|■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
Discussion of the Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites which Japan nominated
Lobby of the Qatar National Convention Center where the 38th Session took place
The 38th Session of the World Heritage Committee was held from June 15 to 25 in Doha, the capital of Qatar. Prior to the session, the Institute analyzed documents regarding the state of conservation of properties on the World Heritage List and documents regarding properties nominated for inscription on the List. The Institute also gathered information on trends related to world heritage during the session.
During the session, 26 sites were added to the World Heritage List, bringing the total number of sites on the List to 1,007. The Okavango Delta (Botswana), the only African site recommended for inscription on the List by the Advisory Bodies, was inscribed on the List and the order of nominations was modified so that the site would be the symbolic 1,000th inscription on the List. The Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites that Japan nominated for inscription were discussed. Of the 20 Committee Members not including Japan, 18 expressed approval for the site to be inscribed. Many of the Members cited the mill complex, a site of early modern industry, as evidence of the exchange and amalgamation of the technologies of France and Japan.
During the session, 3 sites were added to the List of World Heritage in Danger and 1 site was removed. One of the included sites was Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines—Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir. Since the site had been submitted as an emergency nomination, it was automatically inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Advisory Bodies had recommended that the nomination of 13 sites be deferred, but 8 of these sites were inscribed on the List during the session. One site that was recommended not to be inscribed was inscribed as an emergency nomination and 2 sites that recommended for referral were also inscribed. The prevalence of nomination decisions overturning the recommendations from Advisory Bodies could compromise the Committee’s credibility and transparency. The National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo will continue to discern trends regarding Committee sessions.
Starting this year, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage has studied the preservation and further utilization of tools associated with intangible cultural heritage. Craft techniques and folk techniques are intangible cultural properties, and tools are essential to these techniques. However, a system of preserving these tools has yet to be instituted. Workshops and plants in various places are closing due to the advanced age of the craftsmen who work in them and the lack of individuals to carry on techniques. As a consequence, tools are in danger of vanishing. Preservation and further utilization of tools is essential to passing down intangible cultural properties, and the current state of the preservation and further utilization of these items probably needs to be ascertained and discussed.
Kumagaya dyeing (yuuzen [a form of dyeing with drawn patterns] and komon [intricate pattern dyeing]) is a traditional handicraft as designated by Saitama Prefecture. This year, the tools used in Kumagaya dyeing were studied with the cooperation of the Kumagaya City Library in the City of Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture. Workshops that use Kumagaya dyeing were found to use traditional craft techniques and to incorporate somewhat modern craft techniques such as screen printing. Information about early modern textile techniques that have expanded on traditional textile techniques must be compiled to pass down those techniques. Information about the tools that are kept by and used in various workshops is essential to understanding the techniques those workshops use. As the study progressed, it revealed that the type, usage, and repair of tools differed depending on the workshop. In the future, we would like to explore new ways to pass down intangible cultural heritage as we compile information about these tools.
On-site training at Bagaya Monastery
Practice preparing materials to conserve murals
Damage to glass mosaic decorations on a Buddhist alter at Shwe Nan Daw Monastery
As part of the “Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project” commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, on-site training and surveys were conducted from early to mid-June in cooperation with the Department of Archaeology and National Museum (DoA), Ministry of Culture of Myanmar;
1) A second on-site training course on the conservation of historical wooden buildings was conducted
The course took place from June 2 to 13. Trainees were 8 staff members with specialties in architecture or archaeology from the main and branch offices of the DoA together with 1 associate professor and 3 students from the Technological University (Mandalay). The course consisted of classroom lectures at the DoA Mandalay branch office and on-site practice at Bagaya Monastery in the suburbs of Mandalay. The trainees learned techniques such as drafting schematic drawings of floor plans, measuring floor unevenness and the tilting of columns, and checking and recording what types of deterioration have occurred and their extent. Training concluded with each group announcing the results of its research. In addition, termite damage (a problem common to wooden buildings in Myanmar) was surveyed by an expert and a preliminary course on termite damage was conducted. Termite damage at Bagaya Monastery has spread to the upper part of the building, and monitoring of this damage commenced with the assistance of the trainees in order to examine effective countermeasures.
2) Survey of and training on the conservation of murals at brick temple ruins
From June 11 to 17, a survey of the state of murals and conditions indoors at pagoda No.1205 was conducted to continue previous efforts. Damage to murals was mapped during the current survey. The murals are quite sturdy, but the survey revealed damage that must be dealt with in the future, such as the weakening and collapse of murals due to rain leakage and termite nests. In addition, training on the conservation of murals and pest control was conducted at the Bagan Archeological Museum. This training was attended by 6 conservators from the DoA Bagan branch. The trainees were especially interested in practice using restoration materials like adhesives and fillers as well as lectures on pest control and practice controlling pests. Plans are to continue conducting training sessions with more practical content.
3) Survey on traditional lacquerware techniques
Surveys were conducted in Bagan and Mandalay from June 11 to 19. The survey in Bagan was conducted in cooperation with the Lacquerware Technical University and Lacquerware Museum under the auspices of the Ministry of Cooperatives. The survey examined insect damage and it studied techniques that were used to produce lacquerware and damage to lacquerware in the museum’s collection. The survey revealed the need for urgent cleaning and the need to improve conditions for exhibition and storage of the pieces. In Mandalay, interviews on lacquer materials produced in Myanmar were conducted. In addition, techniques to produce glass mosaics in conjunction with lacquer decoration were studied at monasteries and shops selling those materials. Lacquer techniques that were used on the outside of the Shwe Nan Daw Monastery were visually inspected along with insect damage. Most of the interior and exterior of this building features lacquer decoration. This inspection revealed that ultraviolet rays and rain had extensively damaged the lacquer decorations.
A panel discussion underway
In April 2011, a large-scale pro-democracy movement developed in Syria, and that groundswell shows no sign of stopping. In actuality, Syria is currently in a state of civil war. There are over 140,000 dead in Syria, and over 4 million people have fled the country.
Destruction of Syria’s cultural heritage as the civil war unfolds has made major news around the world. World heritage sites that epitomize Syria, such as Aleppo and Krak des Chevaliers, have become battlegrounds, and many ruins have been looted and many museums have been plundered. The illegal export of cultural properties from Syria is an international concern. In light of this situation, UNESCO began efforts to safeguard Syria’s cultural heritage.
On June 23, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo hosted a symposium on Safeguarding Syria’s Cultural Heritage. At the symposium, presenters reported on the expert meeting, “Rallying the International Community to Safeguard Syria’s Cultural Heritage” that UNESCO had convened from May 26 to 28. In addition, presenters reported on various activities both at home and abroad to safeguard Syria’s cultural heritage.
A lecture at the seminar
On June 26 and 27, the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage (JCIC-Heritage) co-organized a seminar on Community Involvement in the Management of Cultural Heritae with the National Museum of Ethnology. The seminar took place at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo and at the International House, Osaka.
Over the past few years, there has been a clamor for public involvement in the management of cultural heritage in terms of promoting the coexistence of cultural heritage and tourism development. This clamor has arisen at the local, national, and international level, but the problem is that attempts to answer that clamor have not fared well. Given this reality, a seminar on Public Involvement in the Management of Cultural Heritage was held to specifically discuss the local community’s role and potential in terms of the management of cultural heritage.
A lecture was given by SEKI Yuji, Vice Chairperson of JCIC-Heritage and Chairperson of the Latin America and Caribbean Subcommittee, explaining the purpose of the seminar and the issues in question. Afterwards, examples of the state of management of cultural heritage involving local residents were described by NISHIYAMA Noriaki (Peru), Head of the Hokkaido University Center for Advanced Tourism Studies, YAOITA Kiho (Fiji and Peru), an Appointed Associate Professor of the Hokkaido University Center for Advanced Tourism Studies, MASUDA Kanefusa (Micronesia) of the Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments, and MATSUDA Akira (Italy and the UK), a Lecturer in Japanese Art and Artistic Heritage at the University of East Anglia.
A panel discussion took place after the lectures. Based on the examples described during the lectures and in light of questions from the audience, panelists actively discussed issues with the concept of community involvement, issues with its implementation, and the potential for community involvement from the perspective of international cooperation. The seminar had around 130 attendees during the 2 days in which it took place. Questions and views were proffered from various perspectives related to the management of cultural heritage, indicating the considerable interest in this topic.