|■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
Survey of tile-roofing specifications at Aganchen Temple
Workshop in Sankhu on the conservation of historic settlements
As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have continually provided technical assistance to Nepal. Already, in 2018, we have dispatched on-site research missions in February, March, April, and May.
For the rehabilitation of the Aganchen Temple and its associated buildings in the Hanumandhoka Palace in Kathmandu, we surveyed detailed specifications and traces of transformation of the brick masonry surfaces of the inner walls whose finishing layers had peeled off. The brick masonry, all of which looks the same, differs in material, dimension, or construction method according to age. Evidence remains at places where the wall or opening was altered. Observation following the cleaning inside cracks blocked by the rubble that had collapsed from the upper section, revealed numerous clues to retrace the history of various extensions and alterations since its construction in the 17th century. The number of targets to be clarified through further research has increased, including the existence of an unknown mural painting unveiled during this process. We have further increased our awareness of this building’s great value as physical evidence to comprehend history, in addition to the highly elaborate work applied to the subsequently altered sections as a particularly important building in the palace.
As preparations for the rehabilitation work are being made under the direction of experts dispatched from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), we are cooperating in the examination of concrete conservation methods and consultation with the relevant institutions in Nepal. Although the work has not yet begun due to various difficulties in procedures, as a united team we would like to make every effort to conserve the building’s value as a cultural heritage.
Meanwhile, we have continued to cooperate in the conservation of historic settlements in the Kathmandu Valley. In May 2018, we organized a workshop at the historic settlement of Sankhu, inscribed in the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites of Nepal, but seriously damaged by the earthquake, for those officers in charge of public administration in each city holding jurisdiction over historic areas and settlements. Under the theme of conservation of historic water channel networks, participants from six cities discussed their current situations and issues together with urban design experts, and developed six suggestions. The outcomes will be shared with those concerned in other cities who could not attend the workshop this time. We expect the suggestions will help to conserve each historic settlement.
Group photo of the participants of the Mayors’ Forum
Lecture by Mr. Tatsuya KUMAMOTO, cultural strategy officer of the Agency for Cultural Affairs at the Mayors’ Forum
As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have continually provided technical assistance for Nepal. From December 23rd through December 29th, 2017, we dispatched five experts to Kathmandu.
The main purpose of this dispatch is to cooperate in the “Mayors’ Forum on Conservation of Historic Settlements in Kathmandu, Kavre Valley.” The Forum was hosted by Panauti municipality, which has historic settlements inscribed on the Tentative List of World Heritage sites, and attended about 100 persons to its city hall, including mayors, deputy mayors or representatives from 16 cities located in Kathmandu, Kavre Valley and around Panauti City. Since 2016, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been providing support through workshops and training seminars for professional officers (engineers) of each city holding jurisdiction over historic settlements inscribed on the World Heritage List and the Tentative List of World Heritage sites. They have already established inter-city cooperative relationships. In this Forum, the necessity of networking the municipalities holding jurisdiction over historic settlements in Kathmandu, Kavre Valley (cooperation council) was shared among the mayors by expanding the coverage further. Lectures were also delivered by Professor Yukio NISHIMURA at the University of Tokyo regarding the survey of historic settlements in Kathmandu Valley being implemented under the framework of this cooperation project, and by Mr. Tatsuya KUMAMOTO, Councilor for Cultural Strategy of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, concerning the system for preservation districts for groups of historic buildings in Japan. We succeeded in conveying the approaches to conserve historic settlements, including the current issues and inter-government cooperation, to the participants.
To establish a system to conserve historic settlements in Kathmandu Valley, a great deal of effort is required from a variety of stakeholders. We expect that our research outcomes will be reflected more effectively and that broader technical assistance will be provided smoothly through the above-mentioned network.
Special lecture by Associate Fellow
On November 24th, three Associate Fellows from the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) held special lectures for the Forum for Cultural Resource Studies at the Center for Cultural Resource Studies of Kanazawa University. TNRICP and Kanazawa University entered a cooperative research agreement in 2014 and the TNRICP’s staff members have been cooperating in training, field survey, etc. for the “Graduate Program in Cultural Resource Management”, the University’s Leading Graduate School program that develops specialists in preservation of cultural properties.
The special lectures on the day concerned the areas of expertise of the Associate Fellows and the TNRICP’s activities, which included the following three: “An Introduction to Heritage Science” (Mariya MASUBUCHI), “Struggle to Conserve Nepalese Cultural Heritage Damaged by the Gorkha Earthquake” (Hiroki YAMADA), and “Origin and Characteristics of the Japanese Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties” (Asuka SAKAINO). Students showed keen interest in the lectures, which were followed by an active Q&A session.
It is our pleasure that, through these lectures, we could contribute to the educational program for students aiming to become specialists in preservation of cultural properties and, at the same time, it was a valuable experience for the TNRICP’s staff members who had not often had opportunities to speak to students. We will continue maintaining and further developing exchanges with Kanazawa University and other academic organs by utilizing the expertise of our staff members.
Instructing how to use a 3D scanner to the local staff
Target installed on the external wall of the building for displacement measurement
Staff members have ongoingly been dispatched to Nepal under the project regarding the above subject that has been entrusted by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Field surveys were conducted by six experts from October 29th to November 10th and by two experts from November 20th to 26th.
First, with regard to a group of buildings surrounding Aganchen Temple in Hanumandhoka Palace in Kathmandu, following the survey in June, recording current conditions and detailed measurement for preparation of a restoration scheme were performed. Concurrently with this, the structural engineer team mainly consisting of members of the Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo, carried out measurements by 3D scanners. As there are some areas inside the Palace where entry of foreigners are restricted due to religious reasons, we instructed local staff members from Department of Archaeology, Government of Nepal, regarding how to use the surveying instruments and conducted the measurement works in cooperation with them. Although entry prohibition imposed a restriction on implementation of the survey, it seems to have served at the same time as a good opportunity for promoting transfer of skills.
Next, for the interior walls that had already been surveyed, the finishing layers were peeled off and specifications as well as conditions of the underlying brick wall were examined. This process is not only necessary in order to accurately identify the damage conditions of the brick walls but also very important in order to clarify the transition of the building. Especially, for the places that may have to be torn down for reasons such as very severe damage, observation with utmost care and deliberation was needed as this survey might become the last opportunity to survey and record historical evidences.
Further, with the aim of continuously monitoring any possible adverse effects on the buildings adjacent to the work area throughout the restoration work, we installed the targets for displacement measurement and glass plates for the fixed-point observation of wall inclination at various spots, and measured the initial values.
On the other hand, we have also worked on documentation of the excavated artifacts from the excavation research that was conducted near the Shiva Temple inside the Palace in June. Further, instructions and advices were given to the staff of Department of Archaeology on the methods of documentation.
Two years and a half have passed since the earthquake that caused extensive damages to cultural properties as well and restoration projects led by teams of various countries have finally become active. We also would like to continue supporting the above-mentioned restoration project in which restoration specialists from Japan participate while working on transfer of skills to the local engineers.
Investigation to check the wall surface finishing condition in Hanumandhoka Palace, Kathmandu
Ongoing workshop for the conservation of historic settlements held in Kirtipur
As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have continually dispatched an expert to Nepal. From September 6th through 14th, Mr. Yamada, associate fellow of this Institute, conducted an on-site survey.
This time, he mainly surveyed the finishing specifications of the internal walls for the buildings around Aganchen Temple in Hanumandhoka Palace, Kathmandu, the restoration of which is planned under the guidance of Japanese specialized technicians, while taking photos to provide an official record. The wall surfaces of the buildings have been repeatedly painted since their construction, changing the paint materials. Therefore, the finishing layers damaged by the earthquake were carefully peeled off one by one with a working knife to investigate the history of the internal wall specifications in each room. Toward the future restoration, it is necessary to examine whether the former painted surfaces should be preserved, as well as to consider the specifications for restoration painting. The results of the investigation will be utilized as information for making such decisions, giving us important clues to clarify the history of the buildings repeatedly rebuilt.
On the other hand, on September 10th, he attended the workshop for the preservation of historic settlements in the Kathmandu Valley hosted by Kirtipur Municipality that has historic settlements inscribed on the World Heritage Tentative List, and suggested the items that require urgent attention for the conservation of historic settlements. Responding to this suggestion, the Mayor of Kirtipur, local administrative staff having jurisdiction over each historic settlement, and personnel from the Department of Archaeology of the national government held enthusiastic discussions with one another. Although there are still a lot of tasks to be completed before a proper system for conservation of historic settlements can be established, this workshop allowed the members to anticipate its realization.
Reporting the outcomes of the project conducted last year at the Department of Archaeology
Measurement survey for the buildings around Aganchen Temple in Hanumandhoka Palace
Under the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we continually dispatched personnel to Nepal. This time (from May 29 through June 27), fourteen members visited there, including outside experts and additional assistants budgeted separately.
In the Nepal, we mainly conducted an excavation survey around Shiva Temple in Hanumandhoka Palace in Kathmandu (reported in the following title), a measurement survey and photographic recording for buildings around Aganchen Temple in the Palace, a boring survey to confirm the ground composition and soil bearing capacity around the two temples, and a strength test of brick wall specimens together with technical officials from UNESCO.
In addition, we reported the outcomes of the surveys conducted last year to about 20 technical staff members from the Department of Archaeology in Nepal and UNESCO Office in Kathmandu, and presented our project report to the Director General of the Department. We also organized a cooperation conference with administrative officials with jurisdiction over heritage settlements in the Kathmandu Valley so as to discuss the preservation of such historic settlements in the future and the operation of the conference while distributing reports of the Kick-off meeting held last November to the persons concerned. For your reference, the above reports (Japanese and English versions) are uploaded to our website. Please access the URLs below.
(Project Report for FY 2016:
(Proceedings of Conference on the Preservation of Historic Settlements in Kathmandu Valley on 30th November 2016 [English version only]:
A scene from the workshop
A field survey on the damage situation of a historic building
Structures of historical buildings in Iran are mainly made of bricks or clay walls. However, wood is also used for making its roof frame, beams, window frames and so on. Damage of termites is found extensively in the central to southeastern parts of Iran, including Isfahan according to a preliminary survey conducted last fiscal year, and it is the major issue of the conservation of historical buildings in these regions. Termites are notorious as an insect pest for wooden materials. Their damage used to be widely found in Japan as well, but preventive measures have been gradually established to date. In order to support for establishing appropriate measures for conserving wooden built heritage and historical objects in Iran by sharing such knowledge, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) co-organized a workshop on insect damage to wooden cultural properties in Isfahan from April 17th through 19th, 2017.
From Japan, Mr. Masahiko TOMODA and Mr. Hiroki YAMADA of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation of TNRICP, Mr. Yukio KOMINE of the Center for Conservation Science of TNRICP and Mr. Kazushi KAWAGOE, Senior Researcher of Institute for Environmental Culture, participated in the workshop. From Iran, more than 20 experts got together from various parts of the nation, including Yazd, Tehran and Gilan, as well as Isfahan. On Day 1 and Day 3, presentations were given from both sides on materials and structures of historical buildings in both countries, and actual cases and monitoring surveys of insect pest damage to them. On Day 2, to discuss specific measures and others, all participants visited historical buildings to conduct a survey to identify termite damage and a test to install IGRs (Insect Growth Regulators) that does not affect the environment badly.
We heard that after the workshop, ICHHTO began preparation for establishing a new laboratory engaged in research on the prevention of termites in Isfahan. We believe that this workshop was able to contribute to conserving Iran’s valuable cultural heritage in any way.
Training in Gokayama Ainokura Village in Nanto City
Workshop that followed the on-the-job training
Many historic settlements in Katmandu Valley were damaged by the Nepal Gorkha Earthquake in April 2015 and restoration efforts have continued to this day. In the process, however, the preserving historical value of historic settlements in the process of rehabilitation is inadequate. For example, traditional houses were demolished and replaced by new modern buildings. As a problem that lies in the background, even if people concerned wish to preserve historic settlements, there is no well-developed system to preserve them as cultural assets.
Although concerned authorities of the Government of Nepal have made efforts to establish a conservation system, actual conservation practice largely depends on local administrative bodies that have jurisdiction over target settlements and are responsible for the preparation of conservation guidelines. With this in mind, we co-hosted a conference in Nepal at the end of November where we invited concerned parties from six municipalities in Katmandu Valley, which have jurisdiction over the historic districts inscribed on the World Heritage List and the historic settlements inscribed on the World Heritage Tentative List. Our objectives were to share information about the current situation and tasks for preserving these districts and settlements and to convey information on Japan’s conservation system.
8 Nepalese experts and officers who are locally in charge of the preservation of historic settlements were invited by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties from March 4th to 12th, 2017 to attend an on-the-job training regarding the preservation system for historic settlements. All the following visitors played important role at the “Conference on the Preservation of Historic Settlements in Kathmandu Valley” in November. They visited the important preservation districts for groups of historic buildings in Hokuriku Region and Chubu Region, including Kuroshima District in Wajima city and Gokayama Ainokura Settlement in Nanto city. They also received information from local officers and concerned personnel and actively exchanged opinions by referring to their own problems and the current situations of historic settlements and districts under the participants’ jurisdiction.
We would like to continue our technological support in hopes that an appropriate preservation system would be developed for the preservation of historic settlements in Nepal under the initiatives of the participants of this training.
Under the above-mentioned assistance project, as part of the “Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project” commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we continue to send a mission to the local site in Nepal. This time (November 20th through December 6th, 2016), we dispatched a total of 16 people, including outside experts and students of the University of Tokyo, Kagawa University, and Tokyo Metropolitan University.
The local field survey under this mission covered an extensive range of topics from architectural history to structural study to urban planning, and in this issue, we report on the “Conference on Conservation of Historical Settlements in the Kathmandu Basin” held on November 30th,2016, among others.
Many of the historical settlements scattered about the Kathmandu Basin were struck by the Gorkha Earthquake that hit the area in April 2015, and restoration efforts have faced a number of hardships to date. One of them is the fact that the system to preserve historical settlements as cultural heritage is not fully in place and the situation is not necessarily moving in the direction of maintaining and making use of their cultural value. Against this background, Nepalese government authorities, including the Reconstruction Agency and the Department of Archaeology, are working on establishing a system for preserving historical settlements. However, in order to achieve such conservation, while the role to be performed by the local administration that has jurisdiction over them is significant, it has been revealed that owing to shortfalls in budget or personnel, authorities are unable to formulate effective policies.
We thus offered overtures to six cities, that is, four cities that hold jurisdiction over the historical settlements in the Kathmandu Basin and are included in the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list and Bhaktapur and Lalitpur, two of which have historical towns that are already registered as World Heritage sites, and organized a conference to share the present state of a wide variety of efforts and initiatives and issues and to provide information on the Japanese system for conserving historical streetscapes.
Animated discussions were held on, for example, the necessity of collaboration between the central and local governments and local residents in addressing the issues. Those in charge who participated from each city strongly approved the purpose of this conference and agreed that they would continue to cooperate into the future. We are pleased that this conference helped establish a major foothold for mutually cooperative relations and hope to continue extending effective support.
Presentation at the Session to Report Our Investigation Outcomes
Residents of Khokana Expressing Their Opinions
Under the above-mentioned support project through the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we continued to dispatch staff to the site in Nepal. This time (August 31st through September 11th, 2016), we sent four members including outside experts.
As part of this project, we conducted investigation activities at the village of Khokana, which is on the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites, so as to examine how to rehabilitate damaged historical villages. In Khokana, many residents are forced to live in temporary housing. How to balance early reconstruction with the conservation of historical streetscapes is a challenge in rehabilitation.
As one of the main activities in this dispatch, we organized a debriefing session for local residents to explain the outcome of our last year’s investigation. The session was attended by more than 100 residents with greater interest, who asked questions and expressed their opinions after the presentation. They were highly suggestive for us in considering how we should conduct a further investigation or make contributions to them.
Our investigation revealed that not only Khokana but the whole country lacks sufficient systems to preserve historical villages, which results in preventing the passion of citizens from promoting the conservation of their streetscapes. Japan, which had not conserved historical villages thoroughly in the past, established its legal system through a process of trial and error for the protection of historical villages and landscapes, including the system for the Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings. Referring to this experience in Japan, we will continue to provide technical support for local institutions to contribute to the conservation of historical villages in Nepal.
Working with local experts at the site
As part of the above-mentioned support project through the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have continued to dispatch staff to the site in Nepal.
In view of its state of damage, it was determined that it is necessary to quickly provide a temporary support to Aganchen Temple (built in the middle of the 17th century), the main target of examination at the Hanuman Dhoka Palace in Kathmandu. Specifically, in terms of “countermeasures against leakage of rain at the top of the roof,” “ infilling temporary structure inside the building,” “providing support of collapsing outer walls” and “securing safety for prayers and tourists against falling objects,” Japanese experts of the project team drew up plans with the help of local experts and submitted the proposed plans to the Department of Archaeology. On the basis of these plans, emergency stabilization work was implemented. To supervise the details of design and provide technical advice, we dispatched experts from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (NRICPT) in three batches, that is, May 28th to June 4th, June 13th to 19th and July 3rd to 9th, 2016.
This time around, we only provided temporary measures for this project. However, while exchanging views and opinions with local experts and artisans on a face-to-face basis, we could believe that the work was significant in terms of not only tangible contribution but also technology transfer to the site, which is also another objective of this project. We will continue to conduct research in an attempt for further restoration the historic heritage.
The presentation on the survey result at DoA
A survey on the salvaged members from Shiva Temple
NRICPT has conducted a survey and assistance to protect the damaged cultural heritage by the Nepal Gorkha earthquake in 2015 since last fiscal year. This year, NRICPT was entrusted by the Agency for Cultural Affairs to conduct the programme “Networking Core Centres for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage” (Technical assistance for the protection of the damaged cultural heritage in Nepal) and dispatched personnel to the sites from April 28 to May 8.
In this mission, we handed printed reports on the survey result conducted last fiscal year to the director general of the Department of Archeology (DoA) and made a presentation at the DoA office to around 30 members of the technical staff in Nepal and the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu. The Participants showed high expectation of our future technical assistance through asking questions actively after the meeting.
Meanwhile, as a main survey, we conducted survey on identification of the original location and numbering of salvaged members from Shiva Temple, which collapsed by the earthquake in Hanumandhoka palace in Kathmandu. In addition, we implemented photo documentation of each member. Through this research on the members, we revealed that the temple underwent restoration over three times at least. In Nepal where there is scarce record on the past restoration work, we expect the data gained from these members to serve as valuable information for the future reconstruction planning.
We will continue to conduct surveys on the traditional building construction methods, structure, urban design and intangible cultural heritage with the participation of external experts from various fields. While carrying out these local activities with Nepalese people, we are hoping to be able to transfer a wide array of technologies to them.
For your information, the abovementioned report is available at the Institute’s website. Please, find the details at the following:
Scene from the seminar
At the conservation site of Rinno-ji Temple in Nikko
A seminar titled ‘Seminar on the Cultural Heritage Damaged by the 2015 Nepal (Gorkha )Earthquake’ was held on 5 February 2016 at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, to encourage information sharing between Nepal and Japan regarding the Gorkha Earthquake on 25 April 2015—the state of cultural heritage, activities performed to date, and future initiatives.
This seminar was held as a part of the “Project for investigation of damage situation of cultural heritage in Nepal” in the frame of the Project for International Contribution to Cultural Heritage Protection (Expert exchange), which was entrusted to the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Three guests were invited to the seminar: As representatives of the cultural heritage protection agencies of Nepal, the Director General of the DoA-Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (Bhesh Narayan Dahal); the Executive Director of HDMDC (Saraswati Singh) and the Culture Project Coordinator of the UNESCO-Kathmandu Office (Nabha Basnyat Thapa) were invited to attend. The seminar included presentations on post-earthquake conditions and recovery efforts by the Nepalese representatives and individual survey results by the Japanese project participants. While on-site conditions were still difficult, it was possible to exchange information and points of view through discussions regarding cultural heritage preservation measures.
On the following day, seminar participants visited the repaired Sanbutsudo Hall of Rin’oji Temple and Yomeimon Gate in Nikko to provide the Nepalese representatives with a deeper understanding of historic building conservation techniques in Japan. They showed special interest in the conservation and repair of wooden members attacked by insects—a common issue in Nepal’s cultural heritage. Through explanations provided by experts in charge of the repair work and other participating Japanese experts, seminar participants were able to discuss, question and exchange opinions.
We would like to further provide appropriate technical assistance through conducting continual survey in order to contribute to activities for rehabilitation of earthquake-damaged cultural heritages in Nepal.
Survey on the extent of cultural heritage damage at Aganchen Temple, Hanumandhoka in Kathmandu
Workshop on management and documentation of timber members salvaged from a collapsed temple
Survey of disaster damage condition in Khokana
A field survey was conducted in Nepal from 21 November to 8 December as a part of the “Japan’s International Contribution to Protection of Cultural Heritage” program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan. Based on results of the briefing survey that had been conducted in September on the disaster-affected cultural heritages in Kathmandu Valley of World Heritage, the survey this time conducted Kathmandu Durbar Square of World Heritage Site and Khokana Village that was listed on the Tentative List of World Heritage for its remaining historical townscape.
In the Kathmandu Durbar Square, Traditional techniques of historic buildings team carried out a “survey on the extent of cultural heritage damage” and Structural engineer team carried out “3D measurement” and “micro-tremor measurement.” Further, as a part of emergency preservation measures, with regard to appropriate management and documentation of timber members salvaged from collapsed temples,. a workshop on the classification, recordkeeping, and storage methodology was conducted with local experts to transfer this technical knowledge.
In Khokana, on the other hand, This comprehensive, in-depth survey considered the settlement space from a cultural perspective, the extent of cultural heritage damage, the historical development of urban typologies, structural impacts, including micro-tremor measurements, intangible heritage impacts, and water quality. In the case of a historical settlement that has been disaster stricken, people who are disaster victims tend to consider that “speedy reconstruction of their houses” and “inheritance of historical townscape” are two contradictory issues. In order to address this difficult challenge and contribute to developing the reconstruction plans, the survey was conducted by accurately gathering information from the perspective of cultural heritage in cooperation with Khokana Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Committee, an organization consisting of local residents who were highly-motivated to inherit their history.
We are planning to continue the survey and to feed back the fruit to the local stakeholders in a speedy manner.
Meeting at the Department of Archeology
On-site Investigation by Using Endoscopy
Festival of Bara Barse Jatra
On April 25, 2015, an earthquake occurred measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale centered in Middle Nepal, tremendously damaging a wide area, including the capital Kathmandu, together with many cultural heritages.
Being commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo sent a specialized team to conduct the first on-site investigation from September 14 to 28, 2015 within the framework of “Project for International Contribution to Cultural Heritage Protection(Exchange of Experts).”
In this investigation, we held discussions with major institutions involved in the protection of the historical heritage, including the Nepalese Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, and the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu. We also conducted a field survey by visiting the old royal palaces in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur listed as World Heritage Sites, as well as Sankhu, Kirtipur, Khokana and other suburban villages included in the Tentative List. Then, we examined the properties and areas subject to the full-scale investigation to come, as well as its approach. In addition, we had a good opportunity to observe Indra Jatra, the largest festival in Kathmandu, where Kumari as a Living Goddess paraded with a chariot, and Bara Barse Jatra, a festival held every 12 years, which had been suspended due to the earthquake disaster. We felt that these festivals worked as incentives to re-create ties among the people at this time of reconstruction.
Under this project, in cooperation with other institutions and universities in Japan, we will study proper protection and conservation approaches for the damaged cultural assets through multifaceted research on “traditional building techniques,” “structural planning,” “urban design” and “intangible cultural heritage.” Based on this research, we will technically support the authorities in Nepal to preserve the value of the cultural heritage during the reconstruction process to be promoted rapidly from now.
During an interview with the Director of the Sarawak Museum and other museum representatives (Malaysia)
Patan Durbar Square (Nepal)
The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage conducted several surveys in partnering countries Malaysia and Nepal in February. The surveys had 3 goals: to gather information about the current state regarding issues with safeguarding of cultural heritage, to ascertain needs related to those efforts, and to explore the possibility for international cooperation.
In Malaysia, Consortium research members met with the Director of the Department of National Heritage from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and other representatives. The meeting provided general information about the system for safeguarding cultural heritage at a national level. Afterwards, they toured through the historic cities of Melaka and George Town (World Heritage Sites) and the archeological site in the Bujang Valley of Kedah and examined the state of preservation of those sites. They also visited Kuching on the island of Borneo, where ethnic minorities continue to preserve their traditions. Consortium gathered informationabout the system and efforts to safeguard the area’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage, which differs from thoses in Malay Peninsula.
In Nepal, Consortium research members observed the UNESCO Japanese funds-in-trust project initialized to preserve cultural heritage in Lumbini (World Heritage site) and the management of the conservation of traditional buildings in the Katmandu Valley. They viewed intangible cultural heritage in forms of the Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri and Gyalpo Lhosar (celebration of Tibetan New Year), and interviewed locals. In addition, Consortium visited the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, the Department of Archaeology and the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust to gatherinformation.
A discussion of the safeguarding cultural heritage with representatives from ICHHTO
A mosque in Isfahan where tiles have been replaced over a period of 17 years
From January 7 to 23, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) conducted a field survey on the safeguarding of cultural heritage in Iran. The survey included 9 World Heritage sites in Iran. The survey was conducted in order to determine the current state in which Iranian cultural heritage is safeguarded and to explore the possibility of future international cooperation in this regard.
As of 2015, Iran is a cultural colossus with 17 World Heritage sites. A tour of cultural heritage sites such as Persepolis and Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan was conducted in cooperation with Iran’s Cultural Heritage Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO). JCICC personnel were able to hear directly from site managers about site preservation and restoration efforts and current issues regarding the safeguarding of cultural heritage.
In Tehran, JCICC personnel talked with Dr. M. TALEBIAN, the vice president of ICHHTO. JCICC personnel described projects by the Institute and they discussed the nature of future efforts to safeguard cultural heritage with Dr. TALEBIAN based on their inspection of cultural properties at different sites in Iran. In addition, JCICC personnel visited Iran’s Research Institute for Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT), a leading research institute in Iran. JCICC personnel toured the RICHT and discussed cultural heritage with RICHT personnel.
Through the UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust, Japan has previously provided support for restoration of the Chogha Zanbil ziggurat and the Arg-e Bam site that were ravaged by an earthquake in 2003. Thus, Iran has already engaged in cultural exchanges with Japan. The hope is that such efforts will foster greater cooperation between Japan and Iran and allow joint studies and conservation efforts with Iran in the future.
eminar on Iranian cultural properties
Tour of the Hyogo Earthquake Engineering Research Center
As part of the “New Century International Educational Exchange Project” of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, an Associate Professor from the University of Isfahan in the Islamic Republic of Iran was invited to visit Japan from August 26 to September 5. The professor, Mehrdad HEJAZI, has been closely involved in conservation of a site in Bam; Bam suffered massive damage from an earthquake that struck in 2003. Japanese researchers on Iran in various fields such as archaeology and linguistics assembled in conjunction with HEJAZI’s visit, and a seminar on historical buildings in Iran was conducted. During the seminar, HEJAZI delivered a presentation on issues involved in and prospects for conservation of culturally significant buildings in Iran. HEJAZI discussed numerous aspects of Iranian cultural properties with the assembled researchers.
Japan is often plagued by natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Similarly, earthquakes have caused severe damage to culturally significant buildings in Iran, where such buildings are constructed of brittle, sun-dried bricks. During his visit, HEJAZI gained further insight into concepts and projects to conserve historical buildings in Japan. HEJAZI toured the Hyogo Earthquake Engineering Research Center, the world’s largest earthquake resistance testing facility, and he also toured the Kyu-Yubikan, a historic building in the City of Osaki, and culturally significant buildings in the inner bay area of the City of Kesennuma; both locations in Miyagi Prefecture were damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake. These events allowed a profound discussion of techniques for conservation of culturally significant buildings and disaster prevention measures for those buildings.
The invitational program proved fruitful, laying the groundwork for further cultural exchanges between Iran and Japan.
Conservation work (Wall painting fragments are laid out on a mounting board)
During the ceremony to showcase the conserved wall paintings
From September 11 to October 2, wall painting fragments that were unearthed at the Hulbuk site were conserved and exhibited at the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan. These wall paintings were presumably produced in around the 10th to 11th century and few similar paintings exist. Thus, these paintings are scholarly materials with considerable value in terms of the art history of Tajikistan and other countries in Central Asia. Since 2010, the Institute has been extensively restoring these wall painting fragments with the cooperation of the Institute of History, Archeology, and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of Tajikistan. As of last year, work was done to piece the fragments back together and then reinforce and stabilize them.
This year, the fragments were mounted to facilitate their safe exhibition. First, a backing was created and then attached to the back of the wall painting fragments. Fragments were then arranged on a mounting board 91 cm wide × 182 cm tall based on line drawings done when the fragments were excavated. Seventeen wall painting fragments were re-assembled to depict a single image. Decorative mortar matching the texture of the wall painting fragments was added around those fragments. Nuts and bolts were used to fix the fragments in place. This construction allows the fragments to be safely removed from the mounting in the future so that they can be transported to other museums for exhibitions.
After the exhibition, a ceremony was held to showcase the conserved paintings. The ceremony was attended by personnel from the Institute as well as Saidmurod BOBOMULLOEV, Director of the National Museum of Antiquities, Rahim MASOV, Director of the Institute of History, Archeology, and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences, and KAMADA Takashi, Japanese Ambassador to Tajikistan. Plans are to continue exhibiting the wall painting fragments in a hall at the National Museum of Antiquities, where other items unearthed from the Hulbuk site have been assembled.
This conservation project was undertaken in part with a Sumitomo Foundation grant for Projects to Preserve and Conserve Foreign Cultural Properties.
Practice surveying a cultural heritage site (the Hulbuk site)
Documentation practice using CAD
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) has been commissioned by UNESCO to provide support for nomination of World Heritage sites in Central Asia along the Silk Road. Since 2012, JCICC has conducted a series of training workshops on documentation of cultural heritage in Central Asia and the Republic of Tajikistan.
Following a workshop in 2012, a second training workshop was conducted jointly with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan. The workshop took place from November 7 to 14, 2013. Training during the workshop took place on-site at the Hulbuk site, a medieval fortified town nominated as a World Heritage site. On-site training was conducted by experts from Japan, and training consisted of surveys using equipment (total stations), documentation using CAD, analyses using GPS and GIS.
Trainees participating in the second workshop were 9 young Tajik experts. Of these experts, 2 were from the National Museum of Antiquities, 2 were from the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences, 1 was from Historical and Cultural Reserve “Hissar”, 3 were from the Hulbuk Museum, and 1 was from the Kulob Museum. Through intensive lectures and practice over a period of about a week, participants planned and implemented surveys to document sites and they learned specialized processes used to analyze the survey results. Participants also learned how to use survey equipment and GPS devices that had been donated for use in the project. This experience and the equipment that was provided will help participants who completed the training to study, safeguard, and document cultural properties in their country. JCICC plans to conduct various training workshops to safeguard the cultural heritage of Central Asia in the future as well.