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


Seminar Held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems – Unexpected Interaction between a Japanese-style Painter and Philosophers

Sketch of by Gaho HASHIMOTO (Source: “Collection of Gaho’s Rough Sketches” edited by Shuho HASHIMOTO)

 Gaho HASHIMOTO (1835-1908) is a renowned painter, who tries to innovate the modern Japanese-style painting together with Hogai KANO. Mr. Junichiro TANAKA (Ibara Municipal Denchu Art Museum) gave a presentation titled “Expressions in Figures by Gaho Hashimoto – Over the Possessed by Toyo University,” which has not been referred to so much among his works, at the research meeting held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems on June 27.
 The , where the four sages of Socrates, Buddha, Confucius and Kant are depicted on a hanging scroll, is now housed at Toyo University, but it is a very rare one among Gaho’s works. This scroll was painted at the request of Enryo INOUE (1858-1919), who is the founder of the University and a philosopher in the Meiji period. The four sages directly reflect Enryo’s perspective of philosophy, regarding them as the greatest philosophers of all ages and countries. This scroll has been used for the Philosophy Hall Ceremony organized at Philosophy Hall (Four Sages Hall) located in Nakano, Tokyo for many years. However, there are still unclear points about the scroll, including when it was painted and its background. We are curious about the sources on which Gaho was based to depict the unprecedented motif of Socrates and Kant in the authentic Japanese-style painting. Anyway, it is true that this is a unique work which implies unexpected interaction between a Japanese-style painter in the Meiji period and philosophers of the world.

/ SIOYA Jun)

Optical Study of the Ryukyu Paintings

On-going optical study of the Ryukyu paintings at Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum

 We conducted an optical study of the Ryukyu paintings at Okinawa Prefectural Museum & Art Museum on June 20-23, 2017. In order to investigate the depiction techniques and coloring materials, high-resolution color imaging and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry were applied for ten paintings held by the Okinawa Prefectural Museums and the Okinawa Churashima Foundation. Ryukyu-koku no zu, an important cultural property, held in Okinawa Prefectural Library was also investigated.
 Many of the Ryukyu paintings have disappeared due to the warfare of World War II, and sufficient research has not been performed. We have conducted optical studies of the Ryukyu paintings located inside and outside Okinawa Prefecture since 2008. Optical study of the Ryukyu paintings will continue to be conducted in the future and the results will be published. We believe that the study is of great help in deepening the understanding of the Ryukyu paintings.


Visit to Earthquake Remains Conserved in Taiwan

Damaged Guangfu Junior High School exhibited in the 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan
Projection mapping focused on the fault exposure in the Chelungpu Fault Preservation Park

 A fault exposed in a paddy field due to the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes attracted much attention, calling for the necessity of its preservation (as a result, it is designated as a natural monument by Mashiki Town today). As a good example of disclosing and utilizing such preserved fault exposure, the Nojima Fault Preservation Museum (where the fault exposed due to the Hyogoken-Nanbu Earthquake, which triggered the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, is preserved) established in 1998 is well-known in Japan. In 1999, the Jiji Earthquake occurred in Taiwan. We visited a museum constructed following the Nojima Fault Preservation Museum with further development near Taichung, the damage of which was specifically serious. The 921 Earthquake Museum of Taiwan works well as a disaster prevention museum, which shows earthquakes with a focus on the effectiveness of quake resistance and quake-freeness by conserving a damaged junior high school building with a shelter constructed as the exterior walls of the museum for disclosure. On the other hand, the Chelungpu Fault Preservation Park is a scientific museum, where an exposed fault section confirmed during the survey is directly exhibited inside the housing. The museum also shows the mechanism of an earthquake and the history of past quakes. Particularly, by means of project mapping focusing on the fault surface, they visually show the history of complicated strata in sequence, which is difficult to understand from the current plane of stratification. Application of such an approach is expected in various fields also in Japan, including explanations about remains at archeological sites besides the exhibition of the strata.


Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of the Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal” (Part 5)

Reporting the outcomes of the project conducted last year at the Department of Archaeology
Measurement survey for the buildings around Aganchen Temple in Hanumandhoka Palace

 Under the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we continually dispatched personnel to Nepal. This time (from May 29 through June 27), fourteen members visited there, including outside experts and additional assistants budgeted separately.
 In the Nepal, we mainly conducted an excavation survey around Shiva Temple in Hanumandhoka Palace in Kathmandu (reported in the following title), a measurement survey and photographic recording for buildings around Aganchen Temple in the Palace, a boring survey to confirm the ground composition and soil bearing capacity around the two temples, and a strength test of brick wall specimens together with technical officials from UNESCO.
 In addition, we reported the outcomes of the surveys conducted last year to about 20 technical staff members from the Department of Archaeology in Nepal and UNESCO Office in Kathmandu, and presented our project report to the Director General of the Department. We also organized a cooperation conference with administrative officials with jurisdiction over heritage settlements in the Kathmandu Valley so as to discuss the preservation of such historic settlements in the future and the operation of the conference while distributing reports of the Kick-off meeting held last November to the persons concerned. For your reference, the above reports (Japanese and English versions) are uploaded to our website. Please access the URLs below.

(Project Report for FY 2016:
http://www.tobunken.go.jp/japanese/publication/pdf/Nepal_TNRICP_2017_j.pdf
(Proceedings of Conference on the Preservation of Historic Settlements in Kathmandu Valley on 30th November 2016 [English version only]:
http://www.tobunken.go.jp/japanese/publication/pdf/Conference_%20Kathmandu_2016.pdf


Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of the Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal” (Part 6)

Unearthed lower podium
Exchanging opinions on how to record unearthed remains

 As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we conducted an excavation survey around Shiva Temple in Hanumandhoka Palace in Kathmandu from June 2 through 22, 2017. This survey was jointly implemented by the Department of Archaeology in Nepal and the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties.
 Shiva Temple, which is said to have been constructed in the 17th century, is an about 5 meters square multi-storied tower. However, due to the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake in Nepal, its upper structure completely collapsed with the brick-stacked podium remaining. This survey mainly aimed to confirm the composition and the condition of the podium foundation to support the weight of the upper structure before its restoration.
 As a result of the survey, we found that the podium foundation was a large brick-stacked structure approximately 180 cm deep from the current surface, which maintained a stable condition. In addition, we also discovered the lower podium buried in the surrounding ground. Thus, there is a possibility that this Shiva Temple may have undergone more complicated processes than originally expected.
 During the excavation survey, Nepalese and Japanese experts also exchanged opinions on the methods of measurement and photographing the remains. We are thinking of sharing more technical information between the two countries while continuing the academic research toward the complete restoration of the collapsed historic structure.


Field survey for the “Training course on the first-aid of mural paintings” (the Republic of Turkey)

Current state at St. Theodore Church
Presentation of case examples at Gazi University

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted a field survey from June 12 to 24, 2017. During this survey visit, we also held meetings with Turkish parties concerned in preparation for the “Training course on the first-aid of mural paintings” to be held in the Republic of Turkey in the fall of 2017 or later. The main purposes of this past survey visit were to further improve our understandings of the current state of mural conservation in Turkey and also to determine the sites suitable for the hands-on session that will be a part of the training course. The mural paintings at about 15 locations, including churches in Trabzon on the Black Sea coast and cave churches scattered around the Göreme district in Cappadocia, were surveyed and valuable information was acquired to enrich contents of the training course.
 During our visit to the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties, Faculty of Fine Arts, Gazi University, and the Regional Laboratory for Conservation and Restoration in Nevşehir that have provided continuous cooperation in advancing the project forward since last fiscal year, presentations on case examples of the conservation and restoration of murals in Turkey were given and we had meaningful opportunities to exchange views regarding the topics of the program with lecturers who will engaged in the training course.
 The first training course is scheduled to be held in October for Turkish specialists who are engaged in conservation of the cultural properties. We will proceed with the preparation of the training course so that it will become a good opportunity to consider and realize further improvement of protecting cultural properties from a new perspective.


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