|■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
Explanation on work content (August 5)
15 internal committee members of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Legislative Assembly and others
They visited the Institute on August 5 to learn the techniques of cultural and artistic development in Japan. After they paid a courtesy call to Mr. Kamei, the Director General of our Institute, Mr. Miyata, the Director of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, provided explanations on the work contents of the Department and answered their questions.
To commemorate the achievements of Kuroda Seiki and to contribute to the development of regional culture, we have jointly held the Kuroda Seiki: Master Western-style Painter of Modern Japan Exhibition with the host museum every year since 1977. This year, the exhibition was held at the Iwate Museum of Art from July 17th (Saturday) to August 29th (Sunday). 147 oil paintings and drawings including designated the Important Cultural Properties “Lakeside” and “Wisdom, Impression, Sentiment”, a sketch block, and letters were exhibited. The “Boat”, “Peony”, “Attacking the battery on the Er Long Shan hill during the Sino-Japanese War” and two “Portraits of Hayashi Masafumi” donated last year were also displayed. Paintings of Kuroda Seiki can be tracked from his early to later years.
The Iwate Prefecture is the birth place of Yorozu Tetsugoro and Matsumoto Shunsuke, whom studied under Kuroda Seiki at the Tokyo Fine Arts School, then learned the new Western artistic activities, and set a new tone in the world of Japanese modern paintings. The Iwate Museum of Art introduces the paintings of these artists in the regular exhibition room, so this exhibition gave us a good opportunity to track the flow of Japanese modern paintings along with the Kuroda Seiki exhibition. The exhibition had 11,942 visitors and ended successfully.
Observation of deteriorated maki-e portion by magnifying it
The Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques has been investigating the deterioration of maki-e (gold-relief lacquerwork) and lacquer (urushi) coating in the main shrine of Tsukubusuma-jinja. The main shrine of Tsukubusuma-jinja, located on the Chikubujima isle in Lake Biwa, Shiga, is one of the buildings which represents the Momoyama culture. It is said that part of the palace of the Fushimi Castle was brought to this isle and reassembled to become a shrine. is shrine is famous for the lacquer (urushi) coated columns and beams running between columns, on which the paulownia and chrysanthemum crests and patterns of flowers and birds were decorated using maki-e techniques and the full-color woodcarving on the walls of nave (gejin) and doors. As 75 years have already passed since the last repairs were made, damage to the roof and coating is noticeable. Furthermore, decoration using gorgeous maki-e techniques inside the building, which is highly ranked together with that in the Koudaiji Otamaya in Kyoto, has seriously deteriorated, and has become problematic among the individuals concerned. Therefore, the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques cooperated with the repairs currently being promoted by the Shiga prefectural education board and Tsukubusuma-jinja, and conducted basic research to identify the cause of the deterioration phenomena, and then made investigation to prevent deterioration within the special environment of Lake Biwa (see Photo). We will make use of the achievements obtained on this occasion in order to conserve the valuable maki-e and lacquer (urushi) coating of the main shrine of Tsukubusuma-jinja in the best state possible.
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.
Panoramic view of temple with the pagoda and Great Buddha newly built on the back
Survey for building conservation
From the end of June to the beginning of July and at the end of August, we conducted a workshop and conservation survey at the Tibetan temple Amarbayasgalant of the Selenge Aimag (province) in northern Mongolia, jointly with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in Mongolia.
The theme of this year’s workshop was to build a plan for the conservation management of cultural properties, and we set a target for determining a conservation area for the time being. In this 20th year since religious activities at the Amarbayasgalant temple restarted, new building and maintenance of the temple associated facilities stepped up and, and the historical scenery, a key part of heritage values, is rapidly changing. There is also a concern about the influence on the conservation of the underground remains of old temple buildings. To prevent this, we repeated the field survey and discussion together with the representatives of the prefecture, county and local public. We reached the basic agreement for the policy that a wide area, including the surrounding mountains adored by people and the material production site when the temple was built, is to be designated as a conservation region based on the Laws for Protection of Cultural Properties.
Meanwhile, the temple consisting of many wooden buildings, suffered deterioration and damage because of aging and insufficient maintenance, and thus part of the damaged building could endanger the safety of human lives. In the August mission, therefore, we conducted a basic survey on the conservation status of all buildings, which served concurrently as the training of young Mongolian engineers, in parallel with the above-mentioned workshop. The report on the results of survey carried out with the four trainees, who also participated in the last year’s practical training, will be submitted to the Mongolian Government. We hope that the report will be used for future emergent measures and full-scale restoration planning.
Practical training on measuring the surface temperature of rock using an infrared thermometer (Serven Khaalga site)
Practical training on surface peel of stratum by using past excavation pit (Rashaan Khad site)
As part of an exchange program of Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we held an on-site workshop on the conservation of the stone monuments and rock paintings, in late August intended for the experts at the Mongolian cultural heritage center, together with the experts at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Nara. At the workshop conducted at Serven Khaalga and Rashaan Khad in the Khentii Aimag (province), following last year, we conducted a series of surveys on the stone material, deterioration state and ambient environment which were necessary to examine the conservation method of stone cultural properties. While we worked with the Mongolian experts, we conveyed the specific procedures to them. Along with the survey, we conducted a practical training on the surface peel of the stratum upon request from the Mongolian experts. It was said that it was the first time such training had taken place in the country. We will continue to conduct conservation treatment experiments and a training on the method for evaluating it in Japan, Mongolia, etc. Going forward we will try to gain a better understanding of target sites while working in cooperation with the domestic and overseas organizations, and investigate more appropriate methods of conservation.