|■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
A discussion underway
Japanese art objects are found in collections in the US and Europe and are greatly treasured. Experts overseas are also actively researching Japanese art history. Heidelberg University in Germany is one of the key sites of that research, and Melanie Trede, a professor at the University, was invited to Japan, where she delivered a lecture at the Institute’s seminar hall on March 5th entitled “Hachiman Engi Paintings as Cultural Memory: Using the Past to Serve the Present.”
“Cultural memory” is a political, social, and religious context that many people share when they recall a given work. An expert in Japanese art history, Professor Trede is often cited in the US and Europe by researchers in other fields as well. Her lecture examined the political nature of the Hachiman Engi by focusing on sources ranging from medieval picture scrolls to modern paper currency and was quite thought-provoking.
A lecture by Mari TAKAMATSU (adjunct instructor at Meiji University) lasted close to 2 hours as a result of consecutive interpretation and was followed by a discussion chaired by Tetsuei TSUDA (the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems) featuring comments by Takahiro TSUCHIYA (researcher at the Tokyo National Museum) and Jun SHIOYA (the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems). The day’s program received positive reactions from researchers of history and Japanese literature. The lecture on the Hachiman Engi provided a valuable impetus for the exchange of opinions by experts in different specialties or experts specializing in different eras.
‘Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage’
Volume 6 of ‘Research and Reports on Intangible Cultural Heritage’ was published in March 2012. This volume includes not only research and reports relating to intangible cultural heritage, but also the transcriptions of the public scholarship lecture, “Records of the Shuni-e Ritual (Omizu-tori) at Todaiji Temple,” held on October 22, 2011 sponsored by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, as well as the planned discussion between Mr. HASHIMOTO Shoen, Choro (the head monk) of Todaiji Temple, and Ms. SATO Michiko, an emeritus researcher at the Institute. The topics covered in this discussion would be very interesting not only for the participants who were at the lecture, but also for anyone who is interested in the Shuni-e Ritual at Todaiji or in Japanese traditional events and performing arts. As with the previous volumes, the PDF version of all pages will be made public on our website.
Science for Conservation is the research bulletin of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques and the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. The latest edition, Vol. 51, was published March 31, 2012. This edition features 7 papers and 20 reports on the study and restoration of various cultural properties by Institute personnel. Paper copies are distributed only to relevant organizations and persons, but PDF versions will be available on the Institute’s website (http://www.tobunken.go.jp/~hozon/pdf/51/MOKUZI51.html) , so feel free to have a look.
Ms. Tentieva during the presentation
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation started a new project, the “Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Kyrgyz Republic and Central Asia,” in 2011. This project was commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan and aims to train young experts in Central Asia in the protection of cultural heritage in Central Asia.
As a part of this project, three experts, Dr. Bakit Amanbaeva, Ms. Aidai Sulaimanova, and Ms. Ainura Tentieva, were invited to Japan and a seminar on “Cultural Heritage in the Kyrgyz Republic” was held at the Institute. Dr. Amanbaeva and Ms. Sulaimanova reviewed new archaeological discoveries in the Kyrgyz Republic and Dr. Tentieva spoke about Kyrgyz intangible cultural heritage.
A presentation by Ms. Yelena Atyants at the Seminar
Under the exchange program for museums in Asia, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation invited Ms. Yelena Atyants, head of conservation at the History Museum of Armenia, to Japan from February 26 to March 3, 2012. In conjunction with her visit, an open seminar on “exchange programs for the conservation of cultural properties in the History Museum of Armenia” on February 27, 2012 was held at the NRICPT. The seminar included a description of NRICPT projects at the History Museum, an introduction to the History Museum, a report on results of the 1st Workshop on Conservation of Archeological Metal Objects (which took place in January and February 2012 in Armenia), and a presentation on exchanges regarding conservation of textile artifacts in the History Museum of Armenia.
There is no Japanese embassy in the Republic of Armenia at this moment, so there are few opportunities to widely publicize cooperation/exchanges like those mentioned. Hopes are that the current project will help to facilitate cooperation/exchanges between Japan and the Republic of Armenia in various areas beyond the protection of cultural properties.
The 2011 General Assembly of the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage was convened on March 16th. The Secretariat General reported on Consortium projects in 2011 and projects planned for the coming year. This was followed by the 10th Seminar, and it is started with a keynote lecture by Mark Woodward, Sustainable Development Leader, Manila Office, World Bank entitled “The World Bank’s Approach to Heritage: From Protection to Inclusion of Heritage Assets and Historic Cities in Local Economic Development Programs.” Afterwards, three other lectures described recent trends in the safeguarding of cultural heritage with a focus on international conferences that mainly took place last year.
Yoko Futagami, Head of the Research Information Section, Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems, National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, described deliberations concerning inscription in relation to the 40th anniversary of the World Heritage Convention. Ms. Futagami also described international border disputes that occurred last year. Shinpei Minami, Director of the Office for International Cooperation on Cultural Properties, Traditional Cultural Division, Cultural Properties Department, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan, talked about the process of and criteria for inscription of intangible cultural heritage. Mr. Minami also described the inauguration of the International Research Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region. Finally, Kosaku Maeda, a Visiting Researcher at the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, reported on recent efforts to safeguard cultural heritage and build peace by focusing on the 10th Expert Working Group Meeting for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley World Heritage Property.
The topic of international trends in protection cultural heritage is usually brought up at seminars annually and attendees always number more than 50 people. Information on recent trends is greatly needed. The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage will continue its efforts to share information through seminars.