|■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
As cultural properties attract more attention, conservation and restoration measures have been required for works comprised of various materials in recent years. Under the circumstances, conventional measures are inapplicable in many cases. It is of particular importance that we clean the works without diminishing their value.
To meet these growing needs, the Center for Conservation Science invited Dr. Paolo CREMONESI, conservation scientist from Italy, to organize a workshop on basic scientific knowledge of cleaning and usage of gels from October 8th through 10th, 2019. On October 11th, a seminar on restoration measures for cultural properties was also held to raise on-site issues and introduce the latest research on cleaning of Japanese and Western cultural properties.
With regard to the workshop, lectures were delivered in the seminar room in the morning (to 56 participants). During the afternoon training in the conference room, 21 trainees learned how to prepare cleaning solutions used for the restoration of cultural properties and how to actually clean them.
At the seminar, Dr. Cremonesi delivered a lecture on “Cleaning Methods in Western Countries –Application of Gels and the Latest Cases,” in addition to “Cleaning of Oriental Paintings” by Ms. YAMAMOTO Noriko, Representative Director of the Association for Conservation of National Treasures, and “Potentiality of Gels Applicable to Paper and Photo Works” by Ms. SHIRAIWA Yoko, photo restorer. They introduced the current state of restoration sites in the East and the West. TORIUMI Hidemi and HAYAKAWA Noriko from the Center for Conservation Science gave lectures on the “Historical Background of Cleaning Methods Developed for Western Paintings” and the “Development of Cleaning Solutions for Cultural Properties – Introduction of Recent Studies,” respectively.
Dismantling work with a crane truck
Head of a statue found inside the East Gate
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties provides technical support to the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA) for the conservation and sustainable development of the ruins of Ta Nei Temple in Angkor, Cambodia. During the period from September 7th to November 5th, 2019, the Institute dispatched a total of six members, including outside experts, to Angkor.
In this restoration project of the East Gate of Ta Nei Temple, APSARA is responsible for implementing the dismantling work, while the Institute provides technical assistance, mainly on restoration methodologies, in addition to cooperation indocumentation and other scientific surveys .
The team began dismantling the roof of the gate by using a crane truck after praying for the safety of all persons involved in the work at the ground-breaking ceremony on September 12th. The numbered stone blocks were removed one by one from the top during which each block was measured, photographed, and assessed with its damage condition.
After dismantling the roof part, the tree roots and anthills invading the structure were removed, and the collapsed stones inside the building were taken out. Most of the collected stones, almost 70 in total,were revealed to fell down from the roof or pediment. They seemed to collapse naturally due to aging. Beneath the collapsed stones, broken head (measuring approximately 56 cm in height) of a statue, which could be identified as Lokesvara, was found leaning against the western wall of the south wing. This statue must be significant in that it is expected to shed light on the history of Ta Nei Temple, much of which is still unknown. After the find was documented with photography and 3D scanning to be described, it was moved to store at a APSARA’s facility for further study.
In cooperation with the OISHI Laboratory at the Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo, the walls and the interior of the gate were documented with a 3D laser scanner, while the Structure from Motion (SfM) technique was used to record the walls in conjunction with surveying the structure in detail. Dismantlement of the walls started on October 16th and ended safely on November 5th with the completion of the required recording.
A series of surveys following the dismantlement process disclosed the fact that the structure was deformed, partly because of the invasion of tree roots and anthills into the stone joints. Uneven subcidence of the foundation and floor surface suggests that the base structure might have some defects. The recovery of structural soundness requires the improvement of the base structure after clarifying the deterioration mechanism. Therefore, we will dispatch the staff again in December to excavate part of the foundation and investigate the ground.
Besides, we attended the meeting of the International Coordination Committee for the Safeguarding and the Development of Preah Vihear Temple (ICC-Preah Vihear) at the APSARA headquarters office on September 18th to collect the latest information. While exchanging opinions with and collecting information from international experts, we will try to find the most appropriate way to conserve the Angkor ruins in cooperation with APSARA.
Church of Santa Maria Paganica (La chiesa di Santa Maria Paganica) in L’Aquila
Well-Maintained Street at Pompeii
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been providing technical assistance to Myanmar for its restoration project covering the areas devastated by the earthquake in 2016, as well as the conservation and restoration work for the wall painting at the Bagan Ruins. During our visit to Italy on October 9th-27th, 2019, we conducted surveys in L’Aquila City and Pompeii Ruins, where post-quake reconstruction activities and conservation efforts have been in progress, so as to emulate the model in the improvement plan for Bagan.
Reconstruction activities have been continuing in L’Aquila even 10 years after an earthquake struck the Abruzzo Region in 2009. According to the experts engaged in the project there, around 50% of the affected areas have just been reconstructed. Since many of the devastated building structures have murals and decorative stucco, the restoration planning requires multiple points of view. As a result, the complicated project delayed the progress of the restoration work. However, since the reconstruction activities took these aspects into consideration, the conservation of the historical landscape has been remarkable.
On the other hand, the maintenance project covering a vast area at the Pompeii Ruins has been underway for more than 100 years. We exchanged opinions with the Archaeological Superintendency of Pompeii on how we should deal with conservation and restoration policies as times change, as well as the difficulties in the comprehensive maintenance of the entire site.
In this survey, we reconfirmed the importance of planning from a comprehensive viewpoint for the conservation and restoration of cultural property consisting of multiple elements. To pass down the vast site to the coming generation, maintenance effort, which is the best way to minimize the burden on the cultural heritage, is important. In the field survey planned for Bagan in January 2020, we will report the outcomes of these surveys, while also repeatedly consulting with local experts about protection activities suitable for the ruins.
Dyeing with natural dyes
Analysis of a material possessed by the Museum of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin
Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties organized a 10-day workshop beginning October 7th, 2019, on the conservation of historic textiles, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport in the Republic of Armenia. Based on the cooperation agreement on cultural heritage protection established between the Institute and the Ministry of Culture (at that time) in 2014, this was the third workshop to be organized since 2017.
This workshop was conducted at the Scientific Research Center for Historical and Cultural Heritage and the Museum of the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin, with Dr. ISHII Mie, Associate Professor of the Faculty of Art and Regional Design at Saga University, and Ms. YOKOYAMA Midori, expert in embroidery, serving as lecturers like in the previous year. Fourteen trainees from seven institutions, such as museums and galleries in Armenia, attended the workshop. At the Center, silk and cotton cloth was dyed with natural dyes such as indigo and madder while preparing standard samples to identify the dyes actually used in historic textiles. At the Museum, the historic materials in its possession were analyzed for specific techniques.
Director General of the Institute SAITO Takamasa granted a completion certificate to each trainee at the completion ceremony held the last day. The workshop program, organized for three years, has finally ended. We sincerely hope that the Armenian people will not only contribute to the conservation and restoration of their cultural heritage based on the knowhow they have acquired, but also hand down their techniques and knowledge to the coming generation.
Practical work on the usage of brushes
Group photo of course participants
From October 30th to November 13th, 2019, the International Course on Paper Conservation in Latin America: Meeting with the East was held as part of the LATAM program (conservation of cultural heritage in Latin America and the Caribbean). This course has been jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP), the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM), and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH). It has been held since 2012 at the Coordinacion Nacional de Conservacion del Patrimonio Cultural (CNCPC), which belongs to INAH, in Mexico City. The course sought to provide attendees with basic knowledge and techniques regarding traditional Japanese paper, adhesives, and tools so that the knowledge and techniques could be used to help conserve cultural properties in the attendees’ home countries. This year, 9 conservation specialists from 8 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Spain and Venezuela) participated.
Japanese specialists were in charge of the first part of the course (October 30th to November 6th). They offered lectures on the protection system of cultural properties in Japan; tools and materials used in restoration, such as Japanese paper and adhesives; and “Restoration techniques for mounts” which is one of the Selected Conservation Techniques in Japan. The practical work on linings using these tools and materials was carried out with the cooperation of CNCPC staff members who had learned the techniques for several months at TNRICP.
In the latter half of the course (November 7th to 13th), lectures were given by experts from Mexico and Spain who had completed the International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper at TNRICP. They spoke about how to select materials and apply their techniques to Western paper cultural properties.
The participants could gain a deeper understanding of conservation materials, tools and techniques used in Japan through this technical exchange. We hope that the knowledge and techniques they acquired in the course will be applied to the conservation and restoration of cultural property overseas.