|■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
Mr. NAKAMURA, Director of the Tokyo Art Dealers’ Association (l.), and Mr. KAMEI, Director General of the Institute (r.)
Mr. MITANI, President of the Tokyo Art Club (l.), and Mr. KAMEI, Director General of the Institute (r.)
Offers for donations to the Institute were received from the Tokyo Art Dealers’ Association (Director: NAKAMURA Jun) and the Tokyo Art Club (President: MITANI Tadahiko). The Tokyo Art Dealers’ Association aims to fund publication of the Institute’s research results and the Tokyo Art Club intends to fund the Institute’s research projects.
We received the donations with great appreciation on November 5 at the Tokyo Art Club. KAMEI Nobuo, Director General of the Institute, presented a certificate of appreciation to both Mr. NAKAMURA, Director of the Tokyo Art Dealers’ Association, and Mr. MITANI, President of the Tokyo Art Club.
We are glad both organizations are aware of our activities and we are most grateful for their donations. We look forward to using these donations to fund our activities.
Discussion of “Washi”
The Committee in session
The Ninth Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris November 24–28, 2014. The session was attended by 4 personnel from the Institute. These staff members gathered information on the state of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
During the session, 34 elements of intangible cultural heritage were inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (the Representative List). The inscribed elements included “Washi, craftsmanship of traditional Japanese hand-made paper.” “Sekishu-Banshi,” which was already inscribed on the Representative List, was joined by “Hon-minoshi” and “Hosokawa-shi.” This was the first time that a State Party had added elements to inscribed intangible cultural heritage. On the day the decision was made, there were numerous Japanese news media at the session. Like the nomination of “Washoku” last year, this year’s nomination also included the word “Wa (which means “Japanese”),” and this may explain the heightened in interest in the nomination.
That said, there were instances when State Parties that nominated elements for inscription on the Representative List or that reported on the status of elements inscribed on the Representative List were criticized by other State Parties for including elements of those parties. Indicative of the relations between states, such conflict is probably unavoidable. The inscription of an element on the Representative List does not imply exclusivity or ownership of that element by the nominating State Party, and an element need not exhibit originality or uniqueness with respect to similar elements. These facts must be publicized both at home and abroad.
As UNESCO’s Secretariat reported, most of the nomination files that State Parties submitted to propose elements for inscription on the Representative List had missing or incorrect information and had to be sent back to the nominating State Party. This was due to lack of experience with document preparation as well as an imperfect system for documenting intangible cultural heritage that should be protected. State Parties should avoid seeking merely to inscribe an element on the Representative List. Support is needed to create a framework for identification and protection of differing intangible cultural heritage. This is, after all, the initial goal of creating a nomination file. Japan can play a role in providing this support.
Study meeting at the seminar hall
The Modern Cultural Properties Section of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques held a study meeting “Conservation and Restoration of Western Paper” which took place in the Institute’s seminar hall on November 21 (Fri.). During the study meeting, lectures were given by YASUE Akio, former dupty librarian of the National Diet Library and current contract lecturer at Gakushuin University; YOKOSHIMA Fumio, senior managing director of Preservation Technologies Japan Co.; OGASAWARA Atsushi, chief technician at Shugo; Alejandra Odor CHÁVEZ, head of the Conservation Department of the Mexican National Archives; and Anne Frances MAHEUX, head of Conservation of Art on Paper, Maps, and Manuscripts at the Library and Archives Canada. Mr. YASUE lectured changes in approaches to paper documents preservation from the perspective of archives. Mr. YOKOSHIMA presented mass deacidification. Mr. OGASAWARA described issues arising in his current conservation of notes. Ms. CHÁVEZ talked about degradation of iron gall inks and techniques to cope with that problem. Ms. MAHEUX described a conservation technique using a material known as gellan gum to treat acidic paper and iron gall inks. The lecturers were persuasive, keeping the audience in rapt attention, since they introduced their professional experiences. The atmosphere of the study meeting was enthusiastic, and there were more attendees than expected, with more than 129 in attendance.
Analyzing the colorants in “INO Maps”
Colorants in survey maps by INO Tadataka (1745–1811) in the University Library of the University of Tokushima (known as the “INO Maps”) were studied scientifically as part of the Project to Authenticate the “INO Maps” in the University Library of the University of Tokushima (Director: FUKUI Yoshihiro, Library Director). This Project seeks to conduct a full-fledged study of the “INO Maps,” and colorants in the maps were scientifically investigated at the Library over a 4-day period starting on November 25, 2014. The “INO Maps” are the first Japanese maps based on a precise scientific survey. The maps have features of an early modern painting since they graphically depict terrain, mountains and rivers, and buildings in color. The current study used X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and visible reflectance spectroscopy, both of which are non-destructive methods of analysis. These techniques yielded data with which to identify the pigments and dyes used. These data are currently being analyzed.
The current study examined “Coastal Maps” (3 sheets), “Coastal Maps of Bungokuni” (3 sheets), and “The Draft Map of Japan’s Coasts” (4 sheets). All of these maps were created based on surveys conducted between 1800 and 1816, so they have scholarly value in their own right. Those maps also offer a precious glimpse into the process leading up to the final version of the “INO Maps” known as “The Complete Survey of Japan’s Coasts.” In addition to colorants analysis, this project examined the quality of paper used and the techniques used to produce survey maps. The results of these studies should yield important findings regarding the creation of the “INO Maps.”
The outside of the meeting site
The General Assembly in session
Representative from the Institute attended the 18th General Assembly of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) that took place from November 9 to 14, 2014 in Florence, Italy. In light of the 1964 International Charter on the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (the Venice Charter), ICOMOS was founded in 1965 as an international NGO to safeguard and conserve cultural heritage. ICOMOS has over 10,000 members worldwide, and is known for its work reviewing world heritage nominations as an advisory body to UNESCO.
The General Assembly meets every 3 years to elect the Executive Committee and to hold an international symposium. At this Assembly, Gustavo ARAOZ was reelected as President and KONO Toshiyuki, a Professor at Kyushu University, was chosen as one of the 5 Vice Presidents. In addition, an international symposium “Heritage and Landscape as Human Values” was held. The symposium featured a wide range of presentations on issues that countries commonly encounter when safeguarding heritage, such as topics related to sustainability through traditional knowledge and community-driven conservation. The year in which the General Assembly met also marked the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Venice Charter and the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Nara Document on Authenticity (the Nara Document). A panel featuring personnel involved in the adoption of these documents discussed the events leading to their adoption and subsequent developments after their adoption.
The Institute will continue to gather and compile information on the safeguarding of cultural heritage overseas by attending international conferences like this in the future as well.
Practice preparing wheat starch paste
A demonstration of attaching a backing
A Course on Conservation of Paper in Latin America was conducted as part of the LATAM program of the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). The LATAM program seeks to conserve cultural heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Course on Conservation of Paper in Latin America was jointly organized by the Institute, ICCROM, and Mexico’s Coordinación Nacional de Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (CNCPC-INAH). The course was conducted from November 5 to 30 at the CNCPC-INAH, and the Course was attended by 9 experts in restoring cultural properties who hailed from the 8 countries of Spain, Cuba, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, and Mexico.
The course sought to provide attendees with basic knowledge and proficiency with regard to traditional Japanese paper, adhesives, and tools so that this knowledge and proficiency could be used to help conserve cultural properties in the attendees’ home countries. The first half of the course consisted of lectures by Japanese experts on materials and tools used in mounting and restoration techniques and then practice by the attendees. This year’s course focused on creating a work environment that provided safety during restoration work, work preparations, acquiring tools, and cleanup. During the second half of the course, lectures were given by experts from Mexico, Spain, and Argentina who had completed the Institute’s International Course on Conservation of Paper. These lecturers described actual examples in which they had used Japanese techniques to restore cultural properties in the West. Afterwards, attendees practiced using those techniques. Given the likelihood that Japanese mounting and restoration techniques can be used to conserve cultural heritage in other countries, plans are to conduct similar training sessions in the future as well.
Ryukyu indigo (indigo paste)
Making a bamboo screen
Applying borders (chirimawari, the region between the plaster wall and surrounding woodwork) as part of the plastering process
Following on from last month, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation is continuing to investigate of Selected Conservation Techniques. The center conducts interview surveys with technique holders, asking about topics such as their work process, the situation surrounding their work, and their social environment, and takes photographic records of them at work, their tools, and other items. In November 2014, surveys and documentation activities were conducted regarding Ryukyu indigo production in Okinawa, production of sukisu bamboo screens for papermaking in Ehime, and a sakan (plaster work) in Tokyo were studied and recorded.
Ryukyu indigo differs from other types of indigo plants on the main island of Japan. The processes of cultivating and manufacturing Ryukyu indigo also differ substantially from those used in indigo dyeing with tade-ai (Chinese indigo). Mr. INOHA Seisho is a holder of Selected Conservation Techniques, and Mr. NAKANISHI Toshio who is carrying on INOHA’s techniques. Mr. NAKANISHI explained that recent typhoons and inclement weather have affected the growth of Ryukyu indigo. Mr. NAKANISHI also described the process of manufacturing indigo.
Ms. IHARA Keiko is a member of the National Society to Preserve Tools and Techniques Used to Produce Japanese Paper by Hand who lives in Ehime. Ms. IHARA is also certified as a traditional craftsperson by Ehime Prefecture. Ms. IHARA talked about the current state of sukisu screen production, procurement of bamboo strips and silk thread to make those screens, and the difficulty of training a successor.
The company Nakashimasakan was working at a site in Tokyo where a traditional building was being restored. Part of sakan (plaster work) done by the company was photographed. Relating sakan (plaster work), Japanese wall, National Cultural Property Wall Technical Preservation Meeting is certified as a group holder of Selected Conservation Techniques.
Cultural properties obviously need to be preserved, but the materials and techniques used to craft those cultural properties also need to be preserved. The research materials from this study will be compiled. In addition, plans are showcase some of these materials overseas. A calendar with visually stunning images could be used to highlight the nature of Japan’s cultural properties, how those cultural properties are created, and materials and techniques that need to be preserved.
During the class 1
During the class 2
On November 13, 2014, SEKI Yuji, Vice chairperson of the Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage (“JCIC-Heritage”) and a Professor at the National Museum of Ethnology, gave a lecture as part of a class on “Education for International Understanding” at Itabashi First Junior High School in Itabashi Ward, Tokyo.
Itabashi First Junior High School is home to “volunteer efforts in support of schools.” JCIC-Heritage was invited to participate in the efforts by a regional volunteer coordinator, and JCIC-Heritage responded by sending a representative to give a lecture in connection with “Education for International Understanding.” This was JCIC-Heritage’s first invitation from a junior high school. Professor SEKI, who spent his childhood in Itabashi Ward, was asked to give the lecture.
Professor SEKI’s lecture, titled “International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage,” lasted 50 minutes and was attended by 150 or so students.
In the first half of the lecture, Professor SEKI explained what cultural heritage is and he then used pictures of Japanese castles and Kabuki performances to describe tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Professor SEKI then explained why cultural heritage needs to be protected, what will happen if it is not protected, the importance of international cooperation to protect that heritage, and the forms of international cooperation in this field, and he used slides to give clear explanation.
In the latter half of the lecture, Professor SEKI talked about his experiences with international cooperation to protect cultural heritage in Peru and he showed pictures of sites in Peru.
JCIC-Heritage will continue to educate and enlighten the public about international cooperation to protect cultural heritage, and JCIC-Heritage plans to inform the public about the importance of international cooperation.