|■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 at the Fumigation Laboratory
Eight Visitors from the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies
On August 6, eight visitors from the Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies at the Seoul National University visited the Institute in order to view work involved in the conservation and restoration of cultural properties.
They toured the Reading Room in the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, and the Biology Laboratory and the Restoration Laboratory in the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques.
The staff members in charge of each section explained the work they do.
An explanation at the Photo Studio
Thirteen Visitors from ICCROM’s “International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper”
On August 31, thirteen visitors from ICCROM’s “International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper” visited the Institute as part of their training session.
They toured the Photo Studio in the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, the Performing Arts Recording Studio in the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the Restoration Studio, the Conservation Laboratory, the Chemistry Laboratory and the Biology Laboratory in the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques.
The staff members in charge of each section explained the work they do.
As mentioned in previous updates, the Institute has studied Yamaji by Yokoyama Taikan since 2010 through joint research with Eisei Bunko. Results of the 4th survey of the piece, occasioned by its restoration, are finally being summarized. A conference primarily for individuals involved in the surveys was held at the Institute on August 3rd. At the conference, the individuals listed below (including myself) reported on their own research topics related to Yamaji (individuals are listed in the order in which they made presentations):
TAKEGAMI Yukihiro (Association for Conservation of National Treasures), ARAI Kei (Tokyo University of the Arts), TAIRA Yuichiro (Tokyo University of the Arts), OGAWA Ayako and MIYAKE Hidekazu (Eisei Bunko), HAYASHIDA Ryuta (Kumamoto Prefectural Museum of Art), SATO Shino (Yokoyama Taikan Memorial Hall), and NOJI Koichiro (Nerima Art Museum)
Presenters discussed the piece with personnel of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems. Presentations covered a range of topics, including reports on the restoration, analysis of the piece based on surveys, and re-examination of points raised during presentations. Multiple researchers investigated a single work from multiple perspectives. Such an approach is unprecedented in the study of modern Japanese-style painting, making the conference a groundbreaking event. Plans are to summarize the results in volume 6 of the Archive of Art Studies (published by the Institute) for publication next spring.
Participants of the International Seminar
This international seminar was held in Lamphun town in Northern Thailand, from August 6–10, 2012, under the joint sponsorship of the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre, Thailand, and the International Research Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region, Japan. MIYATA Shigeyuki from the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage participated in the seminar as a guest Resource Person.
In the seminar, young experts from Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, and Bhutan, who are involved in museum management and anthropological studies took part in practical case study reports and discussions, and fieldwork studies. Researchers from Thailand, the U.K., the United States and Japan also participated as Resource Persons, and in addition to giving presentations, they also participated in the discussions. Since most of the participants are practically involved in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in their region through their daily research activities in museums, their discussions were extremely lively and valuable, reflecting their high level of practical concern. It was also very encouraging for us Resource Persons to hear the fresh voices of the young experts who are at the forefront of research. This seminar is planned to be held in the same way yearly from next year on. As a result, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage plans to actively participate in the seminar in cooperation with the International Research Centre for ICH in the Asia-Pacific, and to contribute as experts on Japan.
Microbial Biodeterioration of Cultural Property
Degradation by microorganisms significantly affects cultural properties, regardless of whether they are indoors or outdoors. In addition, cultural properties that have been damaged by an earthquake, tsunami, or other natural disaster are soon susceptible to biodegradation due to water damage. Surveys of the extent of damage and steps to combat it are vital. The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo will hold an International Symposium on the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property on Dec. 5 (Wed.)–7 (Fri.), 2012 in Heiseikan of the Tokyo National Museum. In addition to guest lectures, the symposium will feature 22 poster presentations on biodegradation of cultural properties and steps to counter it. The symposium provides a forum for active discussion and exchange of information by domestic and foreign researchers and individuals who work with cultural properties, so numerous attendees are expected, including individuals involved in the protection of cultural properties, researchers, and students interested in the area of cultural properties. Applications will be accepted until Oct. 20th. For details, see http://www.tobunken.go.jp/~hozon/sympo2012/. Please direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A scene from the photographic investigation
The right scroll of the “Twenty-Five Bodhisattvas Descending from Heaven” at Kimbell Art Museum (before repair)
(L) The same right scroll, (Middle) A color image of the backside of the same portion (horizontally reversed), (R) A near-infrared image of the backside of the same portion (horizontally reversed)
We have been performing restoration on the “Twenty-Five Bodhisattvas Descending from Heaven” (Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, United States) since 2011 as Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas. This is a pair of hanging scrolls, color on silk thought to have been executed in the 14th century. All of the bodhisattvas are gold-painted and, delicate decrative pattern of gold foil applied to them, but the paintings have begun to appear dark due to the filth of aging, and a problem for conservation arose from the glue becoming loose all over the place. During this restoration, we are going to dismantle the scrolls and renew the mountaining . At present, the removal of the old first lining paper of the light scroll compretely. We can verify the ink lines of the underlying sketch and the backside coloring by looking at the other side of the silk , and we took color and near-infrared photographs to perform the required investigation for its restoration. The bodhisattvas are presented with noble features when looking at the surface of the work, but we could confirm the existence of an excellent underlying sketch with calm expressions throughout the entire work because of the gentle line drawing on the backside in comparison to the quite solid line drawing on the surface by verifying it with a near-infrared image. In addition, we were able to confirm that the backside coloring was applied as a traditional Buddhist painting colored with white and green paints from the backside of the silk canvas. These types of images can only be verified when doing a dismantling repair. We could proceed with an even safer restoration by recording both surface and the backside of the work with high-resolution pictures, and we will utilize these images as research materials in the future. We would like to continue future work while increasing consultations with the curator of the museum that own Japanese cultural properties.