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

43rd Public Lecture: The Dynamics of Interaction between Objects and People

Lecture by Tsuchiya Takahiro at Department of Research Programming
Lecture by Mr. Tsukamoto Maromitsu at The Museum Yamatobunkakan
Lecture by Nakano Teruo, the Deputy Director General of the Institute
Lecture by Mr. Shirasu Joushin at Hiroshima University

 The Institute holds a public lecture every autumn in order to disclose the results of our research on art history. This public lecture is the 43rd with the first held in 1966. Since 2006, we have established a common theme titled “The Dynamics of Interaction between Objects and People”, and four researchers from both within and outside the Institute gave presentations on October 2nd and 3rd.
 On October 2nd, Tsuchiya Takahiro, a researcher in the Department of Research Programming of the Institute, presented a lecture titled “Creating a ‘foreign country’: A Study of the Genjo Sanzo-e”, and Mr. Tsukamoto Maromitsu, a curator of The Museum Yamatobunkakan , presented a lecture titled “Japanese Buddhist Monk Viewed from the Song Dynasty: Buddhism/Land and the World of Exchange of Cultivated Things”: They intended to dig into how Japan in medieval times and China during the Song Dynasty viewed and recognized each other, using a picture scroll from the Kamakura Period, the transfer/exchange of cultivated things in the eastern Asia, and the social context of the time.
 On October 3, Nakano Teruo, the Deputy Director General of the Institute, gave a lecture titled “Optical Investigation of Central Asian Mural Paintings Brought Back by the Ohtani Mission”and Mr. Shirasu Joushin, lecturer at Hiroshima University, had a lecture called “The Tibet Ohtani Mission and the Tibetan Religious World”. They tried to reevaluate the works discovered by the Ohtani mission from the viewpoint of art history based on recent optical investigation, and reviewed the responses of Japan, England, China and Russia concerning the activities of the Ohtani mission at that time.
 These four individuals’ presentations reexamined the relationship of Asia to Japan in respective pre-modern and modern periods from the viewpoint of the broad effects and actions of goods, art objects, cultivated things and cultural properties, and the various activities of the people related to those goods. They were well suited to the common theme of The Dynamics of Interaction between Objects and People and were very exciting. The audience on these two days number totals of 133 and 125 people respectively, and questionnaires taken on both days showed that the lectures satisfied many people. We would like to continue disseminating the Institute’s research results in the future.

Research Conference on the 2nd Optical Survey of Five Hundred Luohan stored at Daitoku-ji Temple

Investigative Commission of the Five Hundred Luohan stored at Daitoku-ji

 The Department of Research Programming has started a project entitled “Survey Research on Applications of High-definition Digital Images” and has proceeded with investigative research that aims to create image data that is essential for research in art history and the developmental utilization thereof. As part of this project, we concluded a research agreement with the Nara National Museum that allowed us to survey and photograph the Five Hundred Luohan stored at Daitoku-ji in May 2009 (refer to the article in the May 2009 Monthly Report). We held a research conference on June 15 to further examine the research obtained in the survey in which we invited Mr. Taniguchi Kosei, Ms. Kitazawa Natsuki and Mr. Ide Seinosuke (visiting researcher of the Nara National Museum, professor of Kyushu University) from the Nara National Museum. Our staff members Tanaka, Tsuda, Shirono, Torimitsu, and Tsuchiya participated as well.
 After the survey in May, we processed the photographed images one by one; inscriptions which were unclear during the survey became legible. At the subsequent research conference, we confirmed the inscriptions and interpreted the dates, painters, and dedicators thereof. We are planning a second survey in the coming autumn with reports to be submitted in the following years. Most importantly, Shirono reported on the factors behind the deletion of this painting’s inscription, and we reconfirmed that this survey has significant meaning.
 A “quick report” of the achievements of this survey and research conference can be seen at the Sacred Ningbo, the Origin of 1300 years of Japanese Buddhism: Everything Has Come from Here exhibition ( (link rot) held by the Nara National Museum. A complete picture of the inscriptions in the Five Hundred Luohan stored at Daitoku-ji, along with the background of creation of this painting, will be revealed at this exhibition.

Optical Survey of Five Hundred Luohan stored at Daitoku-ji

Photograph of the investigation held at Nara National Museum. (The existence of inscriptions is confirmed using light source equipment that emits light of various wavelengths)

 The Department of Research Programming has concluded a Contract for Optical Survey and Creation of High Definition Digital Content regarding Buddhist Art with Nara National Museum and has been carrying out joint research. As part of this contract, we studied and photographed the Five Hundred Luohan stored at Daitoku-ji from May 11 to 17, 2009 at Nara National Museum.
 Daitoku-ji’s Five Hundred Luohan is a very important work in art history, and a total of one hundred pieces of artwork were created by artists Lin Tinggui and Zhou Jichang from Junki 5 (1178) in Ningbo in Southern Song over a period of almost 10 years. Out of the existing 96 pieces (excluding the complementary works made in the Edo period), 37 pieces in total have been confirmed to have inscriptions, but these descriptions difficult to decipher with the naked eye due to aging deterioration.
 This survey started with the goal of learning about these inscriptions using optical methods such as fluorescent recording, and an additional 11 inscriptions (43 inscriptions in total) were confirmed. This is a meaningful finding not only in terms of art history, but also in terms of the history of this period and the history of religion.
 A conference will be held in mid-June by persons involved from both organizations based on the images shot during this survey, and will serve as investigation material for the second survey scheduled to be performed in autumn. Additionally, these survey results will be presented in part at Sacred Ningbo, the Origin of 1300 years of Japanese Buddhism: Everything Has Come from Here ( (link rot). It will also be summarized as a report sometime in or after the next fiscal year through further survey and investigation.

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