|■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
The seminar featuring a presentation by Ms. INABA Mai
The Modern and Contemporary Art Section of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems has continued Research on the History of Cultural Exchanges of Modern and Contemporary Art. This research project covers modern and contemporary art from Japan and other parts of East Asia. As part of that project, a seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives, and Information Systems on February 17th featured a presentation by Ms.INABA Mai, an Associate Professor at Kwangwoon University in South Korea. The presentation was entitled Korea’s “Dong Yang Hua(East Asian Painting)”.
The genre now known as Dong Yang Hua in South Korea originally developed when Nihonga(Japanese style Painting) took hold in Korea during the era of Japan’s colonial rule. In criticism of Oriental Painting after the end of that rule, the term South Korean Painting referred to the same genre of painting but connoted establishment of an ethnic identity. The term Han Guk Hua(South Korean Painting) came into vogue starting in the 1980s. Professor INABA’s presentation described the political context for the term Dong Yang Hua and events leading up to use of the current term South Korean Painting. The presentation also covered related topics and featured examples of representative works.
The concept of Nihonga was established after Japan’s modernization. This concept was actively discussed by critics, art historians, and artists in Japan from the 1990s to the early 2000s. Over the past few years, artists producing Nihonga have been re-examining the concept in light of Mineral Pigment Paintings and Gouache Paintings that have developed in parts of East Asia such as China and Taiwan. The seminar looked at the nature of Korea’s “Dong Yang Hua in light of its shared origins and its unique developments within national boundaries. The seminar provided a good opportunity to reconsider Nihonga in comparison. Friction between Japan and South Korea with regard to an awareness of history is constantly discussed. The seminar was attended by Ms. KIM Kibum (a curator at the National Hansen’s Disease Museum), who remarked that “we should not ignore the unfortunate circumstances under which the two cultures met. Instead, researchers from the two countries should delve further while looking at each other with fresh eyes.” Hopefully, researchers will ponder KIM’s words and events like this seminar will lead to future research.
The seminar venue
A seminar on passing down intangible cultural heritage (traditional techniques) was jointly organized by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum on February 3, 2015. The title of the seminar was “The People and Tools that Sustain Textile Techniques Tools are essential to passing down textile techniques. The seminar featured a panel discussion of how those tools and techniques are related and the current state of those tools and techniques. FUJII Kenzo (of the Kyoto Textile Research Institute) was invited to comment. The panel included YOSHIMURA Kouka (a curator at the Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum), textile makers who were filmed for the exhibition, NAKAYAMA Shunsuke (Head of the Modern Cultural Properties Section of the Institute’s Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques), and KIKUCHI Riyo (of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage).
The textile makers described how they are continually confronted with a choice regarding which tools to use, i.e. whether to introduce machinery to increase operational efficiency or to continue using the tools they have inherited. The textile makers also described how the techniques to make those tools have disappeared over the past few years. As a result, tools that were once readily available are no longer available, so craftsmen cannot inherit them even if they want to.
That said, there is the view that only those techniques with accompanying demand should be preserved. Kimono are currently worn on special occasions. Kimono production is almost non-existent in comparison to the days when kimono were everyday wear. Textile techniques are a form of intangible cultural heritage, but textile manufacture also falls within the framework of an industry. Textile makers produced textiles to make a living, but that cannot happen if there is no market for those textiles. In other words, what sort of kimono do consumers want? Existing techniques can change depending on the answer to that question.
The people that sustain textile techniques are not merely the textile makers. Each person who buys or wears clothing made from those textiles and wishes to preserve those textiles sustain the techniques used to make them. This seminar was meaningful since it impressed that fact upon a number of attendees. The seminar had numerous issues, such as time constraints, a lack of further discussion, and the fact that too broad a range of topics was covered. In the future, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage would like to draw on the views expressed by attendees and provide a forum in which individuals with different perspectives can discuss the passing down of textile techniques.
The seminar underway
For the conservation of cultural properties, it is important to maintain properly environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, light, and air quality. Environmental conditions of temperature and humidity in facilities that exhibit and store cultural properties have been improved remarkably with the progress of technology of air-conditioning units. On the other hand, from the viewpoint of the change of climate conditions surrounding cultural properties on loan transported between regions of different climates and of the energy saving, the debates for discussing temperature and humidity conditions is recently being held more and more actively not only in Japan but also internationally.
The Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques studies how the influence of temperature and humidity on cultural properties and methods to predict and control temperature and humidity levels. A seminar on Controlling and Predicting Conditions for Conservation of Cultural Properties was held on February 9, 2015. Researchers in conservation (MABUCHI Hajime of the Mie Prefectural Museum and KOTAJIMA Tomoko of the Tokyo University of the Arts) and experts in architecture (GONDO Takashi of the Kajima Technical Research Institute, KITAHARA Hiroyuki of Total System Laboratory Co., and ABUKU Masaru of Kinki University) were invited to do presentations at the seminar. The latest information on conditions for conservation of cultural properties was shared and discussed at the seminar. This information included examples of temperature and humidity control with air-conditioning units in museums, examples of the new systems that have been developed and installed, examples of studies of temperature and humidity levels and air quality in display cases, and comparisons of the measured temperature and humidity levels and those predicted by using computer simulations (attendance: 29 individuals).
Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology, Krakow (Poland)
During a survey of works in the collection
Numerous Japanese artworks can be found in European and American collections overseas. However, there are few conservators of these artworks overseas, and many of these works cannot be shown to the public since they have not been properly conserved. Thus, the Institute conducts the Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas in order to properly conserve and exhibit these works. Works in the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology were surveyed because of the museum’s fervent desire and need for help with conservation.
Located in Krakow (Poland), the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology is home to a number of the Japanese artworks found in Eastern Europe. The Kyoto-Krakow Foundation was founded by individuals such as the film and theatre director Andrzej WAJDA. The Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology was established in 1994 with help from the foundation and private contributions and assistance from the governments of Japan and Poland. The museum’s collection centers on works collected by the art collector Feliks ‘Manggha’ JASIENSKI (1861–1929), and the collection includes a host of Japanese paintings such as ukiyo-e (woodblock) prints as well as pottery, lacquerware, and textiles.
A survey of paintings in the collection was conducted in 2 phases of January 13–23, 2015 and February 3–6, 2015. The first phase surveyed 84 paintings. Seven of these works were selected based on their value in terms of art history and their urgent need for conservation. The second phase examined these 7 works in detail in order to determine the time needed to conserve them and appropriate methods of conserving them.
Plans are to formulate a plan for conservation of the identified works and to conserve them under the Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas in the future. The information gleaned from the survey will be shared with curators and conservators at the museum so that these works can be conserved and exhibited.
Panel discussion at the seminar
As part of a project financed by a grant for operational expenses entitled Cooperation for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage in Southeast Asia, the Institute held a seminar on Wooden Buildings in Myanmar in its seminar hall on February 13.
Starting in 2013, the Institute has conducted studies and provided trainings on the conservation of cultural properties in Myanmar. Such efforts include the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage project to safeguard the cultural heritage of Myanmar commissioned by the Agency of Cultural Affairs of the Japanese government. As a field of the cooperation is,the Institute has implemented a training program in survey techniques for the conservation of historic wooden buildings. There still is, however, a dearth of study accumulation, whether domestic or foreign, on wooden buildings in Myanmar themselves, and these buildings have yet to be fully understood.
Raymond Myo Myint Sein, a former professor at the Department of Architecture of the Rangoon Institute of Technology, is a pioneer in research on wooden buildings in Myanmar and Zar ChiMin, an associate professor at the Department of Architecture of Technological University (Mandalay), is a spirited young researcher. At the seminar, these two invited speakers and Japanese representatives gave presentations sharing the results of previous research on traditional wooden buildings in Myanmar. Then, discussion was made on the cultural significance of those buildings to Myanmar people and topics for the future research.
A report on the seminar featuring articles from the presenters and the details of the panel discussion waspublished, as well.
During an interview with the Director of the Sarawak Museum and other museum representatives (Malaysia)
Patan Durbar Square (Nepal)
The Japan Consortium for International Cooperation in Cultural Heritage conducted several surveys in partnering countries Malaysia and Nepal in February. The surveys had 3 goals: to gather information about the current state regarding issues with safeguarding of cultural heritage, to ascertain needs related to those efforts, and to explore the possibility for international cooperation.
In Malaysia, Consortium research members met with the Director of the Department of National Heritage from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and other representatives. The meeting provided general information about the system for safeguarding cultural heritage at a national level. Afterwards, they toured through the historic cities of Melaka and George Town (World Heritage Sites) and the archeological site in the Bujang Valley of Kedah and examined the state of preservation of those sites. They also visited Kuching on the island of Borneo, where ethnic minorities continue to preserve their traditions. Consortium gathered informationabout the system and efforts to safeguard the area’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage, which differs from thoses in Malay Peninsula.
In Nepal, Consortium research members observed the UNESCO Japanese funds-in-trust project initialized to preserve cultural heritage in Lumbini (World Heritage site) and the management of the conservation of traditional buildings in the Katmandu Valley. They viewed intangible cultural heritage in forms of the Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri and Gyalpo Lhosar (celebration of Tibetan New Year), and interviewed locals. In addition, Consortium visited the UNESCO Office in Kathmandu, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, the Department of Archaeology and the Kathmandu Valley Preservation Trust to gatherinformation.