|■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
Scene of Children's Education by Koai TAKEMURA in 1890, in the possession of Ochanomizu University
Picture of Lily by Koai TAKEMURA, in the possession of Ochanomizu University
At the monthly seminar conducted by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems on April 24th, 2018, a presentation was made, titled “Koai TAKEMURA and Female Japanese-Style Painters in the Meiji Era,” by Tai TADOKORO (Associate Fellow of the Department).
Koai TAKEMURA was a female Japanese-style painter in the Meiji Era well known for her paintings of flowers, birds, and landscapes. While Koai is also considered a fine art educator now, her life and works as a painter have been scarcely revealed. Based on her diaries in the possession of the library of Kyoritsu Women’s University, this presentation unveiled her painting career focusing on her activities as a painter, along with a study of the aspects of other female painters’ activities in the Meiji era.
Koai was born in Edo in 1852 as the daughter of a feudal retainer of Sendai Domain. Her real name was Chisa or Sada. She showed a keen interest in painting and pictures even as a child. She learned painting from Kazunobu KANO, Kinkoku YAMAMOTO, Nammei HARUKI, Togai KAWAKAMI, and other masters. Koai studied various schools of painting, and even produced Western-style works. Endowed with good English language skills, she assumed the post of assistant professor in English at Tokyo Women’s Normal School in 1876. From around 1877, as a professor in painting, she devoted herself to the education of women. In 1889, she joined the Japan Art Association. Her work, Yochihoiku-zu (Scene of Children’s Education), displayed at the exhibition of the Association held in the fall of the following year, was awarded the bronze prize, and the painting was bought by Prince Arisugawa Taruhito, the Honorary Patron of the Association. In April 1898, she resigned from the Tokyo Women’s Higher Normal School due to an illness. However, two months after her resignation, Keikanyuri-zu (Lily in the Valley), displayed in the first exhibition of the Japanese Painting Associateon, was highly commended as the best by Masao GEJO, honorary members of the Society, and Kampo ARAKI. In addition, Yuri-zu (Picture of Lily) was conferred the bronze prize in the women’s department of the Japan-British Exhibition of 1910. In this work, depth and spatial breadth were expressed in her use of weak/strong outlines, gradations of color, and layout of motifs.
Koai also taught painting to her disciples at home, which totaled to almost 150 people including women and young ladies of peerage, as well as foreign women.
Taking a close look at her activities, it is clear that women painters in the Meiji era had their own role and demand during the period. Against the activity on the center stage of the art world of showing paintings at exhibitions, their role was related to backstage activities.
Further research on the activities and interactions of female painters in this period will help reveal their actual situation, aspects of their social recognition, and their development toward prosperity during the Taisho era.
Access to the digital contents
The Institute has been proceeding research studies of cultural properties in various ways and releasing the results. This time, the digital contents of Illustrated Handscroll of The Tale of Genji (The Tokugawa Art Museum), Birds and Flowers of Four Seasons Screens and The Western Kings on Horseback Screens (Suntory Museum of Art) have been produced and launched to open access in the Tobunken Library. Various images such as high resolution color images, X-ray images and near infrared images and analysis results of color materials by X-ray fluorescence spectrometer are on display on a dedicated terminal device. It is for academic and study purposes only and coping and printing are prohibited, but abundant information on the artworks utilizing the characteristics of digital images is available. In addition to those three artworks, nine artworks in all have been released such as The Eleven-Headed Kannon (Nara National Museum), The Hikone Screen (Hikone Castle Museum),Genre Figures said to be Honda Heihachiro Screen, Kabuki Performance Handscroll, Various Amusements known as the Sooji Byobu Screen (The Tokugawa Art Museum), and Red and White Plum Blossoms Screens (MOA Museum of Art). It is planned to add newly digital contents of other artworks and provide exclusive research materials. A display terminal is available for accessing the images and information during the opening hours of the Library. For more information about the Library, please see the Visitor’s Guide.
“Kariyado Folk Journal”
Making a speech to introduce the published folk journal at the unveiling ceremony of the monument
In the Kariyado area, Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture, intangible cultural heritage such as “Shishimai (Deer Dance)” and “Kagura (sacred Shinto music and dance)” have been passed down from generation to generation. In 2011, however, all residents of the area evacuated due to serious nuclear accidents caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake. The succession of their folk performing arts also faced a crisis. Therefore, the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage conducted several surveys to accumulate information on Shishimai and Kagura, as well as the history and life of the area supporting such intangible cultural heritage, in order to compile it into a folk journal. In March 2018, “Kariyado Folk Journal” was finally published.
Although the residents were allowed to return to their homes in the Kariyado area in April 2017, only some households have returned now in a year. Under the circumstances, a “Monument for the Reconstruction of the Kariyado Area Devastated by the Great Earthquake” was built, hoping for the recovery of the area. Its unveiling ceremony was held on April 21st and was attended by Hiromichi KUBOTA from the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage. During the ceremony, the newly published folk journal, whose number of copies is large enough to be distributed to all households in the Kariyado area, was introduced to the public. We hope that this folk journal will contribute not only to the succession of the intangible cultural heritage of the area but also to the further progress of the reconstruction of the area.
Top page of “INTANGIBLE.” The character on the left is Kobayashi, while the one on the right is Nyadeshiko.
As part of the “Cultural Heritage Disaster Risk Mitigation Network Promotion Project” (a project subsidized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs), the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage developed a website called “INTANGIBLE” to start its publication and operation for intangible cultural heritage lovers. Prompt relief and recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake were hindered due to very limited information on devastated intangible cultural heritage and its support. Particularly, intangible cultural heritage includes numerous assets other than designated cultural properties. To collect such diverse information, networks for the people involved and lovers were focused on.
This website was started to share information required for the construction of such networks. To attract as many web surfers as possible, news and backstage reports on intangible cultural heritage, as well as the gallery and collection pages for lovers, have been provided. Along with the unique characters of the website, friendly pages will welcome all visitors.
Participants of the Second Festival Network Meeting
The second meeting of the “Festival Network” for festival and folk performing art lovers was conducted jointly with Omatsuri Japan Co., Ltd. in the basement conference room of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties on Saturday, April 14th. The theme of this meeting was “Shishimai × Shishimai (Lion Dance × Lion Dance).” Four people were invited as guest speakers: Mr. Osamu KATSUYAMA from Shishieden Shishikatashu in Toyama Prefecture, Ms. Kumiko KATSUYAMA from the Lion Dance Preservation Society in Imizu Town, Toyama Prefecture, Mr. Mitsuru TOGAWA, representative of the Sanuki Lion Dance Preservation Society in Kagawa Prefecture, and Ms. Ayumi NAKAGAWA, spokesperson of the said Society and representative of the Tokyo Sanuki Lion Dance. An overwhelming number of lion dances have been passed down in these two prefectures. After the speakers talked about the passion for their local lion dances, questions and answers were exchanged actively with the audience. They commented that persistence to preserve local festivals and traditions, as well as rural depopulation and generation gap issues, could be recognized anew through the actual cases indicated by the speakers
Mural painting exhibited at the Museo Egizio in Turin
Exterior view of the Santuario della Madonna d'Ongero
From April 19th through April 29th, 2018, members of Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation visited the Museo Egizio in Turin, Italy, and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) in Switzerland to collect information about the international scene and build a network with international institutions.
At the Museo Egizio in Turin, curators, managers for registration of works, and restorers gathered to talk about the concrete efforts made for maintenance and management of their collected items, as well as for their conservation and restoration. At the SUPSI, we delivered a lecture on the projects undertaken by the Center for professors and students of the University. In addition, guided by Ms. Giacinta Jean, Course Director in Conservation, we visited the research facilities of the University and the Santuario della Madonna d’Ongero, on whose stucco-work, study and research were conducted by the University. Ms. Giacinta Jean explained how the concept of conserving cultural properties worked in Switzerland and the current status of its conservation activities.
In the conservation and restoration of cultural properties, it is important to enrich our insight while collecting information from various areas, as well as to repeatedly exchange opinions on how to resolve problems and maintain and manage cultural properties. This is vital because such efforts will help us in retaining an objective attitude toward cultural heritage and viewing it with an open mind without allowing for subjective eyes.
Also, during these visits, we made discoveries and found research themes through opinion exchange, which we could hardly have done during the regular activities. Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation will continually reinforce international cooperative relationships, putting much effort into building a network with international institutions.