|■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
On February 9th, 2016, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo concluded an agreement with the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, USA concerning promotion of the collaborative investigation in Japanese art. The Getty Research Institute was founded with the inheritance of entrepreneur Paul Getty in 1984 and has been engaged in the research and international exchange in the field of art, especially fine art. The Agreement, lasting five years, concerns exchanging researchers of Japanese art between both institutes, translating/publishing literature on art history written in Japanese/English, and making the digital information on Japanese art available on the Getty Research Portal.
At the signing ceremony, Dr. Thomas GAEHTGENS, Director of the Getty Research Institute addressed that the Getty Research Institute recognizes this as an important agreement and hopes that projects beneficial for both Institutes will be developed. In response, KAMEI Nobuo, Director General of the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo spoke that exchanging information on art materials held in Japan and overseas evaluation of Japanese art is quite significant in view of transmission of Japanese culture. We hope this to be further developed in the future. After the signing ceremony, a staff-level meeting was held by the personnel who were in charge of this project in each Institute.
Based on the agreement concluded this time, the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo will promote its efforts in study exchange between both Institutes, translation of Japanese art research literature that can contribute to study of the Japanese art history in English-speaking countries, and international standardization of research information that is now available on the web.
On February 23rd 2016 (Tue), a research presentation was made by Tomoko EMURA (Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation) at the study meeting of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, which was titled “Korin’s works with the “Dosu” seal―Ogata Korin’s stay in Edo and a Change in His Painting Style.”
It has been said that the seals Ogata Korin (1658-1716) used on his paintings changed with his age. The seal used on the folding screen of “Irises” (Nezu Museum), which is one of his masterpieces of his early period, is the “Iryo” seal, while he used the “Hoshuku” seal on his later masterpiece “Red and White Plum Blossoms” screen (MOA Museum of Art). The “Dosu” seal was used during the period between the years when the “Iryo” seal was used and the years when the “Hoshuku” seal was used. During this period, Korin stayed in Edo a few times and it is believed that his painting style has changed during this period. There are other works of his with the “Dosu” seal, including the “Flowers and Grasses of the Four Seasons” handscroll painted in 1705 (Private Collection) with ink seal on the frame, the “Rough Waves” screen (the Metropolitan Museum of Art), and the “Azalea” hanging scroll (Hatakeyama Memorial Museum of Fine Art). This time, especially focusing on the “A Budding Plum Tree” (Freer Gallery of Art), which is a six-panel screen that have been less known, the presenter has indicated that elements implying the change towards his later masterpiece “Red and White Plum Blossoms” screen are observed in it. The “A Budding Plum Tree” screen has many damages and bears traces of a lot of trial and error in his touch. Korin is believed to have learnt the black-and-white ink painting style during his stay in Edo and this experience could have affected the change in his painting style. The presentation was followed by a active discussion, where opinions were exchanged on possible relations with change of seals, shapes of his screens, and black-and-white ink painting style. A more detailed study on the “A Budding Plum Tree” screen is awaited.
The “A Budding Plum Tree” screen (Freer Gallery of Art) can be seen on the following website:
Tanaka delivering a lecture at Third Thursday Lecture hosted by the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures
The Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) located in Norwich, a suburb of London, UK launched the “Shaping the Fundamentals of Research on Japanese Arts” project in July 2013 jointly with the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. Under this project, in Europe and the United States, exhibitions of Japanese art have been held and English-written information about Japanese art in the form of books and literatures have been collected. (Information on these literatures can be retrieved at the “References on Cultural Properties” of the “TOBUNKEN Research Collections” website of the Institute: http://www.tobunken.go.jp/archives/).
With the objective of confirming the progress of this project during this fiscal year and its continuation for the next fiscal year and beyond, Atsushi TANAKA, Deputy Director General, and Tetsuei TSUDA, Head of the Archives Section of Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, visited the SISJAC from 16th to 21st February and had discussions with Mami MIZUTORI, Executive Director of SISJAC, and the data input staff.
Also, on 18th (Thursday) during the stay, at Third Thursday Lecture that is held by SISJAC on the third Thursday of each month, Tanaka gave a lecture titled “The Portrait, Painted in 1916,” talking on the portrait of Ryusei KISHIDA. The lecture was held in the wooden lecture room that was newly built attached to the medieval cathedral, adjacent to which SISJAC is located. There was an audience of nearly one hundred and the seats were fully occupied. The audience listened to the lecture with enthusiasm, showing a great deal of interest in the modern Japanese art.
Having a discussion while watching the recorded video
On February 22nd, 2016, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held a study meeting titled “Production of Recorded Videos for Intangible Cultural Properties,” where Takeshi ABE (Tohoku Institute of Filmed Cultural Properties) was invited as a guest speaker. He has been engaged in production of recorded videos for intangible cultural properties of Iwate Prefecture in Tohoku District. The meeting was held as one of the efforts of the “preparation of dynamic records for cultural properties protection” project that was governed by the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo as a part of the promotion program of the National Taskforce for the Japanese Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Mitigation Network under the National Institutes for Cultural Heritage.
In this meeting, the current state of folk performing art in the disaster-affected areas was reported based on the activities of Mr. Abe in Iwate Prefecture after the Great East Japan Earthquake and a discussion was held on how to utilize the recorded video for disaster prevention and mitigation.
Today, due to the development of digital equipment, ordinary people who are not professional photographer can easily take moving pictures and a possibility to accept those pictures as a part of the records in a flexible manner was also discussed.
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage held the Sub-conference on Video Recording of Intangible Fork Cultural Properties over the years from 2003 to 2007. Based on what was discussed there, the Conference on the Study of Intangible Fork Culture Properties was heled and relevant reports such as “Guidance on the production of recorded videos for intangible fork cultural properties” have been published. Based on the discussions held so far, it is considered necessary to address new challenges that have arisen and also to include intangible traditional techniques in local areas into our continuing discussion in the future meetings on production of recorded videos.
Viewing of a video on research results
Under the project of “Study on the storage environment for cultural properties,” as one of the major topics, a research has been conducted regarding purification of air inside the display case with high concentration of pollutant gases, which might cause damages on the cultural properties. Conference on Conditions for Conservation of Cultural Properties was held on February 15th, 2016, under the subtitle of the “Evaluation of the Concentration Measurement and Air Cleaning Technology Using a Full-Size Display Case for Experimental Use.”
In this conference, based on the tentative plan for the outgas test method that was made for appropriate selection of interior materials and the results of data collection/analysis of outgas of the interior finishing materials, reports were presented on measurement of outgas concentration, visualization of airflow, the test for air cleaning function inside the full-size display case, as well as actual examples to address pollutant gases at museums.
The problem of generation and retention of gas inside the airtight case is being widely recognized and a total of 135 participants, including curators, attended the meeting from various parts of the country. At the Q&A session, many questions were raised concerning countermeasures, etc. that should be required for actual display cases. Although this issue will not be included in the next mid-to-long term project, we are planning to produce and publish a “pollutant gas management manual” within the next fiscal year for use of museums.
Scene from the seminar
At the conservation site of Rinno-ji Temple in Nikko
A seminar titled ‘Seminar on the Cultural Heritage Damaged by the 2015 Nepal (Gorkha )Earthquake’ was held on 5 February 2016 at the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo, to encourage information sharing between Nepal and Japan regarding the Gorkha Earthquake on 25 April 2015—the state of cultural heritage, activities performed to date, and future initiatives.
This seminar was held as a part of the “Project for investigation of damage situation of cultural heritage in Nepal” in the frame of the Project for International Contribution to Cultural Heritage Protection (Expert exchange), which was entrusted to the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Three guests were invited to the seminar: As representatives of the cultural heritage protection agencies of Nepal, the Director General of the DoA-Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (Bhesh Narayan Dahal); the Executive Director of HDMDC (Saraswati Singh) and the Culture Project Coordinator of the UNESCO-Kathmandu Office (Nabha Basnyat Thapa) were invited to attend. The seminar included presentations on post-earthquake conditions and recovery efforts by the Nepalese representatives and individual survey results by the Japanese project participants. While on-site conditions were still difficult, it was possible to exchange information and points of view through discussions regarding cultural heritage preservation measures.
On the following day, seminar participants visited the repaired Sanbutsudo Hall of Rin’oji Temple and Yomeimon Gate in Nikko to provide the Nepalese representatives with a deeper understanding of historic building conservation techniques in Japan. They showed special interest in the conservation and repair of wooden members attacked by insects—a common issue in Nepal’s cultural heritage. Through explanations provided by experts in charge of the repair work and other participating Japanese experts, seminar participants were able to discuss, question and exchange opinions.
We would like to further provide appropriate technical assistance through conducting continual survey in order to contribute to activities for rehabilitation of earthquake-damaged cultural heritages in Nepal.
A Survey at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
A number of 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. For three days from February 8th to 10th, 2016, EMURA Tomoko and ODA Momoko of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation visited and surveyed Japanese paintings in the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Ms. YAMAMOTO Noriko, Executive Director of the Association for Conservation of National Treasures, participated in this survey. The Indianapolis Museum of Art, established in 1883, is one of the largest museums in the United States and has over 54000 artworks from all over the world. Together with the curator of Asian Art, Dr. John Tadao Teramoto, and the senior conservator of paper, Ms. Claire L. Hoevel, we conducted our survey of 7 works of Japanese painting (11 objects total) that have some condition problems. The information gleaned from this survey will be shared with the staff of the museum so that these works can be conserved and managed. The artworks will be assessed in terms of art history, and based on the results of the survey, works in need of urgent conservation will be identified and candidates will be selected for conservation under the cooperative program.