|■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
Briefing at the Biological Science Section
Four members from the Council for the Protection of Cultural Properties in Sakegawa Village, Yamagata Prefecture
Due to rapidly aging cultural property administrators, it is becoming increasingly difficult to conserve and manage cultural assets year after year in Sakegawa Village. They came to the Institute on September 13th to find solutions to be reflected in their cultural property protection program. The members visited the Biological Science Section and others to receive briefings from the staff in charge.
Brief overview at the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation
Six Members including Vice-Chancellor from the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute in India
They visited the Institute to attend the “Seminar on Indian Cultural Heritage” on September 26th.
After a brief overview provided by the staff from the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, the members toured the Performing Arts Studio and other sections.
Briefing at the Performing Arts Studio
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Tajikistan in Japan, Dr. Hamrokhon ZARIFI, Second Secretary, Mr. Azizu Nazarof, and Interpreter, Mr. Kireer
They paid a courtesy call on the Institute. The members also toured the Biological Science Section, the Library, and the Performing Arts Studio to receive briefings from the staff in charge.
Inside the Library of L'Institut national d'histoire de l'art
The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been making efforts to collect, organize and publish art materials accumulated since its foundation in 1930 as The Institute of Art Research, following the art archive models in Europe. After more than 80 years, the way in which European art is archived has progressed. The presentation titled “Introduction of Modern Art Materials, Museums, Libraries, Archives and Internet Resources in France and Their Utilization Cases” provided on September 5th by Mr. Tatsuya SAITO (visiting researcher) of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems was a good opportunity for us to understand the current situation in France.
Mr. Saito, who now researches French modern art for his doctorate at Paris-Sorbonne University in Paris, daily accesses archives in France. From the viewpoint of their user, he mainly introduced the cases in public institutions, such as the Bibliothèque nationale de France, L’Institut national d’histoire de l’art, the Musee de l’Histoire de France Archives Nationales, and the Musée d’Orsay. Compared with Japan, the digital archives operated by each institution are excellent in quality and quantity in general. Particularly manuscript materials, including letters written by artists, are digitalized well. The staff of this Institute, where lots of similar materials are housed, were extremely inspired. On the other hand, as not all materials are digitalized, it is also necessary to refer to original materials. We nodded in agreement at his comment as researchers.
At the seminar, Mr. Masaya KOIZUMI from Hitotsubashi University gave comments as a commentator while Ms. Masako KAWAGUCHI and Ms. Megumi JINGAOKA from the National Museum of Western Art and Mr. Rei KOZAKAI from the Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art joined the seminar. Although the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems daily focuses on Japanese art, the staff proactively exchanged opinions with researchers in Western art about what art archives should be like.
Research by Dr. Pierre Terjanian
Presentation at the Seminar of the Department
The cruciform sword possessed by Fujisaka Shrine in Minakuchi, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture is a slender Western-style sword, which is said to have been owned by feudal lord Yoshiaki KATO (1563-1631) who served Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, the founder of the Kato family ruling the Minakuchi Domain in the Tokugawa Shogunate. This sword of excellent workmanship is formed completely differently from those used in Japan or in Asia. A survey conducted by domestic specialists in 2016 revealed that this was a rapier produced in Europe between the 16th and early 17th century and that this is the only Western-style sword handed down to the present time in Japan (reported in TOBUNKEN NEWS No. 65). However, the research conducted at that time did not address some essential problems, such as whether this sword was made in Japan or brought to Japan from Europe, and around which year it was manufactured.
To resolve these problems, we invited Dr. Pierre Terjanian, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Curator in Charge, Department of Arms and Armor, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which boasts the world’s leading rapier collection. After conducting research in Minakuchi, Dr. Terjanian presented his considerations on this Western sword under the title “European Renaissance Rapiers and the Minakuchi Rapier” at the 7th seminar held by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems.
According to his consideration, the copper hilt was obviously made in Japan, and the sword blade was probably made in Japan or in Asia, not in Europe. The original European rapier, on which the Minakuchi rapier was modeled, would have been manufactured between 1600 and 1630, but closer to 1630. Moreover, this sword displays less practicability.
His view unveils a new fact utterly unknown so far that Japanese people scrutinized a Western sword from Europe and even manufactured a reproduction of it in the early 17th century in Japan. On the other hand, another fact was also found: that a unique technique was used to connect the hilt to the blade with an advanced screw structure, which has not been confirmed in European rapiers. You can understand that such a unique feature resulted from much effort and ingenious attempts by Japanese artisans of the day who worked hard to accurately reproduce an unfamiliar Western sword with the knowledge and techniques they had.
Thus, the research of a Western-style sword handed down in Minakuchi reveals various facts about the metalwork techniques of the early 17th century and about the acceptance of foreign culture. We will proceed with further research and study, including the issue of where and how this sword was manufactured and by whom. We are planning to disclose the actual situation of this sword and its historical backdrops.
The 28th EAJRS Conference: Session at Professorboligen, the University of Oslo
The 28th EAJRS Conference: Resource Provider Workshop
The 28th European Association of Japanese Resource Specialists (EAJRS) Conference was held at the University of Oslo, Norway from September 13th through 16th. From the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems of this Institute, Mr. Kikkawa attended the conference. EAJRS is an organization composed of librarians, professors, and museum and gallery curators who handle Japanese study materials in Europe. The 2017 conference was titled “Digital Strategies for Japanese Studies: Theories and Practices,” attracting more than 90 participants. At this conference consisting of 14 sessions, 30 presentations were made, regarding studies on the collections of Japanese materials overseas by the Chester Beatty Library, the C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University, and so forth; digital archive programs by the National Institute of Japanese Literature, the National Museum of Japanese History, the International Research Center for Japanese Studies, the Japan Center for Asian Historical Records, and the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation; the expertise on references using internet tools by the National Diet Library; and initiatives by the EAJRS Conservation/Preservation Working Group.
At the conference, we conducted a resource provider workshop and set up a booth to introduce our research programs and archives. We exhibited our publications and digital archives with explanations. Through talks during the period, overseas experts gave us concrete advice on how information should be disseminated through the institutional repository, as well as evaluation of our publications. This was really a good opportunity for us. You can access the EAJRS site (http://eajrs.net/) to watch this conference. The 2018 conference is scheduled to be held at Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania.
Fig.1 An interview on site
Fig.2 The freeze-drying equipment for tsunami-damaged documents
Natural disasters, such as earthquakes and typhoons, are causing serious damage to cultural property. The National Institute for Cultural Heritage has conducted interviews with museums and prefectural offices regarding the risk management of cultural property all over Japan in order to build networks providing for disasters, because it is necessary to protect our cultural heritage and pass it on to future generations. We are in charge of Hokkaido and Tohoku areas, and conducted an interview with Tohoku University of Art and Design on September 15.
In the university, documents that were damaged by the Great East Japan Earthquake have been subjected to a freeze-drying process in order to dry them. We obtained information giving a detailed description of the time of the disaster in 2011. In addition, we learned about some problems and tasks on site.
Through these interviews, we found that there were many types of risk management for cultural property in each region. We will continue to conduct interviews, and aim to build Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Mitigation Networks that help people and protect our cultural property when problems arise.
The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties organized a workshop for the conservation of historic textiles titled “Textile Art and Conservation: Knotting the Past and the Present” jointly with the Ministry of Culture in the Republic of Armenia from September 11th through 20th, 2017. This workshop was implemented based on the agreement on cooperation in the cultural heritage protection area concluded between them in 2014.
In the Republic of Armenia, numerous organic substances such as fibers have been unearthed from archaeological sites. However, they do not have sufficient knowhow to preserve such artifacts. In addition, several religiously and historically valuable items, including ritual clothing and accessories, handed down since ancient times are stored in the Mother See of Holy Echmiadzin, which is registered as a world cultural heritage site. Among them, however, some are seriously damaged, so it is necessary to restore them in the proper manner for smooth transfer of precious cultural heritage to the succeeding generations.
For this workshop, Dr. Mie ISHII, a visiting researcher from the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, and Ms. Midori YOKOYAMA from the NHK Culture Center Saitama were invited as lecturers. The first half of the workshop was conducted at the Scientific Research Center for Historical and Cultural Heritage while the second half took place at the Museum of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin. Thirteen trainees from seven institutions handling cultural heritage such as museums attended the seminar. This first workshop was designed to learn basic knowledge and techniques on textiles. We will continue this cooperative relationship to enable them ultimately to preserve and restore their cultural heritage by themselves.
Photo taken after the seminar together with Dr. Shinde
On September 26th, the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Japanese Centre for South Asian Cultural Heritage held a seminar titled the “Protection of Cultural Heritage and the Latest Research on the Indus Civilization in India” inviting Vice-Chancellor of the Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute in India, Dr. Vasant Shinde.
Dr. Shinde is an archaeologist representing India, who has conducted many excavations in India. At present, he is working on the Archaeological Ruins at Rakhigarhi, which were the largest city ruins in the ancient Indus Valley civilization overwhelming Moenjodaro.
For this seminar, Dr. Shinde made presentations on the “Current Situation on the Protection of Cultural Heritage in India” and “The Latest Outcomes from the Excavation of the Archaeological Ruins at Rakhigarhi.”
Before the presentations, he toured the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. Deccan College is a post-graduate and research institute specialized in cultural heritage. In 2018, it will establish new departments of “Conservation and Restoration” and “Heritage Management.” For that reason, Dr. Shinde listened intently to the briefing provided by Mr. Kuchitsu, the Head of the Restoration Planning Section of the Center for Conservation Science.
Investigation to check the wall surface finishing condition in Hanumandhoka Palace, Kathmandu
Ongoing workshop for the conservation of historic settlements held in Kirtipur
As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have continually dispatched an expert to Nepal. From September 6th through 14th, Mr. Yamada, associate fellow of this Institute, conducted an on-site survey.
This time, he mainly surveyed the finishing specifications of the internal walls for the buildings around Aganchen Temple in Hanumandhoka Palace, Kathmandu, the restoration of which is planned under the guidance of Japanese specialized technicians, while taking photos to provide an official record. The wall surfaces of the buildings have been repeatedly painted since their construction, changing the paint materials. Therefore, the finishing layers damaged by the earthquake were carefully peeled off one by one with a working knife to investigate the history of the internal wall specifications in each room. Toward the future restoration, it is necessary to examine whether the former painted surfaces should be preserved, as well as to consider the specifications for restoration painting. The results of the investigation will be utilized as information for making such decisions, giving us important clues to clarify the history of the buildings repeatedly rebuilt.
On the other hand, on September 10th, he attended the workshop for the preservation of historic settlements in the Kathmandu Valley hosted by Kirtipur Municipality that has historic settlements inscribed on the World Heritage Tentative List, and suggested the items that require urgent attention for the conservation of historic settlements. Responding to this suggestion, the Mayor of Kirtipur, local administrative staff having jurisdiction over each historic settlement, and personnel from the Department of Archaeology of the national government held enthusiastic discussions with one another. Although there are still a lot of tasks to be completed before a proper system for conservation of historic settlements can be established, this workshop allowed the members to anticipate its realization.
The International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper was run from August 28th to September 15th, 2017. This course has been jointly organised by the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and the International Centre for the Study of Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) since 1992. It is aimed at contributing to the protection of cultural property outside Japan by disseminating the knowledge and techniques of conservation and restoration of paper cultural property in Japan to participants from around the world. This year, 10 specialists in conservation from 9 countries (Argentina, Australia, China, Czech Republic, Greece, Israel, Latvia, the Philippines and the USA) were selected as participants among 79 applications from 38 countries.
The course was composed of lectures, practical sessions and excursions. The lectures covered protection systems of both tangible and intangible cultural property in Japan, basic insights into Japanese paper, traditional conservation materials and tools. The practical sessions were led by instructors from a certified group holding the Selected Conservation Techniques on “Restoration Techniques of Mounting.” The participants gained experience of restoration work of paper cultural property from cleaning it to mounting it to a handscroll. Japanese-style bookbinding, and handling of folding screens and hanging scrolls were also included in the sessions. The excursion to the cities of Nagoya, Mino, and Kyoto, arranged in the middle of the course, offered an opportunity to see folding screens and sliding doors in historic buildings, the Japanese papermaking (Honminoshi) which is designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property of Japan, a traditional restoration studio, and so forth. On the last day, the present situation and issues with a focus on paper cultural property in each country such as conservation materials and environmental control were discussed.
The participants could acquire a deeper understanding not only on conservation materials and tools used in Japan but also conservation approaches and techniques using Japanese paper throughout this course. We hope that the knowledge and techniques they gained in the course will be applied to conservation and restoration of cultural property overseas.
Crack Gauge Damaged by Squirrels and Installation of Crack Disk
Performance by Local Bricklayer
Manufacture of Brick Specimens
As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs (re-commissioned by the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties), we conducted the third on-site survey for 2017 (from September 17th through October 2nd) by dispatching six members, including three outside experts. This time we conducted structural behavior monitoring, surveys on traditional building and production techniques, material experiments, and so forth.
In the structural behavior monitoring checked for the third time, no progress was found in deformation of the three monitored buildings in particular. However, part of the crack gauge had come off due to damage by birds or animals, and therefore, continual monitoring could not be performed at some of the measuring points. Therefore, we took measures according to the on-site situation by covering crack gauges or switching to crack disks.
The heritage building has various values: not only its appearance but also the techniques used for its construction. Regrettably, in the conventional restoration work in Bagan, people were scarcely aware of the conservation or reproduction of original techniques. And also scarce studies on such techniques are precious few. Thus, for this survey, we checked the bricklaying techniques in 20 buildings together with experts in building structure and conservation/repair. We also collected information on production techniques of traditional buildings through interviews and demonstrations with local bricklayers involved in repair.
As part of our technical assistance, we delivered lectures at the Bagan Branch of the Department of Archaeology and National Museums, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture in Myanmar for its 13 staff members, including the Deputy Director of the Bagan Branch, on September 20th. The three lectures were given in an omnibus manner: “Seismic damage of masonry cultural heritage in Asian countries” (Masahiko TOMODA, Head of the Conservation Design Section of the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties); “Surveys for Structural Analysis of Brick Cultural Heritage Buildings and Their Cases” (Professor Mikio KOSHIHARA, the University of Tokyo); and ”Conservation and Repair Work for Former Winery Facilities of Chateau Kamiya” (Yasuo NAKAUCHI, Adviser, the Japanese Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments). The audience showed much interest in reinforcement materials and techniques in particular.
On the other hand, in Yangon, we conducted compressive strength tests for single bricks (14 pieces) from September 23rd through October 1st in cooperation with the Myanmar Engineering Society (MES) and Yangon Technological University (Y1TU). In addition, we manufactured prisms (four-layered brick specimens) using three types of mortar that differed in materials and mix proportions based on the information obtained from the production technique survey in Bagan (nine in each type), cylindrical mortar specimens (three in each type), and square mortar specimens (three in each type). We are planning to conduct strength tests for these specimens about two months later.
We hope to accumulate more data useful for conservation and repair of the cultural heritage buildings in the Bagan area through such surveys and experiments.