|■Tokyo National Research
Institute for Cultural Properties
||■Center for Conservation
|■Department of Art Research,
Archives and Information Systems
||■Japan Center for
International Cooperation in Conservation
|■Department of Intangible
From March 3–5, experts from the 5 Arab countries of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Bahrain were invited to the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. These experts exchanged information on cultural heritage and the current state of safeguards in their countries with Japanese experts. A meeting was also held to discuss potential efforts to safeguard cultural heritage through future international cooperation via links with other countries like Japan. The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation seeks to construct a regional network to safeguard cultural heritage at locations throughout Asia and encourage Japan’s participation in those efforts. The Center has held international meetings with representatives of countries in various regions like Central Asia (2007), Southeast Asia (2008), and East Asia (2009). The Expert Meeting represents a valuable first step in constructing a new network from the perspective of safeguarding cultural heritage. This is especially true for western Asia, where many of the previous exchanges have dealt primarily with archaeological and historical research.
Lecture on the Cultural Properties Protection Institution in Japan, by Shimizu Shin'ichi, the Director of Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation
The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, China started the program for the fostering of the engineers of conservation and restoration of the cultural properties along the Silk Road in 2006, and the joint program will be complete this year. On August 16, the final mural printing and textile restoration and conservation courses started at the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, China in Beijing. From Shinjang, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shanxi, and Henan provinces and autonomous regions located along the Silk Road, fourteen and twelve trainees participating the mural printing and textile courses respectively will attend theory lectures and practical restoration practical training for four months until December 17. Twelve instructors will participate in both courses and some instructors will be invited from Korea. We look forward to getting significant results in the same ways as was possible during the six courses which were executed in the past four years.
After training of producing paper containers helped by instructors Kibe Toru and Shimada Kaname
Display lighting class held by instructor Kinoshita Shisei
This program was planned as a five-year project starting in 2006, and is currently in its fourth year. We executed a training course on the conservation of historical buildings from this spring to summer, followed by a museum technical training course for three months from September 14 to December 11, as the second program for 2009.
A total of 14 trainees from Shinjang, Gansu, Ningxia, Shanxi, and Henan provinces and autonomous regions gathered along the Silk Road in China, took theoretical course lessons in Beijing for two months, and then took practical course sessions at the Ningxia Museum in Yinchuan city of Ningxiahuizu Autonomous Region for one month from the middle of November. During this period, a total of 15 instructors participated in these courses from the Institute, the Tokyo and Kyushu National Museums, universities, and studios producing materials for protection of cultural heritage, and conducted classes with the Chinese instructors.
The training at Ningxia Museum was on the measurement and analysis of the storage/exhibit environment, and the creation of theme exhibition design plans based on an actual museum’s stored items and exhibition rooms. The trainees had learned enormous amount of ideas and technical theories through the classes, conducted over many hours by the Japanese and Chinese instructors and were able to gain an secure understanding of the ideas and techniques through on-the-job training. This systematic museology training course provided with both theory and practice was first realized in China. The Ningxia Museum, which was completed in 2007 and is equipped with the state-of-the-art hardware, presented a challenge in that it was not in satisfactory condition on how to do the daily operation. We were glad that the acceptance of these training sessions inspired the museum’s staff. The completion ceremony on December 11 was attended by more than 50 of the museum’s staff members.
The Program for Capacity Building along the Silk Road will be finished when the training course for conserving and restoring textiles and mural paintings is conducted in next year.
The conservation and restoration course for old buildings (Program for Human Resource Development along the Silk Road) has been conducted for four months since early April at Ta’Er Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Qinghai. This program was successfully completed following three months of training in Beijing last autumn. On July 31, representatives of the China State Administration of Cultural Heritage, the National Institute of Cultural Heritage, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, Qinghai Cultural Heritage Bureau, Ta’Er Monastery, and China Samsung Corporation – which had supplied funds – attended and held a closing ceremony. Twelve trainees from Shinjang, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shanxi, and Henan provinces and autonomous regions were present. They did not necessarily have the same experiences in construction conservation, and there were some troubles in understanding the content of the training program and in getting results. However, they made use of their capabilities and helped each other get through the long training over a period of seven months. The Japanese and Chinese instructors together considered the issues that the trainees confronted and searched for solutions. These seven months made us realize how the conservation of cultural heritage requires the knowledge and techniques of many people. Last year, the trainees completed an investigation report of Beijing Gugong Zijincheng, and this year they completed an investigation report of Ta’Er Monastery as well as a practice report that summarized the twelve research papers on personal themes. They have returned to their respective organizations and are now back at their daily jobs. I hope that the training they experienced will be a bright light that will illuminate their future paths.
Mr. Kuroda Tetsuya (center) is given a commemorative gift
The conservation of the stone statues of the tombs of the Tang dynasty in Shaanxi province, which started in 2004 as a joint project between China and Japan, has been completed successfully. The final site inspection and project evaluation by special advisors and external evaluation committee members were conducted in Xi’an from March 16 to 18. This project was funded by the Japanese benefactor, Mr. Kuroda Tetsuya, who offered a total of 100 million yen to the Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research. In the project, stone statues found at the north, south, east and west gates of three mausoleums from the Tang dynasty – two imperial tombs, Qianling and Qiaoling, and Shunling Mausoleum, where the mother of Wu Ze Tian is buried – were restored. The project also included the improvement of the surrounding environment.
The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo has been in charge of the project, working with the Xi’an Centre for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage. Various investigations and restoration work have been conducted, workshops have been hosted, and Chinese members have been invited for research.
Mr. Kuroda and his wife also participated in this inspection and meeting and were given words of appreciation and a commemorative gift for their support from the Shaanxi Provincial Cultural Relics Bureau.
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been developing various support activities and joint research since 2001 to protect the Longmen Grottoes, a world heritage site located in the Luoyang City of Henan Province, China. From 2002 to 2007, together with the Photographing Room of the Department of Research Programming, we used digital cameras which are showing significant development in recent years to advance our study of the collection of experimental image data, and to build up a control system for the three caves of Longmen Grottoes: Lord Huangfu Caves (first half of the sixth century C.E.), Lotus-flower Cave (first half of the sixth century C.E.), and Jing shan si dong (latter half of the seventh century C.E.). The results were compiled in one report titled ‘World Heritage Longmen Grottoes – Japan-China Joint Photographing Project Report (Image Catalog)’ created in March 2003. However, the number of printed copies of this report is limited, so it has not been seen by many people, and the printed matter could not fully demonstrate the effect of the digital images. The fundamental assignment for cultural heritage conservation activities is how to enhance the openness of the various types of data collected by investigative research. Therefore, we decided first to build the control system as a theme, and the staff repeated trial and error for the method for containing data from the investigation. This was done simultaneously with photographing and making use of digital images, resulting in the completion of the Japanese edition of the database and starting of publicity for the Institute’s library. It is expected that using this database will further advance research on the above three caves. We also have high hopes that the method established here can be adapted to a database for other types of cultural heritage. A complete Chinese edition will be provided to the Longmen Grottoes Research Institute, our joint research partner.
Meeting of the Japanese and Chinese governments and UNESCO
Commemorative photo of Longmen Grottoes project members
A project for the conservation and restoration of the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang city, Henan province, China commenced in November 2001 using a trust fund of one million dollars that Japan offered UNESCO to conserve cultural heritage along the Silk Road. The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, was commissioned by UNESCO to play the role as a consulting organization in this project, and has been acting as a facilitator for Japanese specialists. The Institute also received support from the Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research (President, Hirayama Ikuo) and JICA for expenses that could not be covered by the trust fund alone. Additionally, the budget of the Institute has been used to support the project in various ways, including the purchase, installation and maintenance of observation equipments; long and short-term training of researchers of the Longmen Grottoes Research Academy’s Conservation/Restoration Center; and photographing of the site for the construction of an image database at Longmen Grottoes Research Academy. The sum that the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo used above and beyond the UNESCO fund reached approximately 60 million yen.
Upon completing the project for the conservation and restoration of the Longmen Grottoes in 2008, a final meeting was held at the China National Institute of Cultural Property in Beijing on February 20. This meeting also served as a meeting for the project on the conservation and restoration of Kumutula Qian Fo Dong in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region which was completed at the same time. Reports on these projects were given by the Luoyang Municipal Cultural Relics Bureau and the Cultural Heritage Administration Bureau of Xinjiang. Discussions by specialists were followed by comments from representatives of the Chinese and Japanese governments and the UNESCO Beijing Office. On the following day, a symposium to commemorate the completion of both projects took place and members of respective projects presented the results of their work.
Visit to Shunling Tomb
The conservation project for the stone statues of the tombs of the Tang dynasty, conducted jointly with the Xi’an Centre for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in China since 2004, will end this year. In this joint project, Chinese and Japanese specialists have held yearly workshops. The fifth and the final workshop, a larger one than the others, was held in Xi’an on November 17 and 18, 2008. The purpose was to show the results of the project to specialists in Chinese institutions and universities, to exchange opinions on various problems concerning the conservation of stone cultural properties, and to interact with each other. About 40 specialists participated in the workshop. The participants conducted an on-site inspection on November 17 and held presentations and active discussions on November 18. Contents of the workshop were as follows:
*Morii Masayuki (National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo)
”Environmental observation after the construction of shelter on the Usuki stone Buddha”
*Tomoda Masahiko (National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo)
”Conservation and management of stone sites: the case of the Angkor Site”
*Tsuda Yutaka (Geolest Co. Ltd., specialist of UNESCO Longmen Grottoes project)
”Condensation at Longmen Grottoes”
*Fang Yun (China University of Geosciences, Wuhan)
”Observation of cracks and deformation on the rock carvings of Shunling Tomb”
*Zhen Guangquan (Xi’an Centre for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in China)
”Research on materials for protecting stone cultural properties”
*Zhu Yiqing (Zhong Wei Kang Long Nano Science & Technology Development Co. Ltd.)
”Materials for the conservation of stone objects and its evaluation system”
*Wang Li (Nanjing Museum)
”Conservation of the cliff inscriptions at Huayangdong Cave in Mount Maoshan, Jurong, Jiangsu”
*Ma Tao (Xi’an Centre for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in China)
”Surface treatment for the conservation of the stone statues of Qianling Tomb”
Practicing backing a paper book (Ms. Kurahashi)
Practicing restoring mural (Ms. Sato)
Ms. Sato Kyoko, currently finishing a master’s course in conservation science at Tokyo Gakugei University’s Graduate School, and Ms. Kurahashi Emi, currently finishing a master’s course in Japanese-style painting at Tsukuba University’s Graduate School, went to the Dunhuang Academy on June 1, finished their training, and returned to Japan on October 19 without incident. The two trainees stayed in the hotel at Mogao Grottoes, and with the full cooperation of Dunhuang Academy, they received detailed training concerning the protection of cultural properties, the restoration of murals – on-site survey, analysis and research, practical conservation processes, and mural structure reproduction and copy – as well as a lecture on management and operation of Mogao Grottoes, a world heritage site. In terms of research topics, Ms. Sato performed analysis and comparative study on red coloring matter used for the murals, and Ms. Kurahashi analyzed the restoration copy for scientific study. Their studies gained high marks from the researchers of the Dunhuang Academy at the final presentations. The encounter and interaction with colleagues of the same generation at the Dunhuang Academy will likely have a great influence on their future, along with the valuable experiences they had at the local site. This training will be held for two more years.
Site of restoring graves in Guazhou county of Gansu Province
Work to reinforce adobe bricks
The training for the third year of the earthen structures conservation group in the project for capacity development along the Silk Road was jointly conducted with the National Institute of Cultural Properties of China at Guazhou, Gansu province for 2 months from September 1, 2008. A completion ceremony was held on October 31 to mark the end of a training that took place for a total of 7 months over 3 years.
Earthen structures include buildings above ground built by piling mud bricks and sites unearthed during archeological excavations. In Japan there are many examples of archeological sites that have been conserved but, since there are few buildings above ground made of dried earth alone, Japan lacks experience in the conservation of such buildings. These sites that remain in various locations along the Silk Road from West Asia to China are like landmarks of the movement of the culture of the west to Japan, on the east end of the Silk Road. For this reason, it is significant in terms of cooperation to foster human resources to protect these sites. Until now, Japanese specialists have continued to cooperate in conservation activities in Iran and other countries in Central Asia. In this particular training, conservation techniques were applied to the earthen gate pillars of graves built in the Gobi Desert of Guazhou some 2,000 years ago. The 12 trainees freely used the concepts and theories they learned through their training during the past 29 months to consider the most appropriate method for the conservation of the site based on on-site investigation and observation. They also conducted the actual conservation work. In addition, they compiled a report that summarizes their three-year training. It is hoped that they will return to their respective areas and engage in conservation of earthen structures as local leaders.
Potsherd with seal impressions bearing the image of a seated figure
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been participating in the UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust project, “Preservation of the Buddhist Monastery of Ajina Tepa, Tajikistan” since 2006. As this is the last year of the project, the excavated objects were sorted and the acquired data were analyzed in view of the publication of a report at the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan from October 2 to 23, 2008. Most of the excavated objects are fragments of pottery and mud bricks from the 7th to 8th centuries when people inhabited the Ajina Tepa site. In this mission, a piece of the rim of a large jar on which stamp seals had been impressed was found among these objects. There are two seal impressions, one large and the other small. At the center of the large round seal is an image of a seated figure; to its right, as viewed from the image, is a water pot, while to its left is an object that looks like a staff. Although many fragments of large jars have been discovered from the Ajina Tepa site, this is the only piece with such seal impressions. Had the seals been impressed on large jars used for a special purpose? This was a fascinating finding.
Most of a 28-meter tower had collapsed (Wenxingta, An-xian)
An earthquake of magnitude 8 occurred in the Sichuan province of China, with the seismic center in Wenchuan-xian, on May 12, 2008. It was a catastrophic disaster that resulted in serious damages including deaths and fatalities due to the collapse of buildings and landslides. Sichuan province has a long history and many of its cultural properties were also seriously damaged. Following the dispatch of a team immediately after the earthquake in order to save lives, the Japanese government submitted a “support package” to the Chinese government listing the types of support that each ministry would be to provide. Response was received at the end of June, and it was decided to exchange Japanese and Chinese experts in order to support the restoration of cultural properties, a project proposed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, conducted research from September 25 to 30. Focus was placed on collecting information in preparation for developing a specific plan for restoration activities that Japan would provide. For this purpose the current condition of damage was investigated and opinions were exchanged with local persons in charge of the protection of cultural properties. Although 4 months had passed since the earthquake occurred, traces of damage were still visible in the disaster-stricken area. For example, at some temple offices people were working in tents used during evacuation even though winter was approaching.
The following were decided during this visit and through discussions with experts.
1) Approximately 10 experts from Japan would visit Sichuan province and hold a seminar on the theme of protecting cultural properties from earthquakes, working with Chinese experts.
2) Mainly buildings and objects stored in muse-ums would be restored.
3) The time immediately after the 2009 lunar New Year (January 26) would be appropriate.
The Agency for Cultural Affairs has received the report of this investigation and is currently examining specific details.
On－site practice session at Qingshoutang Disanyuan, the Forbidden City
Training for the group on the protection of old buildings, a part of the program for capacity development along the Silk Road (the first year of a two－year program) that started in Beijing on April 3 ended successfully after 15 weeks on July 11. Twelve trainees from the provinces of Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, Shaanxi and Henan participated in this part of the program. In the latter half of the program (from the eighth week), Qingshoutang Disanyuan of the Forbidden City was chosen as the site for practice sessions on the investigation of building conditions, techniques and measurement. This building is said to have been constructed near Yihejian, the building where Emperor Qianlong lived after his abdication, and to have served as quarters for actors and actresses who played for the retired emperor. Since then, the building has undergone some partial reconstructions, and now serves as workshop for the repair of fittings in the Forbidden City. Five specialists from The Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments participated as lecturers at the on－site practical session. The first－year program ended with the completion of the drafting of a restoration plan based on investigation results. A proposal has been made to have the participants engage in the restoration of buildings damaged by the Sichuan Earthquake on May 12 for next year’s on－site restoration practice session.
Joint investigation in Cave 285
The investigation team (in orange uniform) and trainees (in red uniform)
The fifth phase of the Joint Research on the Conservation of the Mural Paintings of the Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes is in its third year. Members of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo were sent to Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes for four weeks from June 1 to conduct the first half of this year’s Japan-China joint research. Continuing from last year, optical investigation that has been conducted until now in Cave 285, which has an inscription (A.D. 538 and 539) of the West Wei period, was continued and the conditions of the entire mural painting were examined. The condition of deterioration and preservation of the materials used for mural paintings differ depending on various conditions such as color, technique and the location of the paintings. If we understand these conditions, the results of the optical investigation will reveal much more information, resulting in new ideas about investigation and analysis. In addition, if specific materials and techniques result in different states of deterioration, that will provide much insight into future conservation and restoration work.
Furthermore, two graduate students with a master’s degree went to the Mogao Grottoes from Japan with this investigation team. They were selected from different fields of discipline – conservation science and paintings – as trainees dispatched to Dunhuang by public announcement that has been implemented from last fiscal year. They will stay in Dunhuang for five months until mid-October and receive guidance from specialists at the Conservation Institute of Dunhuang Academy concerning diverse matters related to the protection of mural paintings.
Japan-China experts meeting
A banner of "Ardent Welcome" displayed at the site of Qiaoling Mausoleum
This fiscal year is the final year of the project for the conservation of stone statues of the tombs of Tang dynasty that has been conducted jointly with the Xi’an Centre for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage in China since 2004. For two days, on June 23 and 24, a meeting of Japanese and Chinese experts was held in Xi’an City where last fiscal year’s were reviewed and evaluated. From Japan, Mr. Nishiura Tadateru (professor of Kokushikan University, conservation of cultural properties) and Mr. Nedachi Kensuke (professor of Kyoto University, history of art) attended as experts. During the last fiscal year, of the three target mausoleums of this project, archeological investigations and maintenance work were conducted particularly for the east, west and north gates of the Qiaoling Mausoleum which is the tomb of Emperor Ruizong of Tang. This time, Japanese and Chinese experts investigated the site in the presence of many local onlookers. In addition, the great Sichuan Earthquake that struck Shaanxi province on May 12 notably enlarged the crack on the lion statue placed at the south gate of the Shunling Mausoleum, another target mausoleum. For this reason, meteorological observation instruments were installed shortly after, and they were inspected on this occasion. A Japan-China academic seminar on the protection of stone cultural properties will be held in November and the project is scheduled to be completed next March after the final meeting of the review board.
Class by OKADA Fumio (Kyoto University of Art and Design)
Class by NAKAUCHI Yasuo (The Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments)
The program for capacity development along the Silk Road jointly conducted with China National Institute of Cultural Heritage（formerly the China National Institute of Cultural Property; restructured and renamed in February 2008）is now in its third year. This year the course on the protection of old buildings (first year of a two-year plan) will be held for three-and-a-half months in spring and that on the conservation of earthen structures (third year of a three-year plan) will be held for two months in autumn. This year, the spring course started a little earlier than usual, on April 3, to avoid the Beijing Olympics which will start on August 8. Twelve trainees from Xinjiang, Gansu, Qing Xiang, Ningxia, Shanxi, and Henan participate in the old buildings group. In the first year they will attend theoretical lectures and receive practical training in various types of investigations and the making of conservation plans in order to learn the basics necessary for the practical training in the work of conservation in which they will participate in the second year. The Palace Museum has provided a corner on the east side of Yihexuan within the Gugong Palace complex as a place for on-site training in the first year. During the three-and-a-half months, 10 Japanese lecturers will participate and work with Chinese lecturers.
Ms. Hou Jukun of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China looking at the results of works by the trainees
Photograph taken at the completion ceremony
The “Paper Cultural Properties,” a training course in the program for capacity building that had been held at the China National Institute of Cultural Property in Beijing for three months has been completed. During the course a total of 12 experts from Japan served as lecturers for 196 hours. Particularly during the last 4 weeks 2 technical experts from The Association for Conservation of National Treasures conducted classes with Chinese experts and the trainees learned the techniques for restoring books and scrolls, although it was for a short period. On December 27, Ms. Hou Jukun of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China attended the course completion ceremony. A certificate of completion issued jointly by the National Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and China National Institute of Cultural Property was given to 12 trainees from 6 provinces along the Silk Road. This program will start the third year of its 5-year plan next spring. A course on ancient architecture is scheduled to be held in spring and a course on earthen heritage in autumn.
Experiment with resin treatment
The Conservation of Stone Statues at the Tomb of the Tang Dynasty Emperor in Shaanxi Province Project and the UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust Conservation of the Longmen Grottoes Project, in which the National Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo participates, will both be in their final year in 2008. Since both have for their target cultural properties made of the same material, limestone, until now workshops, on-site investigations and trainings in Japan have been held actively for members of both projects jointly. From November 19 to December 16, 2 experts each were invited to Japan from the Xi’an Center for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Relics and the Longmen Academy to receive training in such matters as the restoration of stone cultural properties, evaluation methods for the effects of application of water repellant material and environmental monitoring after restoration. The results of the training are expected to be put to use in the execution of restoration work that will be conducted in the last year of the projects.
Photograph with the major members of the Korean Association for Central Asian Studies
The International Symposium of the Korean Association for Central Asian Studies was held on November 10 at the National Museum of Korea in Seoul. The theme of this symposium was “Dunhuang Studies.” Jacques Giès of Musée Guimet, Susan Whitfield of The British Library and Samosyu Kira of The State Hermitage Museum reported on the mural paintings of Dunhuang, study of the Dunhuang documents and archives; Li Zuixiong of Dunhuang Academy spoke about the conservation and scientific study of the Dunhuang mural paintings; Okada Ken of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation presented a report on the Japan-China cooperative activities for the conservation of the Dunhuang mural paintings. The meeting, thus, was an extremely significant one that comprehensively covered the Dunhuang studies and the activities of experts throughout the world on related projects. Although the Korean Association for Central Asian Studies is a relatively young association which was established 14 years ago, its members include researchers who have received degrees in Japan, China and the United States and are very positive in their approach to research Collaboration with Korea, as in other conferences like the 2007 International Symposium on Conservation of Cultural Heritage in East Asia, which was held at the beginning of November at the National Museum of Korea,and the Workshop for Paper Conservation in East Asia, which is held every year and is attended by experts from Japan, China and Korea, will increase in importance from all aspects of the study and protection of cultural heritage.
Practical guidance by Sakata Masayuki (The Association for Conservation of National Treasures)
In the capacity building program held at the China National Institute of Cultural Property in Beijing, the participants began to attend classes on practical training from November. They studied under the guidance of Japanese and Chinese experts. Classes on the methods of conservation and storage of documents using recently developed neutral paper were quite unexpected but interesting for students who had expected a more restoration oriented training. Since there is some difference in the traditional restoration techniques of Japan and China, Japanese experts are continually faced with the question of how they can contribute to the conservation of “Chinese paper cultural properties.” However, rather than merely giving guidance to students, promotion of exchange of techniques between experts of the two countries is expected through such efforts.