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

Japanese Paintings from Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Canada) Carried in

Unpacking the artwork

 A large number of works of Japanese art are possessed by museums overseas. However, most of them have no specialists who can restore works of Japanese art and no appropriate measures have been taken against their deterioration or damage. In the Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas, we investigate Japanese art objects overseas, identify those with high cultural values and needing to be restored more urgently than others, bring them back to Japan through consultation with the museums that possess them, restore them under the thoroughgoing measures in Japan, and send them back to them after the completion of the restoration work.
 Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Canada’s oldest art museum, currently possesses more than 45,000 works of art after having relocated or expanded since it was inaugurated in 1879. They include a large number of Japanese works. Based on the results of a local survey conducted in 2018, we decided to restore two works: Kumano Honjibutsu Mandala (color on silk; a hanging scroll), and Byobu Screens Featuring the Thirty-six Poetesses (color on paper with gold leaf; a pair of six-panel folding screens) that are housed in the museum.
 Though a museum courier was unable to accompany the works in transit due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were safely imported into Japan in March 2021. We will start a series of the restoration processes from documentation, including a current situation survey and taking a high-definition photo.

/ SHIMIZU Ayako)

The Canoe Summit was held at the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts, Guam 2016

Introducing the crews at the Canoe Summit
Demonstration of canoe navigation

 The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (NRICPT) held the first Canoe Summit at the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam on 26th of May, 2016. The summit was part of the “Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project; Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage in the Island Countries of Oceania” scheme, which has been commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan.
 The Festival of Pacific Arts is held once every four years, and was attended this year by 27 Pacific countries and regions. The festival gathers artists, specialists on Pacific cultures, and community leaders. During the two weeks of the festival, a wide range of issues relating to Pacific culture were discussed and traditional dances and crafts were performed.
 During the festival, NRICPT held the “Canoe Summit” in partnership with the Anthropological Institute of Nanzan University, the Traditional Arts Committee, Guam, and the Tatasi (Seafaring) subcommittee, Guam, with the support of UNESCO and the Organizing Committee of the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts, Guam. About 100 people attended the summit, and specialists and crews who are involved in activities aiming to preserve the cultures of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia introduced their traditional navigation systems and discussed their cultural revival activities.
 The canoe is a symbol of Pacific culture and has important value as an aspect of intangible cultural heritage. It has recently been reevaluated as an important form of sustainable transport. However, a more pressing issue is how regional traditional cultures can be protected from the threat of globalization and natural disasters caused by global warming. Some attendees of the Summit felt that sharing information about the revival of canoe culture throughout the entire Pacific region was a very important contribution to ensure that the richness of Pacific culture will be passed on to the next generation.

to page top