum, Ms.Dalia Ali Elsaid and Ms.Venice Ibrahim Attia, were selected from among 22 Egyptian conservation/restoration specialists. They are attending the training class on conservation and restoration of dyed goods together with Iraqi trainees invited to the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, through grants from the Institute and the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust and are improving their expertise accordingly. This training is performed through a combination of lecture and practicum through the cooperation of specialists from the facilities in the Joshibi University of Art and Design.
Training on the status investigation at Egypt Museum
Practical training of documentation
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation provides technical support for the establishment of the Conservation Center, an affiliated organization of the Grand Egyptian Museum at Giza, the construction of which is currently underway, in response to a request from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Various conservation workshops have been held since last year for capacity development of specialists who will play active roles at the center. In a metals conservation workshop held for five days from March 1 to 5 in the meeting room of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, a lecturer, who has extensive experience in excavation and research in Egypt and in conservation projects, was invited from Greece. In the lecture, she explained the characteristics of metals in the first half of the workshop. In the second half of the workshop, participants were given an opportunity for hands-on practice on conservation, and storage. For practical training of documentation, they were able to use the collection in the Egyptian Museum. As a result, the workshop was very significant. We will answer further requests from Egypt and continue to support capacity development and technology transfer of techniques.
Mr. Sawara at work
Mr. Hakim-Zada at work
In the process of safeguarding the Bamiyan site, conducted by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (Tokyo and Nara) since 2003, several hundred Buddhist manuscripts were discovered in stone caves. However, since the condition of these manuscripts was very poor, immediate conservation measures were necessary.
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation invited Afghan conservation experts from the Kabul Museum as was done last year and jointly executed the conservation of these birch bark Buddhist manuscripts. Mr. Mohammad Sarwar Akbar and Mr. Hakim-Zada Abdullah stayed from November 14, 2008 to January 30, 2009. The deformed pieces were spread and mounted (secured on supporting body) for future exhibition. An observation of the surface of the Buddhist manuscripts made at the Institute with the cooperation of experts in conservation science revealed that there were some pieces to which a substance, most likely pattra (palmyra leaves), and pigments had adhered to the surface. All the 589 pieces were conserved and safely returned to the Kabul Museum in Afghanistan on January 30.
Joint conservation with Afghans allowed us to cooperate in capacity building and transfer of techniques for Afghans who are engaged in the rehabilitation of cultural properties.