|■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
Students at a briefing lecture on global activities of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation
Nine students from Tokyo Gakugei University
On October 5, the students visited the Institute to foster better understanding of our latest activities, such as research on domestic and overseas cultural properties and cooperation in the safeguarding of cultural properties, for the promotion of their on-going study. Leading researchers briefed participants on their operations at the Library of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, the Performing Arts Studio of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the Conservation Science Section of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques. In addition to these, at the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, global activities of the Institute were also introduced by a researcher in charge.
Audience at the seminar room
The Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems organized public lectures at the seminar room of the Institute on Friday, October 30 and Saturday, October 31, 2015. This lecture has been annually held for 49 years in order to widely release our accumulated research outcomes to the public. For 2015, two researchers of the Institute and two more lecturers from outside gave a one-hour lecture, respectively.
Day 1 was dedicated to “Amida (Amitabha) Triad of Ninna-ji Temple and the Belief of Emperor Uda” by Ms. Mai Sarai (Senior Researcher of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems), and “Painters in the 10th Century : Various Phases of “Japanization” from the Perspectives of East Asian Art Historyby Mr. Ryusuke Masuki (Associate Professor at Kobe University). Ms. Sarai explained iconographical features of the Amida Triad built by Emperor Uda together with their involvement with historical backgrounds of the religion centering on Emperor Uda, while Mr. Masuki studied changes in landscape paintings around the 10th century in China read from historical materials, which affected Japanese paintings.
Day 2 was for “Japanese and Chinese Found in Yosa Buson’s Paintings” by Mr. Takuyo Yasunaga (Researcher of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems) and “Looking into the Landscape Paintings of Ike no Taiga : By Means of Two Paintings of ‘Riku-en’” by Ms. Rie Yoshida (Curator of the Shizuoka City Art Museum). Mr. Yasunaga explained how Yosa Buson, a painter representing the Edo period, was aware of “Japanese” and “Chinese” styles in his expressions, which were mixed and shown in his actual paintings. On the other hand, Ms. Yoshida focused on the paintings of “Riku-en” drawn by Ike no Taika, a famous painter in the Edo period like Buson, which are based on the Chinese theory of painting but which are very unique. She also referred to how the paintings of Taiga as a Japanese “Bun-jin (literati) painter” had been established along with the styles of paintings using Japanese brushes shown in his works and the relationships with people involved in his works.
With an audience of 138 people on Day 1 and 109 on Day 2, the lectures were esteemed highly: More than 80% of questionnaire respondents answered “Satisfied Very Much” and “Satisfied in General.”
Under the circumstance where globalization is becoming an issue in various areas, researchers in art history are also putting more effort into “World Art History” or “Global Art History.” Against this backdrop, the International Symposium: “Histories of Japanese Art and Their Global Contexts – New Directions” was organized by the Institute of East Asian Art History, Heidelberg University at its Karl Jaspers Centre from October 22 through 24, 2015. This symposium was held in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the “Ishibashi Foundation Visiting Professorship in Japanese Art History,” which supports the dispatch of visiting professors in Japanese art history from Japan to Heidelberg University. The symposium was composed of seven panels: I. “‘Making Worlds’ – Imagining Japan,” II. “Global Entanglements of East-Asian Export Artifacts,” III. “Artistic Interactions between Japan and China in the early Twentieth Century,” IV. “Japanese Art and Public Discourses,” V. “Collecting Japan and China in EuroAmerica and the Formation of a “World Art History,” VI. “Contemporaneity in Postwar Art,” and VII. “Japan in International Exhibitions.”
Twenty-two researchers presented their research outcomes, and discussions were held in each panel. Keynote speeches were given by Dr. Christine Guth (Royal College of Art and V&A Museum, London) and Dr. Timon Screech (SOAS, London). Emiko Yamanashi was invited from this Institute to make a presentation under the title of “The art historian, collector and dealer Hayashi Tadamasa – negotiating the concepts of “Fine arts” in Europe and “bijutsu” in Japan” in Panel V prior to “The Origin of Species and the Beginning of World Art History: Kunstwissenschaft’s Encounter with Darwinian Aesthetics around 1900” (Dr. Ingeborg Reichle: Humboldt University, Berlin) and “Collecting East-Asian Art in Imperial Germany and the Predicament of World Art History” (Dr. Doris Croissant: Heidelberg University).
The three-day presentations and discussions revealed that Japanese artifacts and Japanese art history have also been discussed differently in various regions in and after the Age of Exploration, when people, goods, knowledge and information started to move significantly. The report of the symposium will be published in 2017.
Lecture on Dyeing
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage organized a workshop on Yuzen dyeing jointly with Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum on October 16 and 17, 2015. For this workshop, we invited Lecturer Takashi Seto from J. F. Oberlin University to focus on “Yuzen Dyeing” as a technique representing modern Japan. Comparison was made between the materials inherited from the early modern times (Japanese paper soaked in blue dayflower pigment, Yuzen glue, natural dyes, etc.) and synthetic materials in recent times (synthetic dayflower pigment, mucilage, and synthetic dyes), as well as their respective tools.
On the first day, the current situation surrounding the production of materials and tools used for Yuzen-dyeing was explained together with images. Then, a series of processes were demonstrated: Drawing a design while making a comparison between natural dayflower pigment and synthetic dayflower pigment, masking with reddish glue made from starch glue, sappanwood and slaked lime, and undercoating with glue and ground soybean juice. On the second day, after learning the differences between natural and synthetic dyes, the remaining processes of coloring with synthetic dyes, steaming, and washing with water were performed. While steaming the fabrics to fix the dyes, the participants experienced masking with mucilage to learn the differences in the masking process from starch glue. At the end of the workshop, the participants discussed the “tradition” that they thought should be handed down.
At this workshop, we could understand the relations among changing materials, tools and techniques through actual working processes, while sharing issues on techniques to be protected for handing them down to the coming generations through discussions with the participants.
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage will continue to plan a variety of seminars to focus on diverse techniques.
Dust removing & cleaning operations
Under the Cultural Properties Rescue Operations in Fukushima Prefecture of the Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters, cultural properties t evacuated from the museums located in the former restricted areas of Futaba, Okuma and Tomioka Towns were tentatively stored in the school buildings of the former Soma Girls High School (Soma City). Excluding large or particularly heavy objects, almost all objects have been transported and stored in the temporary storage of the Shirakawa Branch of the Fukushima Cultural Property Center to be utilized for exhibition after dust removal, cleaning and recording. Due to longer-than-expected tentative storage, conservation environments in Soma City were examined again on October 15, 2015. After collecting the installed data loggers for temperature, humidity and illuminance, we measured the surface temperatures of the walls in the classrooms and insulation board applied on the windows for shielding. We also checked visual inspection of the objects for any damage incurred by insects and mold. Desiccant dehumidifiers installed in the classrooms where objects were stored had prevented the rooms from becoming highly humid even in the seasons with high relative humidity such as the rainy season and summer, maintaining their humidity at 50-60% rh in general from late February to mid-August. This means that the materials were not in a mold-active condition. We also found that the intensity of illumination was somewhat high and the temperature of the space up to 1 m away from the window was easily affected by the external environment. For those objects for which mold was a real possibility, we conducted cleaning operations. We will continually consider how to maintain better environments at the tentative storage sites based on our collected basic data.
Trainee operating a small UAV
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation has been involved in the “Support for documentation standards and procedures of the Silk Roads World Heritage serial and transnational nomination in Central Asia” promoted by the UNESCO Japanese Funds-in-Trust since 2011. To support the collective listing of the Silk Road related assets expected by the five countries in Central Asia, this project is jointly implemented by research institutes in Japan and the UK.
After “the Chang’an-Tian-shan Silk Road Corridor” nominated jointly by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz and China was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2014, another application made jointly by Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and one more by Turkmenistan alone are expected as well. However, there is still an issue to be settled: establishment of a sustainable management system for cultural properties under close cooperation among the five countries. Therefore, UNESCO has decided to continue to provide support by implementing Phase 2 of this project from 2014 to 2017.
From October 2 through 10, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation in charge of Kyrgyz organized a workshop to improve the documentation technique for cultural properties focusing on archaeological and architectural remains, as well as to prepare management plans for the heritage, in Uzgen, the southern part of Kyrgyz. First, we gave lectures on techniques to prepare distribution maps of ruins by using a GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receiver and GIS (Geographical Information System) software, topographical survey for archeological sites with aerial photographs taken by a small UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and 3D modeling software, and high-resolution 3D modeling of architectural heritage, which were followed by a field survey. Then, we simulated the preparation of management plans for cultural properties as group work.
Participation of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation in this project ended this year. The GNSS receiver, small UAV and other equipment used for this workshop have been provided for Kyrgyz by UNESCO. We expect that documentation of the cultural assets using these latest devices will be promoted further in Kyrgyz.
Representative from the Institute attended the Annual General Assembly, Advisory Committee Meeting, and Scientific Symposium of ICOMOS held from October 26 through October 29, 2015 in Fukuoka. ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) was established in 1965 as an international NGO for safeguarding and conservation of cultural properties in response to the International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites (the Venice Charter) adopted in 1964. Since then, ICOMOS has been working as an organization where experts from various fields, including architects, historians, archeologists, art historians and anthropologists, interact with one another. In recent years, ICOMOS has been well known for its other role as an advisory body to UNESCO by evaluating all nominations of cultural and mixed heritage to the World Heritage List.
The General Assembly of ICOMOS had taken place every three years until 2014, when the Statutes of ICOMOS were amended at the General Assembly held in Florence, Italy. From 2015, the Annual General Assembly is to be organized every year together with the Advisory Committee Meeting. At this Annual General Assembly, the past activities of ICOMOS were reported to exchange opinions about how it could be a better organization, seeking measures for ICOMOS to work more appropriately as a group of specialists. In addition, a scientific symposium was also held under the theme of “RISKS TO IDENTITY: Loss of Traditions and Collective Memory,” where many useful cases were introduced to discuss the preservation and inheritance of tangible cultural properties, as well as their intangible values.
The Institute will continually participate in such international meetings to identify global trends on the protection of cultural properties.