|■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
An explanation given in the Restoration Laboratory (July 4)
An explanation given in the Analytical Science Laboratory (July 7)
Four Visitors Including Staff of the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies:
On July 4, four visitors including staff of the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies visited the Institute in order to view work involved in the conservation of cultural properties. The visitors toured the Library of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, the laboratories of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques, and restoration studio of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation. The staff members in charge of each facility explained the work they do.
Four Visitors Including Staff of the National Taiwan Library:
On July 7, four visitors including staff of the National Taiwan Library visited the Institute in order to view work involved in the conservation of cultural properties. The visitors toured the laboratories of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques. The staff members in charge of each laboratory explained the work they do.
31 New Staff Members of the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage:
As part of a training session, eighteen new staff members of the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage visited the Institute on July 21, and thirteen new members visited on July 22. Each group toured the restoration studio of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, the Library of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, and the Performing Arts Studio of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The staff members in charge of each facility explained the work they do.
The Research Centre for Japanese Traditional Music at Kyoto City University of Arts has been working on a project entitled “Recording Kyo-kanze” since May 2011. The Centre held a public lecture on “The tradition of Kyo-kanze: What can be gleaned from its records and memories” in February 2011 celebrating the 130th anniversary of the founding of the university. In conjunction with the lecture, Ms. Takakuwa, head of the Intangible Cultural Properties Section, participated in the project. Kyo-kanze is a traditional Utai (Noh chant) unique to Kyoto that survived until the mid-Taisho period. The form of Noh chanting is no longer practiced, but 50 years ago the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage recorded Kyo-kanze and 30 years ago the Department used those recordings to help produce records. As the repository of these materials, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage will continue working with the Research Centre for Japanese Traditional Music to revive the tradition of Kyo-kanze.
Listening to villagers and former villagers talking about their lives from 1945 to 1955
Techniques of mushiro [a type of straw mat] manufacture in Nishi-hira-dani in the Yonegawa area (formerly Yonegawa Village) in the City of Kudamatsu, Yamaguchi Prefecture were studied from July 4th to 5th. Nishi-hira-dani is a set of small mountain villages consisting of Nishi-dani and Hira-dani and is located deep in a valley of the Chugoku Mountains. After 1955, village inhabitants flooded to urban areas on the coast, leading to such severe depopulation that there are fewer than 10 families left in both villages combined.
As part of efforts to promote the region, the Yonegawa area began efforts through local volunteers to revive techniques of making mushiro starting last year. Mushiro are folk implements that had long been an essential part of the lives of Japanese peasants. Techniques of manufacturing mushiro are more or less the same throughout Japan and have been so since the rise of modern Japan. However, the ubiquitous nature of mushiro meant that techniques of mushiro manufacture were seldom properly recorded for posterity. Since the mushiro in Nishi-hira-dani are made for personal use, mushiro are manufactured using the simplest of tools, presumably preserving an ancient form of mushiro manufacture. The current study seeks to revive, record, and carry on with techniques of mushiro manufacture through the assistance of local volunteers. This study also seeks to delve into and document life and conditions in villages that created folk implements like mushiro.
The case study in progress
Training Course for Museum Curators in Charge of Conservation was conducted from July 11 to 22 (27 participants), marking the 28th session of that course. Lectures and practics were conducted by instructors from the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and other facilities to provide curators with knowledge and skill regarding conservation environment at facilities handling cultural properties and prevention of the degradation of different types of materials primarily from a scientific perspective. In addition, Yachiyo Folk History Museum provided a “case study” of a study of conservation conditions on-site. Participants divided into groups to examine set topics and announced their findings. An active discussion took place and questions were asked and answered.
The training session in question featured an agenda that included a lecture on preparations for serious disasters and practica and demonstrations regarding emergency measures to preserve water-damaged photos and paper materials. Unfortunately, none of the attendees were from the Tohoku region, which had been heavily damaged by the recent Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, but participants from around the country were reminded of the affected region and the fact that they themselves could be victims of such a disaster. Seeing participants closely follow and observe lectures and practica so that they could prepare for a major disaster as might occur in the future was quite moving.
Presentation by Mr. Chandrapandian of the ASI
The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) have implemented a collaborative project to preserve Ajanta paintings in Caves 2 and 9. This project is funded by the ‘Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project’ of the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan.
As a follow-up, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation invited Mr. Chandrapandian, an expert from ASI who oversaw the Ajanta Caves from July 23 to 28, 2011, to visit and an expert meeting was held on the 27th.
At the meeting, Japanese experts reported on the status of Ajanta paintings in Cave 2, covered by the collaborative project, and factors leading to their damage. Results of high-resolution photographic documentation of Caves 2 and 9 were also reported by the Japanese experts. As a representative of the ASI, Mr. Chandrapandian reported on the ASI’s activities at other archaeological sites in India besides the Ajanta Caves. The meeting was a great opportunity to discuss how to better preserve the Ajanta paintings in the future.