|■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
Consultation on conservation plans for the paintings
Investigation of the hanging scroll
Among overseas art collections, there are numerous Japanese art objects that play a significant role in representing Japanese culture in their regions. However, since the conservators-restorers who are specialized in these objects are rarely overseas and the proper conservation treatment cannot be undertaken on the objects, quite a few objects cannot be shown to the public. Thus, the Institute conducts the Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas in order to contribute to the conservation-restoration and utilization of these objects.
On 26th March, the Institute’s researchers and conservators visited Grassi Museum of Ethnology in Leipzig and investigated the paintings for the purpose of formulating conservation plans and selecting objects for conservation under the Cooperative Program. Two hanging scrolls and a pair of folding screens, which had been chosen based on the collection survey conducted last year, were observed to record their components and conditions in detail. After the investigation, we consulted with the Museum about future conservation plans by explaining the conditions of each object as well as details about the Cooperative Program. Moreover, there was also a discussion on the possibility of future cooperation in the techniques of conservation of painting in each country such as an exhibition of techniques seen from ethnologic perspectives.
Practical work for understanding the structure of kimono using a paper model
Practical work of applying a silk fabric support
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.
Demonstration of straining paste with a sieve
From November 9th through 25th, 2016, the “Paper Conservation in Latin America” was held as a part of the LATAM program (conservation of cultural heritage in LatinAmerica and the Caribbean) run by the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) at the Coordinacion Nacional de Conservacion del Patrimonio Cultural (CNCPC) in Mexico City, which belongsto Mexico’s Ministry of Culture. The course drew a total of 11 specialists in restoration of cultural properties from 8 countries, that is, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.
The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) hosted the first part of the course (from 9th through 17th), which included lectures and a practical session conducted by TNRICP researchers and a restorer of a certificated organization holding “soko” (restoration technique based on traditional mounting) which is selected as Techniques for the Preservation of Cultural Properties by Japanese government. With the aim of applying Japanese restoration techniques to cultural properties overseas,
lectures were given on the protection system of cultural properties in Japan, and tools and materials used in restoration. In addition, a practical session was held to deepen participants’ understanding of culture and at the same time characteristics of restoration in Japan. The practical session was carried out with CNCPC staff members who learned “soko” for several months at TNRICP.
In the latter half of the course (from 18th through 25th), specialists in restoration of cultural properties from Mexico, Spain and Argentina gave lectures. The main theme was application of traditional handmade Japanese paper to Western conservation and restoration techniques. As the conservation and restoration of paper cultural properties in Latin America has not yet reached those in Europe and the United States, they lectured on how to select materials and apply their techniques to Western paper. These lectures were followed by practical sessions. Specialists in charge of the lectures and practical sessions had previously participated in international courses organized by TNRICP, and we were able to reaffirm that technical exchange through these courses contributes to the protection of cultural properties overseas.
Demonstration of lining in a practical session
International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper took place from August 29th through September16th, 2016. This course has been held jointly by the Tokyo National Research Institute for CulturalProperties (TNRICP) and theInternationalCentrefor theStudy of thePreservation and Restoration ofCultural Property (ICCROM) since 1992. The course aims to disseminate techniques and knowledge on the preservation and restoration of cultural properties made of paper in Japan so as to contribute to the protection of cultural properties overseas. In 2016, among 64 applicants from 36 countries, we invited 10 specialists in conservation, each of them from Lithuania, Poland, Croatia, Iceland, South Korea, New Zealand, Egypt, Spain, Belgium and Bhutan.
The course consists of lectures, practical sessions and a field study. The lectures covered the overview of the protection of cultural properties in Japan, the protection system for intangible cultural properties in Japan, restoration materials and their basic science, and the tools for restoration. The practical sessions were comprised of mainly restoring a paper object and mounting it to a handscroll, and were conducted by restorers from a certificated organization holding “soko” (restoration technique based on traditional mounting) which is selected as Techniques for the Preservation of Cultural Properties by Japanese government. In addition, the participants learned Japanese-style book binding, and handling a folding screen and a hanging scroll. As the field study, the participants went to Nagoya, Mino and Kyoto cities to visit producers of handmade Japanese paper, the stores selling restoration materials and tools, historical buildings decorated with cultural properties such as wall paintings and hanging scrolls, a traditional restoration studio, and so forth. On the last day, the participants exchanged opinions on how Japanese paper is used and issues in each country. We expect the participants to gain a deeper understanding of not only Japanese restoration materials and tools, but also related knowledge and skills through this course so as to apply them to restoration of their cultural heritage.
Lecture on handling a hanging scroll in Basic course
Practical work on restoration of a hanging scroll in Advanced course
This workshop is held annually for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese art objects such as calligraphic works and paintings overseas and developing understanding of these objects. In this year, it was conducted that Basic course “Japanese Paper and Silk Cultural Properties” from July 6th to 8th, 2016 and Advanced course “Restoration of Japanese Hanging Scrolls” from July 11th to 15th at the Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin (Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) with the support of Museum of Technology (Deutsches Technikmuseum).
In Basic course, there were 15 restorers, conservators and students from nine countries. This course includes lectures on the materials used for the art objects, such as paste, animal glue, mineral pigments and paper. Practical works on producing a calligraphic work and a painting, and handling hanging scrolls were also conducted. In Advanced course, nine restorers were attended from seven countries. This course is comprised mainly practical works about “soko” (restoration technique based on traditional mounting) which is selected as Techniques for the Preservation of Cultural Properties by Japanese government. The practical works such as removing and attaching the rods of a hanging scroll, and demonstrations by the instructors like lining presented knowledge and techniques of restoring hanging scrolls. Discussions were held in both courses. 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.
Demonstration of lining with Japanese paper at practical session
From November 4 to 20, 2015, the International Course on Conservation of Paper in Latin America was conducted as part of the LATAM program of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). The course was jointly organized by NRICPT, ICCROM, and Mexico’s Coordinación Nacional de Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (CNCPC-INAH). It was held at CNCPC-INAH and this year was the fourth time.
There were 9 participants who are experts of conservation for cultural properties and hailed from 8 countries of Portugal, Belize, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela. The first half of the course was conducted by NRICPT. It was aimed to apply the paper conservation techniques of Japan to cultural properties overseas. Providing the lectures on the protection on cultural properties in Japan as well as the materials such as Japanese paper and adhesive, basic knowledge of the traditional mounting and restoration techniques, the practical session was implemented. The practical session was supported by the staff member of CNCPC-INAH, who had learned the traditional mounting and restoration techniques at NPICPT for several months as part of the program. Following the demonstration by the Japanese instructor, the participants experienced the basic of the traditional mounting and restoration techniques, such as cooking paste, cleaning, infill, lining and drying with karibari. In the last half of the course, the experts of conservation of cultural properties in Mexico, Spain and Argentina conducted lectures on the application of Japanese paper to the conservation in the west and so forth. Through such technical exchange, the plans are to conduct similar training sessions in the future as well in order to deepen understanding of the conservation techniques of Japan and contribute to protection of the cultural properties overseas.
Practice with a Japanese calligraphic work during basic course
Making a folding screen during advanced course
This workshop is held annually as a part of our project to expand the understanding of tangible and intangible cultural properties, e.g. paintings and traditional mounting techniques, respectively. This year, it was held at the Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin, with basic course, “Japanese Artworks on paper and silk” from July 8 to 10 and with advanced course, “Restoration of Japanese Folding Screen”, July 13 to 17.
In basic course, lectures and practical sessions were conducted on creation, preservation and utilization of Japanese art works on paper and silk for 20 participants. The lectures covered the topics of materials such as paper, pigments and adhesives, the protection system of cultural properties in Japan, as well as mounting culture. Based on the lectures, participants practice creating artworks and handling of hanging scrolls.
In advanced course, it was conducted for 10 participants on the practice of creating a folding screen, with related lectures and demonstration of its emergency treatment, regarding the traditional mounting techniques. During the course, each participants created a folding screen from underlying paper on wooden lattice core until applying of a painting, learning of its structure, functions of parts, tools and mounting techniques.
Restorers, museum curators and students from across Europe, Asia and Oceania participated in this workshop and discussed on various topics through the course. The conservators from the world pay attentions to the conservation of Japanese art works. The workshop will be conducted to contribute toward the preservation of Japanese cultural properties overseas for as many conservators as possible.