|■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
Two visitors from the National Museum of Korea, the Republic of Korea
On November 5, they visited the Institute to take a close look at our equipment to be used as a reference against new equipment they planned to purchase. The visitors toured the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques, where leading researchers explained their work.
Lecture by Deputy Director of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques
21 visitors from the Japan Air Cleaning Association
On November 16, the members of the Association visited the Institute to extend their knowledge about cultural properties in general and learn conservation science and restoration techniques closely related to air quality environment. After attending the lecture by Deputy Director Chie Sano of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques, they toured the Library of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, and the Performing Arts Studio of the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Leading researchers in each department explained their work
Four students from the Korean National University of Cultural Heritage
On November 17, the students visited the Institute to obtain information on folding screen painting techniques from our experts in the restoration of Japanese paintings for their reference in the investigation of the conditions of Japanese folding screens at the University, as well as in determination of their restoration approaches. They toured the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, where leading researchers explained their work.
JAL Project: Overseas Invitees Visiting the Institute
The JAL Project (Chairman of the Executive Committee: Mr. Sachio Kamogawa Director of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo) was started in 2014 to invite overseas experts handling Japanese art materials (such as librarians and archivists) to Japan for a review on how Japanese art materials and related information should be provided. Director Emiko Yamanashi and Researcher Hideki Kikkawa of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems of the Institute were commissioned as members of that committee. Kikkawa visited Germany and Chez Republic to interview the invitees in advance, and was involved in training guidance and study tours of the related institutions in Japan.
On October 3 and 5, he interviewed Ms. Cordula Treimer of the Library of the Museum of Asian Art of the Berlin State Museums, and Mr. Jana Ryndova of the National Gallery in Prague jointly with Mr. Takeshi Mizutani of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, as well as toured the locations to understand how Japanese art information was handled and released.
Nine overseas experts in handling materials visited Japan from November 16 through 23 to tour the related institutions located in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara and Fukuoka. They came to this Institute on November 18 to have discussions with our researchers after the introduction of our book materials, photos of researched works, files of modern and contemporary artists, and sales catalogs, as well as relevant projects, at the library. In response to the request from the invitees in 2014, we also organized an “Exchange Meeting with Overseas Experts in Japanese Art Related Materials” for 2015 to offer them an opportunity to interact with persons working for related institutions in Japan. Twenty-eight participants actively exchanged professional opinions in an amicable atmosphere.
On November 27, the last day of the training program, an open workshop was held at the auditorium of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. Like 2014, the invitees made proposals on the transmission of Japanese art information, which provided us with a good opportunity to reconsider how we should globally transmit information on cultural properties.
“Remarks of Old Paintings” Vol. 26, Portrait of Okamoto Zen’etsu (Source: Library of Tokyo University of the Arts)
On Tuesday, November 24, the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems invited Ms. Hiroko Kato (Research Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) to give a presentation on her research under the title of “Updating of the Visual Arts and Iconography Led by Tokugawa Yoshimune – With a Focus on the Roles of Okamoto Zen’etsu Toyohisa.”
Tokugawa Yoshimune, the eighth shogun of the Edo Shogunate (1684-1751), is well known as an innovative yet reactionary politician. Also in the field of art, he encouraged the reproduction of Chinese masterpieces painted in the Song, Yuan and Ming Dynasties, while allowing the import of Dutch oil paintings. He also ordered the reproduction of old paintings possessed by feudal lords and the sketching of rare animals from abroad. One of the leading painters who reproduced such old paintings and made such sketches is Okamoto Zen’etsu Toyohisa (1689-1767), who served Yoshimune as a painter in the Doubou rank. Ms. Kato introduced the fact that approximately 270 painting examples called Funpon, which had been formerly owned by the Hikone Family as a descendant of Zen’etsu, were included in the “Pictorial Materials of the Itaya Family” possessed by the Tokyo National Museum. Based on the existence of these materials, Ms. Kato pointed out the possibility that Zen’etsu might have played an important role in leading visual arts and iconography by communicating the intention of Yoshimune to the Kano and Sumiyoshi Families known as long lines of great painters. These issues clarify Yosimune’s perspectives on paintings, suggesting that Yoshimune’s views affected the style of the Kano school later by way of Zen’etsu through the accumulated example paintings. After the presentation, there was an animated discussion over the roles of Zen’etsu and his relation with Narushima Douchiku as one of the close advisors to Yoshimune like Zen’etsu. We expect further discovery of works created by Zen’etsu, who actually produced a few paintings only.
The Shochuhi memorial is being restored at Bronze Studio in Tokyo (on November 7, 2015)
A bronze black kite spreading its wings is placed on its back. Referring to the pre-earthquake photos pinned on the board behind, the broken pieces are put back together one by one.
As repeatedly reported through this activity report, the Committee for Salvaging Cultural Properties Affected by the 2011 Earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku and Related Disasters having its secretariat in this Institute have provided rescue activities for numerous cultural properties damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. The Shochuhi memorial standing on the site of the inner citadel of Sendai Castle (Aoba Castle) is one of them. The monument was built to console the souls of war victims affiliated with the Second Division in Sendai in 1902. Due to the earthquake, a bronze black kite installed on the stone tower about 15 m in height fell to the ground. Its broken pieces were collected and the main body has been relocated as part of the Cultural Properties Rescue Operations by the Committee. Since the completion of the Operations in 2014, the Monument has been restored as the Disaster-Affected Museum Reconstruction Project in Miyagi Prefecture. In this fiscal year, the broken black kite pieces have been transferred to Bronze Studio located in Hakonegasaki, Tokyo, and joining operations are now under way. Here, I would like to report on the restoration process of the black kite based on my visit to the Studio on November 7, 2015.
The broken black kite was delivered to Tokyo twice on June 3 and July 10. First, as a step prior to the joining process, the concrete and lead inside the largest part of the broken black kite (approx. 5.1 t) was removed. The black kite was filled with these materials to fix the rail inserted as an iron core connecting the black kite and the stone tower, as well as to balance it in weight. After the three months it took to remove them, the process to join the broken bronze pieces started on a full scale. Based on the images taken during the research before the earthquake, the pieces are being put together in such a way as to return them to their original form. Since the head and wing tips of the black kite are crushed, small pieces are being assembled like a jigsaw puzzle.
The construction of the Shochuhi memorial , on which a huge black kite weighing over 5 tons was installed on a tower 15 m in height, was really a feat of strength. According to Mr. Yuji Takahashi of Bronze Studio, the on-going restoration process has revealed the painstaking craftsmanship dedicated at that time, such as fine parts that are now produced with machines were manually processed one by one. The restoration process made us recall the time-consuming endeavors undertaken by the people involved in the construction of the Monument during the Meiji period. These piecing operations will proceed on to the next fiscal year. After the completion of all processes, the black kite will go back to Sendai. On the other hand, however, the stone tower has deteriorated due to the infiltration of rainwater. Although five years have passed since the earthquake, many challenges still remain over the conservation and restoration of the Monument. Long-term initiatives are required.
Self-portrait of Hata Shokichi. Taken in 1910
He pointed the camera lens at the mirror to shoot himself pressing the shutter. His writing on the negative tells that it was taken in Hotel Soufflot in Paris that was a favorite place to stay for Japanese intellectuals and artists.
Hata Shokichi (1882-1966), a sculptor, was a professor at the Tokyo School of Fine Arts (present Tokyo University of the Arts) and Tokyo Higher School of Arts & Technology (present Chiba University), and created commemorative medals and reliefs as a non-regular employee of the Japan Mint and Decoration Bureaus. He went to France as an overseas business trainee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce between 1907 and 1910 and became the first Japanese sculptor admitted to the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts (National School of Fine Arts) where he studied sculpture. Twelve negatives during his stay in France have been kept by his bereaved family and Mr. Fumio Hata, a grandchild of Shokichi, donated them to this Institute. The photo negatives include those of his self-portrait, him with Yasui Sotaro, Fujikawa Yuzo and other Japanese artists who were in Paris at that time. We may say that the negatives are highly precious materials that help us look at his association with other Japanese in a foreign country. We will convert these negatives into digital photos and make them available on the web.
At the Kumagaya Traditional Industry Passing Down Room (Kumapia)
On November 11 and 12, 2015, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held Seminar II on Passing Down Intangible Cultural Heritage (Traditional Techniques) “Passing Down Dyeing and Weaving Techniques and Regional Involvement” jointly with Kumagaya City. In connection with the previous seminar “The People and Tools that Sustain Textile Techniques” (held on February 3, 2015), we invited experts concerned from Kumagaya City in Saitama Prefecture and Kyoto City of Kyoto Prefecture, both of which give proactive support to the conservation and utilization of “tools” essential to dyeing and weaving techniques, for this seminar. We exchanged opinions on how administration could be involved in the conservation and utilization of “tools” as elements indispensable for dyeing and weaving techniques.
On the first day, after the report on “Protection and Utilization of Tools” from a perspective of cultural heritage by Mr. Shunsuke Nakayama, Head of the Modern Cultural Properties Section of the Center for Conservation Science and Restoration Techniques of this Institute, Mr. Norihiro Oi of Kumagaya City Library gave a speech on “Protection of Kumagaya Dyeing Related Tools and Administrative Involvement,” and Ms. Naoko Kotani of the Traditional Industries Section, City of Kyoto talked about “Projects Supporting Dyeing and Weaving Techniques in Kyoto City.” At the comprehensive discussion following these presentations, opinions were exchanged vigorously over what administration could do, the importance of collaboration among people in different positions, and so forth. The audience also mentioned that it would be necessary to consider the collaboration with other “regions” with a focus on the “region” in which the technique to be passed down was rooted.
On the second day, after the lecture of “Small History of Modernization of Dyeing and Weaving in Saitama Prefecture – With a focus on Kumagaya Dyeing –“ by Ms. Kayoko Mizukami of Toyama Memorial Museum, we toured the Kumagaya Traditional Industry Passing Down Room (inside the Kumagaya city sport cultural village “Kumapia”). The long board rotary, water washer, and steaming box have been relocated with aid from the Pola Foundation for the Promotion of Traditional Japanese Culture.
This seminar, where discussions were developed based on concrete cases on dyeing and weaving techniques and the tools supporting them, provided a good opportunity for us to recognize the importance of conserving tools anew for smooth and secure passing down of traditional dyeing and weaving techniques.
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage will continually provide opportunities to discuss various issues surrounding traditional techniques.
Research Using Image Plate Developing Equipment
On November 10 through 12 following the first survey in August, we conducted an investigation into a pair of six-fold screens of “Birds and Flowers of the Four Seasons” (an important cultural property) at the Suntory Museum of Art. To investigate the production techniques and materials of the folding screens, we conducted research using an optical survey, fluorescent X-ray analysis, visible spectroscopy, X-ray radiography and other approaches.
As for X-ray radiography, we obtained X-ray transmission images with imaging plates. For this research, we brought the developing equipment, which is dedicated to imaging plates and were introduced to our institute in November, to the Suntory Museum of Art. Accordingly, at the site, we proceeded with the research by confirming the X-ray transmission images each time they were obtained. These images gave us a variety of information such as types and thicknesses of the coloring materials and production techniques.
We will summarize these research outcomes to publish a research report within FY 2015.
Inviting experts involved in the preservation and restoration of archeological and architectural heritage from five countries in Southeast Asia, the above seminar was held at our seminar room on November 13. After the experts presented their diverse technical challenges over the preservation of historical monuments or sites s in their countries, we exchanged opinions on the possibilities of new collaboration. Indonesia and Thailand, which have many practical cases on the maintenance of monuments and sites , and Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar, which have been introducing new technologies particularly in recent years, presented their concrete cases. This was a good opportunity for us to get a wide overview of the current state of protecting cultural properties in historical sites and monuments, museums, and so forth.
We invited Mr. Hubertus Sadirin (Advisory Expert Board on Cultural Property for the Governor of Local Government of DKI ) from Indonesia, Mr. Vasu Poshyanandana (Senior Architect of the Office of Architecture, Fine Arts Department, Ministry of Culture and Secretary-General of ICOMOS Thailand) from Thailand, Mr. An Sopheap (Head of Office of Archeology, Department of Conservation of Monuments inside Angkor Park and Archaeology Preventive, APSARA National Authority) from Cambodia, Ms. Le Thi Lien (Senior Researcher of the Institute of Archaeology of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences) from Vietnam, and Mr. Thein Lwin (Deputy Director General of Department of Archaeology and National Museum, Ministry of Culture) from Myanmar.
At the comprehensive discussion, active dialogue was undertaken over how to preserve unearthed remnants of ancient buildings, consistency between new and old materials used for restoration, quake-resistant measures for structures, balance between tangible and intangible values in conservation, issues on management systems and HR, etc. These tropical or semitropical countries have many similarities not only in their climatic environments, but also in challenges on factors of and countermeasures to material deterioration. This meeting worked as a good opportunity for them to reconfirm the continual information sharing and cooperation toward the further collaboration within and outside the region. Communicating with these countries closely, we would like to clarify their support needs and consider more effective approaches for cooperation.
Demonstration of lining with Japanese paper at practical session
From November 4 to 20, 2015, the International 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 course was jointly organized by NRICPT, ICCROM, and Mexico’s Coordinación Nacional de Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (CNCPC-INAH). It was held at CNCPC-INAH and this year was the fourth time.
There were 9 participants who are experts of conservation for cultural properties and hailed from 8 countries of Portugal, Belize, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela. The first half of the course was conducted by NRICPT. It was aimed to apply the paper conservation techniques of Japan to cultural properties overseas. Providing the lectures on the protection on cultural properties in Japan as well as the materials such as Japanese paper and adhesive, basic knowledge of the traditional mounting and restoration techniques, the practical session was implemented. The practical session was supported by the staff member of CNCPC-INAH, who had learned the traditional mounting and restoration techniques at NPICPT for several months as part of the program. Following the demonstration by the Japanese instructor, the participants experienced the basic of the traditional mounting and restoration techniques, such as cooking paste, cleaning, infill, lining and drying with karibari. In the last half of the course, the experts of conservation of cultural properties in Mexico, Spain and Argentina conducted lectures on the application of Japanese paper to the conservation in the west and so forth. Through such technical exchange, the plans are to conduct similar training sessions in the future as well in order to deepen understanding of the conservation techniques of Japan and contribute to protection of the cultural properties overseas.
FAO Used as the Venue
Representative from the Institute attended the 29th General Assembly of ICCROM (International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property) held in Rome, Italy from November 18 through 20, 2015. ICCROM is an intergovernmental organization, the headquarters of which was established in Rome in 1959 following the resolution at the 9th Session of the UNESCO General Conference in 1956. Known as an advisory body to the World Heritage Committee, ICCROM has been working on the conservation of various movable or immovable cultural properties. Our Institute has been contributing to its activities particularly through training on the preservation and restoration of cultural properties using paper and Japanese lacquer.
The General Assembly of ICCROM takes place every two years. As usual, new members of the Council were elected since almost half of its members’ term of office had expired. As a result, Mr. Wataru Kawanobe of our Institute was reelected as its member. New Council members were elected from Ireland, Argentina, Iran, the Netherlands, Canada, Korea, Tunisia, Norway and Jordan, while the members of UAE and France were reelected.
From this General Assembly in 2015, a thematic discussion was held and disaster measures and reconstruction cases were introduced from the member states under the theme of “Climate Change and Natural Disasters: Culture cannot wait!” During the course, the adoption of the “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” and “Sendai Declaration” at the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai in March of 2015 was also addressed with a focus. We really felt the great expectations of the member states toward Japan in these areas.
The Institute will proactively join these international meetings in order to collect global trends on the protection of cultural properties, as well as to transmit Japanese activities widely.