|■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
At the 4th seminar of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems, held on July 25, 2023, YASUNAGA Takuyo (Head, Trans-Disciplinary Research Section, Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems) gave an online presentation titled Reconstruction Research of the Kuwayama Gyokushū Collection.
Kuwayama Gyokushū (1746-99) was a literati painter who worked actively in Wakayama in the mid-Edo period. Gyokushū was largely self-taught, but developed his own painting style through interactions with literati painters such as Ike Taiga (1723-76) in Kyoto. He is also highly regarded for publishing excellent painting theories such as Kaiji-Higen.
Materials related to Gyokushū had been kept by members of the Kuwayama family in Wakayama who were his descendants, but unfortunately some were sold, and some of the remaining materials were temporarily lost after World War II. However, in recent years, several missing materials have been rediscovered as being held by relatives of the Kuwayama family. These materials are highly valued, because they include Chinese calligraphy and paintings formerly owned by Gyokushū, as well as painting tools and seals. In addition, The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) holds a collection of photographs taken during a survey of the Kuwayama family collection in 1944, which show its contents before they became scattered.
In the seminar, the presentation began with a discussion of the art historical significance of the Kuwayama Gyokushū collection, with works selected from the present collection of the Kuwayama family. Based on this study, an attempt was made to reconstruct the lost parts of the Kuwayama family collection using the photographs and also auction catalogs of the TOBUNKEN archives. Such reconstruction research also revealed possibilities for future use of the TOBUNKEN archives.
In a question-and-answer session held after the presentation, discussions were held on the prospects for using materials of the TOBUNKEN archives such as cabinet cards, and the survey of the Kuwayama family collection of 1944. It is expected that such reconstruction research will lead to reconsideration of the value and meaning of not only the remaining materials, but also the lost materials, and to advance discussion on the significance of preserving these materials.
KATORI Hotsuma (reprinted from Nihon Bijutsu Kōgei No.185, March 1954)
Examples of the KATORI Hotsuma Papers
The Archive Section of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems has published information on the “KATORI Hotsuma Papers” on its website as an outcome of the “Expansion of Specialized Archives and Comprehensive Reference” project.
KATORI Hotsuma (1874-1954) was a metalworker, historian of metalworking, and poet during the Meiji and Showa eras. He played a significant role in promoting and advancing the field of craftsmanship, not only within the realm of metalwork, but also in the broader world of crafts. Known for his works that skillfully combined classical motifs such as incense burners, flower vases, kettles, and Buddhist temple bells with deep technical expertise, he also made significant contributions to the study of Eastern metalworking history.
The KATORI Hotsuma Papers were donated to The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) in 1964 by his family following his passing. This collection includes diaries, design sketches for his artworks, and research records of metalwork from various regions in Japan. Consequently, it serves as a valuable resource not only for research on KATORI Hotsuma himself, but also for the broader study of Japan’s metalworking history. We have undertaken efforts such as preserving these materials and cataloging them, and we are pleased to announce the public release of the papers. The preparation for the release of the papers was led by TAMURA Ayako (Research Assistant of the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems), and various information about the papers was provided by former staff member Ms. NAKAMURA Setsuko.
We hope you will use the materials that TOBUNKEN has accumulated over the years as evidence to solve research problems related to cultural properties and as an opportunity to create new research in various fields.
• Library Visitor’s Guide
Archives (documents) information can be found at the bottom of this page. The Papers are accessible in our library.
• KATORI Hotsuma Papers
Lecture on air conditioning
Lecture on outdoor materials
Practical training for identification of cultural property pests
Tour of the laboratories
The “Training Course for Museum Curators in Charge of Conservation (Advanced Course) in 2023” was held from July 10 to 14, 2023. This training course, which has been held at the Institute since 1984, was reorganized into a “Basic Course” and an “Advanced Course” in 2021, with the aim of enabling curators in charge of conservation at museums to acquire a wide range of knowledge and skills necessary for their work, from basic to advanced.
The “Basic Course” is designed to provide curators in charge of the conservation of materials at museums with a wide range of knowledge and skills, from the basics to the practical. The course focuses on the conservation environment and is conducted by the National Center for the Promotion of Cultural Properties.
The “Advanced Course” covers not only the conservation environment, but also general conservation of cultural properties, and is conducted by the Center for Conservation Science. In the 2023 Advanced Course, lectures and practical training based on research results in various research fields were conducted by the Center for Conservation Science, and lectures on the conservation and restoration of various cultural properties were provided by external lecturers. On the first day, a tour of the center was conducted. The themes of the lectures and practical training were as follows:
・Theory of restoration of cultural properties
・Scientific investigation of cultural properties
・Air quality (about air quality / effects of air pollution on cultural properties / concepts of air quality improvement and ventilation)
・Theory and practice of storage environment (air conditioning)
・Introduction and practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for cultural properties
・Types and characteristics of restoration materials
・Deterioration and conservation of outdoor materials
・Protection of heritage of modernization
・Conservation and restoration of various cultural properties (rescue of cultural properties / environmental management of temporary storage facilities / daily cultural heritage disaster prevention in museums)
・Disaster prevention in museums
・Conservation and restoration of folk artifacts
・Preservation of large volumes of documents, and countermeasures against deterioration
・Conservation and restoration of works on paper
・Preservation and management of photographs
A post-training questionnaire indicated a high level of satisfaction throughout the training. Some participants commented that they were able to gain practical knowledge in a systematic manner and that they were stimulated by learning about cutting-edge research. On the other hand, we also received some comments that they would like more time for training and some requested future follow-up. We will continue to review the content of the training to ensure that it is beneficial to curators in charge of conservation.
Last year, due to restrictions imposed for protection from the spread of COVID-19, the number of participants was only 18, but this year there were 30 participants, as the infection situation had calmed down somewhat.
Although the participants come from a wide variety of institutions, they all share similar concerns and awareness of the problems they face in the field, and we believe that the exchange of ideas and opinions among the participants is very meaningful. We hope that the networking that participants were able to take part in during this training will also be useful in the future.
In our December 2022 Monthly Report, we reported on the “neri,” a sort of “dispersant” used in papermaking, extracted from noriutsugi (Hydrangea paniculate). This report is a continuation of that previous report.
Since last year, noriutsugi collected in Shibetsu-cho, Hokkaido Prefecture has been shipped to various papermaking areas and used as neri for papermaking, but problems such as blackening of the neri have been observed in some areas. Analysis of the causes of the blackening confirmed that it is caused by a combination of three conditions: heating during neri extraction, contamination of tannins in the outer bark, and the absence of preservatives. Therefore, the blackening can be eliminated by carefully removing the outer bark or by adding a small amount of preservative. This result was reported at the 45th annual meeting of The Japan Society for the Conservation of Cultural Property (National Museum of Ethnology, June 24-25), and the presentation was very fruitful, receiving many questions.
In addition, we visited the production sites of Uda paper (Yoshin-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture) and Echizen washi (Echizen-shi, Fukui Prefecture), which are made using noriutsugi, in succession (March 6 for Uda and July 19 for Echizen) and conducted a survey of the paper-making process. In both of these production areas, the shortage of noriutsugi is a major problem, and the supply from Shibetsu-cho is expected to be of great help. It was also confirmed once again that there are different ways to use noriutsugi neri depending on the production area and the craftsman, and it is necessary to consider supply methods that meet the needs. In addition, on July 27, we visited Shibetsu-cho to observe the collection of noriutsugi bark, to study the collection method and to record and photograph the process. This year, about 200 kg of noriutsugi bark has already been collected and shipped to various papermaking regions.
We will continue our activities to ensure a stable supply of noriutsugi.
Visiting papermaking sites
Uda-gami papermaking, using noritsugi from Shibetsu-cho
Noritsugi used for Echizen washi
Visit to Shibetsu-cho
Noriutsugi, which grows wild in large quantities in Shibetsu-cho
Participants taking pictures for 3D digital documentation
The３D documentation using Agisoft Metashape and iPhone Scaniverse has recently been introduced, and is rapidly coming into use. The introduction of this technology can not only reduce working time, but also makes it possible to document cultural heritage with very high precision.
The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation arranged a three-day workshop on 3D digital documentation for experts who are working abroad from July 15 to 17, 2023. Dr. NOGUCHI Atsushi from Komatsu University was invited as the lecturer. The main aim of this workshop was to spread 3D documentation techniques among the foreign experts through the Japanese experts who attended the workshop.
Twenty-five specialists with a variety of backgrounds in areas such as archaeology, conservation science, and conservation architecture joined this workshop and studied how to make 3D models using Agisoft Metashape and iPhone Scaniverse.