|■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
Prior to the international symposium on Reconsidering “Form”: Towards a More Open Discussion that the Institute is hosting, Asae OZAWA (Tokai University, Japanese architectural history), who will be making a presentation during the 1st session, was invited to participate in a seminar to enhance discussion when the symposium takes places. The seminar started at 3 PM on September 9th(Tues.) in the Seminar Room of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems.
In her talk about The Creation and Establishment of “Styles” in the Modern Age: The Imperial Tour and Accommodations during the Tour, Ms. OZAWA related the common view that royal tours (or “Imperial Progresses”) made by the Emperor Meiji were intended to bolster the image of a Westernized Imperial family. Citing the architectural forms of early Meiji Period accommodations like Anzaisho (a Temporary Court Site) and Okoyasumisho (a Brief [Imperial] Rest Site), Ms. OZAWA instead argued that Japanese architecture was overwhelmingly used. When Western architecture was used, it was altered; until recently, the form of the throne was fashioned with fixtures such as single tatami mats and bamboo blinds. Even when forms from different cultures were incorporated, the existing relationship between forms and people was considered, as Ms. OZAWA revealed.
In the field of architecture, classification has become possible for the first time with a discussion of the similarities in what people expect and what their views will be. These expectations and views are the basis for forms. This seminar has led to a reexamination of the ways in which forms are discussed in various fields.
A Catalog of Works from the 8th Exhibition of Works by the Hakubakai.
At a seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems on September 24th, UENO Kenzo (Professor in the Faculty of Humanities, Fukuoka University) delivered a research presentation entitled “A Newly Discovered Item: A Catalog of Works from the 8th Exhibition of Works by the Hakubakai.” The Hakubakai was a group of artists who painted Western paintings during the mid-Meiji Period (the 1890s) and was spearheaded by KURODA Seiki. There were 13 exhibitions of works by the Hakubakai, with the first taking place in 1896 and the last taking place in 1911. Professor UENO has previously researched the Hakubakai, but the newly discovered item is a catalog of works from the 8th Exhibition (1903), no copies of which were thought to exist. The 8th Exhibition featured works by AOKI Shigeru, who was a student at the Tokyo Fine Art School at the time, and his work received the first Hakuba Prize. The catalog of works had not been found, so researchers were left to surmise which works had been exhibited based on reports in newspapers, magazines, and other media from the time. The same held true for exhibited works by members of the Hakubakai like KURODA. The catalog of works revealed the AOKI, for example, exhibited 14 works based on myths and early Buddhism, such as “Jaimini (a philosopher of ancient India).” The catalog that Professor UENO described in his presentation is a very valuable item because it describes the titles and number of works that artists exhibited. Plans are to present this catalog of works as Research Material in Bijutsu Kenkyu (The Journal of Art Studies).
A tub boat for sightseeing with an outer covering of clear FRP
A current tub boat for isonegi with an FRP outer covering and an outboard motor attached
From September 10–11, tub boat building techniques (nationally designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property in 2007) passed down around the Ogi Peninsula, south of the City of Sado, Niigata Prefecture were studied. Tub boats, known on Sado Island as hangiri, are able to make tight turns and are highly stable, so they have readily been used for isonegi (fishing or harvesting seaweed close to shore), which is done in inlets with numerous rocks.
Coopering techniques are applied to build tub boats, which are made by sticking planks of Japanese cedar together and then holding them in place with hoops of timber bamboo. The City of Sado attempted to train successors to carry on these techniques by conducting a seminar to train tub boat builders in 2009. However, the situation remains dire as there are only a few such boat builders. One reason for this was the initial decline in demand for tub boats. As a result, tub boat builders had difficulty making a living and they had few opportunities to hone the skills. Tub boats are still used for isonegi on the northern coast of the Ogi Peninsula, but isonegi itself is not as prevalent as it once was. Moreover, fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) was used to coat tub boats starting in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, increasing their durability. Thus, there is little projected demand for new tub boats.
When demand for a folk technique like tub boat building wanes as a result of changes in ways of life and people’s lives along with changes in lifestyles and as a result of the introduction of new technologies, the technique itself quickly fades. That said, the fact is that techniques can be carried on by altering the techniques and their uses in accordance with changes in the social climate. In Ogi, a private operator began offering rides in tub boats starting in the mid-1960s to mid-1970s. Sado has now become synonymous with sightseeing. Fishing from tub boats and tub boat building had been passed down in places like the Noto Peninsula and Toyama at one time, but those traditions have steadfastly remained only in Sado. This is probably because Sado created a new demand by turning tub boats into a sightseeing resource and because of changes in people’s attitudes towards tub boats.
Nonetheless, FRP is being used to successively coat the boats that were built and stored for tub boat sightseeing about 10 years ago. The passing down of tub boat-building techniques will be subjected to further changes.
Checking a control point in the GIS training workshop
Example of a survey drawing of colonial architecture
Symposium on overall achievements of the project
A project to preserve the Thang Long Imperial Citadel site, a World Cultural Heritage located in the heart of Vietnam’s capital city, has been undertaken by the NRICPT, commissioned by the UNESCO Office in Hanoi to spearhead Japanese efforts, since 2010. The project is scheduled to conclude at the end of this year. The following efforts were undertaken at the site since the latter half of last year.
a) GIS training workshops (December 27-28, 2012, May 15–18, 2013, September 10, 2013)
Selected staff of the Thang Long – Hanoi Heritage Conservation Centre received training from both Japanese and Vietnamese experts to establish a geographic information system (GIS) to manage cultural properties. Attendees learned various topics including basic concepts of using a GIS to manage cultural properties, correcting the base map using measurement points on-site, and ways to create a data base. This training has allowed staff to conduct basic operations themselves.
b) The second workshop on archaeological artifacts (January 23–24, 2013)
A workshop was co-organized by the NRICPT and the TL Centre in cooperation with the Institute of Archaeology, Imperial City Research Center, and the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. The workshop focused on the study of ancient roofing techniques by comparing roof tiles unearthed from the site with those found in Japan. Experts from both countries exchanged their knowledge and opinions, and they also visited excavations at the ancient temple and traces of ceramic kilns.
c) Workshop on sociological assessment (March 4, 2013)
A workshop on socio-economical assessment of the value of the Thang Long site was co-organized by the NRICPT with the TL Centre and Institute of Vietnamese Studies and Development Sciences, Hanoi National University (IVIDES). Experts from both countries gave presentations based on survey results and interviews with relevant individuals. The experts actively discussed their views on the future use of the site.
d) Survey of buildings from the colonial period (May 20–24, 2013)
Historical military buildings that were built during French colonial rule at the Thang Long site were surveyed with the TL Centre staff. Together, a new survey and supplementary surveys surveyed 7 buildings in order to prepare accurate documentation of the current status of these buildings, which have value as cultural properties, as basic data for management of cultural properties. Plans are to publish survey drawings, including those of 10 previously surveyed buildings, and to offer the digital data to the TL Centre.
e) Field study on the preservation of excavated remains (August 8–9, 2013)
At the excavation site, monitoring data were collected from sensors that have measured moisture migration in the soil where archaeological remains are located. Preserved bricks that had been subjected to an outdoor exposure test were also recovered for analysis of the test results. In addition, local staff members were given lectures on the use of equipment and materials and methods of data analysis to enable them to make similar measurements even though the current project has concluded.
f) Symposium on overall achievements of the project (September 11–12, 2013)
A symposium was held to bring together experts in charge of different portions of the project and other relevant personnel. The symposium served as a forum to summarize achievements of the project thus far and to exchange opinions on issues with an eye towards the future. Nine presentations were made in this two-day symposium with more than 60 participants from both countries and the UNESCO Office in Hanoi. The symposium, which was also one of the events to commemorate 2013 as the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Year, allowed participants to reaffirm the significance of the site in different terms and to sense the extensive achievements of the project firsthand, including studies on appropriate conservation efforts, planning site management, and teaching and training personnel to create a system to preserve and manage the Thang Long site. Japanese personnel are currently working, together with their Vietnamese counterparts, to publish a final project report by the end of the year.
Excavation practice at the Ak Besim site
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation (JCICC) has been commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Japan to conduct training regarding the safeguarding of cultural heritage in Central Asia since 2011. To that end, the JCICC has conducted a series of training workshops on Documentation, Excavations, Conservation, and Site Management in the Kyrgyz Republic and elsewhere in Central Asia.
The fifth workshop, a Training Workshop on Excavation of Ruins, Conservation of Unearthed Objects, and Site Management, was conducted jointly with the Institute of History and Cultural Heritage of the National Academy of Sciences, Kyrgyz Republic over a 17-day period from August 27th to September 12th.
During the workshop, trainees actually practiced excavation at the site of the medieval fortified town of Ak Besim. Trainees also practiced collecting fragile artifacts and removing soil layers. Lectures on site management were also given, and site management was planned with Ak Besim in mind.
The fifth workshop was attended by 14 young experts, including 8 experts from the Kyrgyz Republic, 1 expert from Armenia, 1 from Turkmenistan, 1 from Kazakhstan, and 1 from Tajikistan, and 2 experts from Afghanistan.
The JCICC plans to conduct various training workshops to safeguard the cultural heritage of Central Asia in the future as well.
Demonstration of lining
International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper was conducted from August 26th to September 13th by ICCROM and the Institute. Approximately 60 individuals who work with cultural properties applied from around the world. Of these, 10 individuals from the USA, UAE, Germany, Canada, Australia, UK, Malaysia, Switzerland, Bolivia, and Guatemala were selected to attend. The course focused on Japanese paper and included classes from perspectives ranging from materials science to history. In practical sessions, participants made infillings of missing portions, attached linings, attached rods, and mounted a work to a hanging scroll. They also attempted Japanese-style book binding. During this training, participants visited the Mino region in Gifu Prefecture, where a type of Japanese handmade paper that is used in restoration work is produced, and they also visited a town where traditional buildings are being conserved. Participants also visited traditional mounting studios and stores that make traditional tools and materials to learn about aspects relating to conservation of Japanese paper. The techniques and knowledge provided by this course will help encourage the conservation, restoration, and exhibition of Japanese paper cultural properties in collections overseas and can also be used to conserve and restore works made outside Japan.
Practice of dyeing
As part of JICA’s (Japan International Cooperation Agency) Project for cooperation with the Conservation Centre of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM-CC), a training course on textile conservation was conducted at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (NRICPT). The course was attended by 8 Egyptian trainees from the GEM-CC: 5 conservators of organic artifacts such as textiles, 1 curator who is in charge of storage, and 2 scientists who oversee instrumental analysis. Dr. Ishii Mie, a textile conservator and a visiting researcher from the NRICPT, led the training course as a head instructor for 2 weeks from September 2nd to 13th.
During the training, trainees learned about the mechanisms of synthetic dyes, dye discoloration by light, and color fastness tests in cooperation with Dr. Asakura Mamoru of the Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Technology Research Institute. Dr. Fujisawa Akira, an associate fellow of the NRICPT specializing in conservation science, instructed trainees in methods of materials testing and gave them the opportunity to practice those methods. Trainees practiced dyeing and making mounts for use in display. In addition, trainees also inspected storerooms and they viewed conservation underway in museums.
The course sought to encourage an understanding of the importance of individuals in different areas, such as conservators, curators, and scientists, working in concert, performing analysis and evaluation, and exchanging opinions. Trainees gained a lot of knowledge and experience in a short period of time.
This project seeks to foster and enhance cooperation among staff of the GEM-CC so that what is taught in training courses can spread and raise the standard of the museum as a whole. This is achieved by having trainees describe and teach what they have experienced and learned to their colleagues.
The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage (JCIC-Heritage) held its 13th Seminar, “Developing a new partnership for a comprehensive approach to international cooperation for cultural heritage protection” on Thursday, September 5, 2013, at the Independent Administrative Institution National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. Efforts by private organizations to protect cultural heritage have increasingly garnered public attention, but there are few opportunities to hear and discuss the principles and objectives of those organizations. Given this situation, JCIC-Heritage recognized the need to consider cooperation with various private organizations and the need to discern their efforts in different academic disciplines, thus leading JCIC-Heritage to hold this Seminar.
OGIWARA Yasuko , Executive Secretary of the Kigyo Mécénat Kyogikai (KMK, Association for Corporate Support of the Arts), started the seminar with a lecture entitled “Corporate Support of Art and Culture: Its Varied Forms and Current State” that focused on a review of activities by the Mécénat in which their corporate members played a central role. Ms. Ogiwara also analyzed the current state of those activities and she described recent changes and the potential for future activities by the Mécénat.
HIRAO Kashuku , the head of corporate social responsibility (CSR) at Merrill Lynch Japan Securities Co., Ltd., gave a lecture entitled “Art Conservation Projects by Bank of America Merrill Lynch .” Ms. Hirao described projects to protect cultural properties implemented with the cooperation of the Tokyo National Museum. She also explained the significance and objectives of CSR activities by companies and the ripple effects of projects resulting from partnerships.
MINO Yasuhisa , Executive Director at the Sumitomo Foundation, gave a lecture entitled “Grants from the Sumitomo Foundation for Projects to Protect, Restore, and Preserve Cultural Properties.” Mr. Mino described the background for the Foundation’s establishment, its characteristics, and his experience with grants for projects to protect cultural heritage over the past 20 years.
SHIMA Nobuhiko, a journalist, moderated a panel discussion including all of the speakers as well as KOMIYA Hiroshi , Senior director at the Foundation for Cultural Heritage and Art Research. This discussion provided an opportunity to consider future actors working to protect cultural heritage. A wide range of topics was discussed, including the difficulties of continuing projects and their importance, economic conditions and the nature of support, partnerships formed by project participants, and leadership needed to manage projects.