|■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
Investigating a sample from target building
Sample with the finishing layer from each period carved out in tiers
As part of this project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Japanese Government, a compositional analysis of the finishing layer of a group of buildings adjacent to Aganchen Temple at Hanumandhoka Palace, Kathmandu, was performed using an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, etc., from February 22nd to 28th, 2019, with permission from the Department of Archaeology, Government of Nepal.
On-site surveys conducted so far have revealed that a number of extensions and structural alterations had been made to these buildings. In particular, the wall finish recoating history and the remaining finishing layers at hidden areas of retrofitted support members are important clue in learning about the changes to the buildings. Study on the specifications and coloring of each recoated layer has continued.
This time, the composing materials of the finishing layers were identified in order to understand how specifications changed according to the times, and a scientific analysis was performed using an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer and a Raman spectrometry system to examine the history of extensions and structural alterations.
A fragment of the finishing layers investigated comprised a maximum of 10 different sets of layers. Surface and undercoat layers from each period were carved out in tiers and analyzed.
Red iron oxide and minute amounts of gold were confirmed in red-colored areas of the old mural painting layer, and a spectrum quite similar to lapis lazuli was derived from the sky-blue finishing layer recoated in later years. While a detailed analysis of the derived data has yet to be performed, it can be inferred from the use of such precious materials that these buildings had continued to be used as important ritual or residential spaces for a royal family since their initial construction in the 17th century.
In the process of surveying the remains, a mural painting was discovered behind the extended wall section, and it is possible that this mural dates back to a period just after the original construction of the building. Further surveys, including through scientific methods, such as the one used this time, and studies of appropriate preservation measures are still needed.
Hereafter, we will continue to elucidate the history concealed in the buildings themselves, and while preserving such significant material evidence, we will consider how to go about restoring these buildings in association with the Nepalese counterpart.
Exchanging opinions in the oil painting restoration laboratory
Ongoing survey on educational facilities
As part of the above-mentioned program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we visited Turkish universities which have cultural property conservation and restoration courses to survey their educational systems from November 4th to 9th, 2018. For FY 2018, we made visits to the Department of Cultural Heritage Conservation and Restoration, the Faculty of Fine Arts, Ankara University, and the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Movable Cultural Assets, the Faculty of Letters, Istanbul University, in addition to the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties, the Faculty of Fine Arts, Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli University (former Gazi University) which has been cooperating in the key training program of this project, “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation.” At each university, faculty members delivered a presentation on teaching programs restoration techniques together with briefing on educational facilities. We also tried to clarify and share the current educational issues associated with conservation of cultural properties through opinion exchanges.
Taking advantage of its merits as a university organization, every university endeavored to solve facility and human resource shortages by promoting joint projects with another course and a local government concerned. The faculty members of each university were experts who had been technically trained for conservation and restoration of cultural properties in the western countries and Europe regardless of their training periods. On the other hand, we found that it would be essential to reinforce their educational systems further for diverse cultural properties in need scattered throughout Turkey.
Many of the graduates from these universities are now working for the national conservation and restoration centers, to which the trainees of the mural painting conservation program belong. The outcomes of this survey will be utilized for our deeper understanding of their educational backgrounds.
Group photo with trainees
Survey at Tagar Church (St. Theodore Church)
As part of the above-mentioned program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we provided a seminar titled “Challenges and Issues to Wall Painting Conservation” from October 30 through November 2, 2017. The seminar held at Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University attracted 30 conservators and restorers from 10 national conservation and restoration centers in Turkey.
This seminar aims to review the existing emergency procedures, which are important in conserving mural paintings in Turkey, as well as to establish the protocol. For this first seminar, we delivered introductory lectures on “Mural Painting Techniques and Main Causes of Deterioration,” “Principles in Conservation and Restoration” and so on. An opportunity provided to exchange opinions on lectures between lecturers and trainees resulted in motivating the members to work on challenges together in a united effort.
On the last day of the seminar, we visited Tagar Church (St. Theodore Church), where on-site training is planned from the next year, to check the conservation state of the mural painting in the church based on the knowledge learned from the lectures delivered to date. We discussed how emergency procedures should be as important steps in conserving and managing mural paintings unlike general conservation and restoration projects, eliciting a variety of views from them.
At present, a system to conserve and manage mural paintings well has not been established fully in Turkey. It is important for us to proceed with this program in step with the Turkish government.
Before starting this seminar program, we visited the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties, Faculty of Fine Arts, Gazi University to exchange opinions for enhancement of the seminar program. Four training courses will be provided by 2019. We hope to build up a practical and feasible system for experts engaged in conservation activities for cultural properties by all the members attending these seminar courses.
Current state at St. Theodore Church
Presentation of case examples at Gazi University
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted a field survey from June 12 to 24, 2017. During this survey visit, we also held meetings with Turkish parties concerned in preparation for the “Training course on the first-aid of mural paintings” to be held in the Republic of Turkey in the fall of 2017 or later. The main purposes of this past survey visit were to further improve our understandings of the current state of mural conservation in Turkey and also to determine the sites suitable for the hands-on session that will be a part of the training course. The mural paintings at about 15 locations, including churches in Trabzon on the Black Sea coast and cave churches scattered around the Göreme district in Cappadocia, were surveyed and valuable information was acquired to enrich contents of the training course.
During our visit to the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties, Faculty of Fine Arts, Gazi University, and the Regional Laboratory for Conservation and Restoration in Nevşehir that have provided continuous cooperation in advancing the project forward since last fiscal year, presentations on case examples of the conservation and restoration of murals in Turkey were given and we had meaningful opportunities to exchange views regarding the topics of the program with lecturers who will engaged in the training course.
The first training course is scheduled to be held in October for Turkish specialists who are engaged in conservation of the cultural properties. We will proceed with the preparation of the training course so that it will become a good opportunity to consider and realize further improvement of protecting cultural properties from a new perspective.
Meeting to exchange views and opinions
On-site inspection of a mural painting
From October 29th through November 14th, 2016, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation held a meeting to exchange views and opinions on the conservation of and management system for mural paintings and conducted an inspection tour in the Republic of Turkey. The meeting took place, targeting administrative officials in charge of conserving mural paintings in the country, conservation and restoration specialists, educators and university students, at three venues, namely, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Faculty of Art and Design, Gazi University in Ankara, and the Argos Hotel in Cappadocia. Through a presentation on a training program associated with the conservation and management of the mural paintings of cave churches of Cappadocia planned by the Center, we were able to identify participants’ needs firsthand and obtain valuable information that will be helpful in developing projects in the future.
Meanwhile, the inspection tour covered cave churches scattered about the Goreme district in Cappadocia, cave churches in Ihlara Valley, Çatalhöyük, the Antalya Museum, St. Nicholas Church in Demre, and the ruins of Ephesus, under the cooperation of the Nevsehir Conservation and Restoration Center and the Conservation and Restoration Department, Faculty of Art and Design, Gazi University. This tour allowed us to deepen our understanding of the actual situation of maintaining and managing a wide variety of mural paintings in this nation. We will continue to conduct similar surveys, identifying points to be improved and new issues so as to translate them into new future projects.
Meeting at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Turkey
Inspection of wall paintings in a church in Ihlara Valley
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted a field survey from June 18th to 24th to understand the conservation and management system of wall paintings in the Republic of Turkey. In Ankara, we visited the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties, Faculty of Fine Arts, Gazi University, which has restored many wall paintings in the country, and listened to an explanation of methods of conservation and restoration that were actually used in each project. We then had a meeting with the officials including the deputy director of the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Museums at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and agreed on the development of a cooperative system with the Center to further enhance maintenance and management of wall paintings in Turkey. In a courtesy visit to Hiroshi Oka, ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Japan to Turkey, we discussed topics such as the latest security situation and cultural policy in the country based on recent world affairs.
As an inspection, we visited Kaman-Kalehöyük Archaeological Museum established with ODA from Japan, with guidance by Sachihiro Omura, Director of the Japanese Institute of Anatolian Archaeology, and studied the conservation state of the wall paintings in churches scattered across the Göreme district in Cappadocia and Ihlara Valley.
We will continue to inspect the wall paintings in various locations in Turkey. At the same time, we are planning activities to educate conservation and restoration specialists in wall paintings and conservation and management workers who will lead operations in the future while learning about current maintenance and management of wall paintings in Turkey as well as finding room to improve and challenges to undertake.