|■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
The cover of the exhibition brochure
The exhibition at Kosetsu Memorial Museum, Jissen Women’s University
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties collects the materials of its former researchers and utilizes them as research archives. Approximately 70 items of the Tanaka Ichimatsu （1895 – 1983）archive, such as notebooks, records, and photographs, were displayed to the public for the first time in the exhibition “Making notes of Japanese Art History―The research notes of Aimi Kouu, Tanaka Ichimatsu, and Doi Tsugiyoshi” jointly held by Kosetsu Memorial Museum, Jissen Women’s University, and the Museum and Archives of Kyoto Institute of Technology. This exhibition gathers together the study notes of the three researchers who led Japanese art history from the Meiji period to the Showa period: Aimi Kouu（1874 – 1970）, Tanaka Ichimatsu, and Doi Tsugiyoshi（1906 – 91）. The exhibition allows visitors to experience how these predecessors of Japanese art history viewed and recorded the artworks they studied. Tanaka was skilled at drawing from childhood; his sketches of artworks throughout his life are excellent and suggest the importance of recording by hand, even in the current digital age. The exhibition was held at Jissen Women’s University in Tokyo between May 12th and June 16th, 2018, was visited by a total of 953 people for 32 days, and closed successfully. The exhibition is scheduled to be held at Kyoto Institute of Technology from June 25th to August 11th.
The page of lists of the “Database of Listed Calligraphers and Painters in the Meiji and Taisho Periods”
The page of “Seiki KURODA” from the “Name Database for Calligraphers and Painters.” Related picture images are displayed on the lower part of the screen.
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) has published a database for 61 lists of calligraphers and painters issued in the Meiji and Taisho periods (http://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/
banduke). This database has been reconstructed from the original one accessible exclusively with a dedicated application, which was created based on the collection of Mr. Shigeru AOKI, an art historian, as an outcome of Scientific Research on Priority Areas: Inventions in the Edo Period (Planned Research A03 “Research on the establishment of categorizations of objects and techniques in Japanese modern art”) in 2004.
For reconstruction, the database became accessible through different types of equipment with universal technologies, without depending on specific applications. To enhance the legibility of the details, the lists were photographed again at a high resolution.
Using the original name and classification data, a new database, focusing on the names, was created (http://www.tobunken.go.jp/materials/
banduke_name) and linked with the photographic images owned by TNRICP. These lists alone are just arrays of names, but they will surely allow you to explore new possibilities from the database as a platform. We would be glad if you could experience the great potential of the database with the linked images.
Finally, we express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Aoki and those who were involved in creation of the original database, as well as the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura & Hayama, which now possesses these lists, and Ms. Saki NAGATO, its curator.
Seminar in Progress
Part of the Finding Aid for Yoshida Yoshie Collection
In the seminar conducted on May 23rd, 2018, by the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, Researcher Hideki KIKKAWA delivered a presentation titled “Storage, Conservation and Provision of Archives at the University of California, Los Angeles – Taking YOSHIDA Yoshie Collection as an Example.” The presenter visited the departments involved in the storage, conservation, and provision of archives at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and consulted with the concerned personnel on the occasion of opening the collection on YOSHIDA Yoshie, a Japanese critic, at UCLA in February 2018. Based on his visit and consultation at UCLA, the presenter reported the outlines of UCLA and its group of libraries, as well as how to manage archives, while discussing not only a budget scale for archives but also a more effective way of operating archives at domestic institutions with less personnel assigned. From outside the Institute, artist Ms. Yoshiko SHIMADA, who was involved in the donation to UCLA, and curator Mr. Yukinori OKAMURA from Maruki Gallery for the Hiroshima Panels, the gallery of Mr. and Mrs. Maruki, who had close relationships with YOSHIDA Yoshie, attended the seminar to exchange opinions from the viewpoints of specialists during the discussion after the presentation. In recent years, when artists and concerned personnel who pioneered postwar Japanese art have begun to pass away, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties is now expected to partially assume the role of securing the access to their archives without dissipation at a permanent institution.
Analysis of coloring materials using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the Tokyo National Museum (TNM) have jointly conducted optical research on Buddhist paintings in TNM’s collection. As part of this joint research, high-resolution photography with image dividing technique and analyses of coloring materials using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry were conducted on paintings of Kokuzo Bosatsu (Akashagarbha Bodhisattva) and Senju Kannon (Sahasrabhuja Avalokitesvara) from May 22nd to 23rd, 2018. These Buddhist paintings, which are representative of the later part of the Heian period, were produced with a particularly sophisticated aesthetic sense and a highly developed painting technique; the delicate and elegant depiction of their subjects is their most significant feature. Through this joint research on Buddhist paintings of the Heian period, high-definition color, near-infrared, and fluorescent images have been obtained. A comprehensive analysis of coloring materials using X-ray fluorescence spectrometry was carried out for the essential parts of the painting such as the subjects’ faces, bodies, clothes, accessories, belongings, and halos, as well as the canopies and backgrounds. The results of this analysis are not only beneficial for the understanding of each artwork but are important indicators for Japanese art history. After this, we will conduct further research, examine our results, and proceed to publish them as research materials.
Reproduced mill and milling hut in Jeju Island
Ongoing workshop at the National Intangible Heritage Center
The Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been conducting research exchanges with the National Intangible Heritage Center in the Republic of Korea since 2008. During the exchange, staff members of each institution stay at the other institution to conduct research while holding joint symposiums. As part of this research exchange, Tomo ISHIMURA, Head of the Audio-Visual Documentation Section of the Department, stayed in Korea for overseas research for two weeks from April 23rd to May 7th, 2018.
The objectives of overseas research currently was to research the movements of anthropological and ethnological studies made by Japanese researchers in the Korean Peninsula during the colonial period and to critically redefine their significance today. In this instance, research was conducted to retrace the steps of Professor Seiichi IZUMI (1915-1970), who worked as an assistant professor at Keijo Imperial University in the Korean Peninsula until the end of the war and was involved in the establishment of Japan’s first Cultural Anthropology Department at the University of Tokyo after returning to Japan.
During the first half of the research in Korea, Tomo ISHIMURA visited Jeju Island where Professor IZUMI conducted research in the 1930s and 1960s, in order to organize a hearing survey in the villages that Professor IZUMI had visited. The society on Jeju Island drastically changed due to the Jeju uprising that lasted from 1948 through 1954. It resulted in the replacement of most village residents. Fortunately, ISHIMURA could meet an old man who had been living in the same village since the 1930s when Professor IZUMI conducted the first research. ISHIMURA succeeded in clarifying the tangible changes in the village. Through research, Professor IZUMI defined multiple families who jointly owned a flour mill as a “molbange (mill) association” by regrading such a group of families as a unit comprising the social aggregation on Jeju Island. However, through the current research, ISHIMURA found that the use of the mill almost ceased from the 1950s to 1960s and that not only social changes but also mechanization of flour milling affected the extinction.
In the last half of the research in Korea, ISHIMURA stayed at Jeonju, where the National Intangible Heritage Center is located. He organized the details of his research on Jeju Island to report the achievements at the workshop while expanding exchanges with the staff members at the National Intangible Heritage Center．
Through this study in Korea, ISHIMURA confirmed that Korean society including Jeju Island drastically changed during the prewar and postwar periods and that former anthropological and ethnological research materials are significant today in understanding such changing processes.
Last but not least, we would like to express sincere gratitude to Myung Jin LEE (National Intangible Heritage Center) and Doc Woo LEE (Kanagawa University), who supported his study during this research exchange.
Survey of tile-roofing specifications at Aganchen Temple
Workshop in Sankhu on the conservation of historic settlements
As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we have continually provided technical assistance to Nepal. Already, in 2018, we have dispatched on-site research missions in February, March, April, and May.
For the rehabilitation of the Aganchen Temple and its associated buildings in the Hanumandhoka Palace in Kathmandu, we surveyed detailed specifications and traces of transformation of the brick masonry surfaces of the inner walls whose finishing layers had peeled off. The brick masonry, all of which looks the same, differs in material, dimension, or construction method according to age. Evidence remains at places where the wall or opening was altered. Observation following the cleaning inside cracks blocked by the rubble that had collapsed from the upper section, revealed numerous clues to retrace the history of various extensions and alterations since its construction in the 17th century. The number of targets to be clarified through further research has increased, including the existence of an unknown mural painting unveiled during this process. We have further increased our awareness of this building’s great value as physical evidence to comprehend history, in addition to the highly elaborate work applied to the subsequently altered sections as a particularly important building in the palace.
As preparations for the rehabilitation work are being made under the direction of experts dispatched from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), we are cooperating in the examination of concrete conservation methods and consultation with the relevant institutions in Nepal. Although the work has not yet begun due to various difficulties in procedures, as a united team we would like to make every effort to conserve the building’s value as a cultural heritage.
Meanwhile, we have continued to cooperate in the conservation of historic settlements in the Kathmandu Valley. In May 2018, we organized a workshop at the historic settlement of Sankhu, inscribed in the Tentative List of World Heritage Sites of Nepal, but seriously damaged by the earthquake, for those officers in charge of public administration in each city holding jurisdiction over historic areas and settlements. Under the theme of conservation of historic water channel networks, participants from six cities discussed their current situations and issues together with urban design experts, and developed six suggestions. The outcomes will be shared with those concerned in other cities who could not attend the workshop this time. We expect the suggestions will help to conserve each historic settlement.
Training to conserve and restore paper cultural properties
Providing materials related to Syrian cultural heritage
In Syria, the Middle East, a conflict that began in March 2011 has not ended even after seven years. The conflict has caused serious damages to both the Syrian people and their precious cultural heritage.
Since 2017, the Japanese government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have been supporting Syria in preserving its cultural heritage. In addition to the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, academic institutions, such as the University of Tsukuba, Teikyo University, Waseda University, Chubu University, and the Ancient Orient Museum, plan to accept Syrian experts for a variety of training seminars in archaeology, and conservation and restoration of cultural properties, since February 2018.
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) invited two Syrian specialists to Japan from May 15th to 30th, 2018, (two weeks) to conduct training seminars on conservation and restoration of paper cultural properties. At the seminars organized in cooperation with the National Diet Library and the National Archives of Japan, they learned basic restoration and conservation methods for documents and books.
In January 2018, a news report that the ruins of the Ain Dara Temple, built in Northwestern Syria during the Syro-Hittite period, were severely damaged by an air raid was released. For this temple, TNRICP conducted a conservation and restoration project from 1994 through 1996. Project leader and Researcher Emeritus Tadateru NISHIURA provided related materials of that time. The materials were offered to the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria through the Syrian specialists invited to the seminars for utilization in the smooth restoration of the remains. In addition, valuable old photographic data on Aleppo, Damascus, and Palmyra, shot by Shin WADA in 1929 and 1930, which are now in possession of TNRICP were provided.