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


International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper 2019

Practical session

 The International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper was held from September 9th to 27th, 2019. This course has been jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) since 1992. The course aims to contribute to the protection of cultural property outside Japan by disseminating the knowledge and techniques of the conservation and restoration of paper cultural property in Japan to participants from around the world. This year, ten specialists in conservation from ten countries (Australia, Canada, China, Estonia, Ireland, Italy, Qatar, UK, Ukraine, and USA) were selected as participants among 71 applications from 33 countries.
 The course was composed of lectures, practical sessions, and an excursion. The lectures covered the protection systems of both tangible and intangible cultural property in Japan, basic insights into the 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 for mounts.” The participants had an experience of restoration work of paper cultural property, from cleaning it to mounting it in 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, which was arranged in the middle of the course, offered an opportunity to see folding screens and sliding doors in historic buildings, the Japanese papermaking, which is designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Property of Japan (Honminoshi), a traditional restoration studio, and so forth. On the last day, availability and the usage of washi in each country and the application of Japanese traditional techniques to other countries were discussed.
 The participants could gain a deeper understanding of conservation materials, tools, and techniques used in Japan throughout this course. We hope that the knowledge and techniques they acquired during the course will be applied to the conservation and restoration of cultural property overseas.


Workshops on the Conservation of Japanese Textiles, in Taipei

Basic workshop: lecture on Japanese textiles
Advanced workshop: practical work on documentation

 Two workshops on the conservation of Japanese textiles were held at the Research Center for Conservation of Cultural Relics in National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), Taipei, from August 14th to 23rd, 2019. A basic workshop, “Cultural Properties of Textiles in Japan,” was conducted from August 14th to 16th, and an advanced workshop, “Conservation of Japanese Textiles,” was run from August 19th to 23rd. These workshops have been co-organized annually since 2017 by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties and NTNU for the preservation and utilization of Japanese textiles overseas, as part of our joint research. The lectures and instructions were presented by researchers specialized in textiles and conservators from Japan and Taiwan. Conservators, curators and students from around the world participated in the workshop; there were 11 participants from 10 countries in the basic workshop and 6 participants from 5 countries in the advanced workshop.
 The basic workshop included lectures on the systems for the protection of tangible and intangible cultural properties, textile and clothing materials, and representative textiles in Japan. The participants also experienced folding and displaying Japanese garments (kimono). In addition, the practical work on making a paper model of kimono helped the participants to understand the construction of kimono. The advanced workshop comprised lectures and practical work on topics such as the degradation of textiles, scientific analysis of dyes, and cleaning of textiles. Furthermore, the participants experienced stitching a support silk fabric to the back of an old textile fragment and making a Japanese traditional folder for it. This served as an opportunity for the participants to comprehend Japanese approaches to textile conservation. In both workshops, case studies on display and conservation of Japanese textiles were shared, and opinions regarding conservation approaches, materials and methods were actively exchanged.
 It is expected that introducing fundamental knowledge about Japanese textiles and their conservation to conservation specialists overseas could contribute to the better conservation and utilization of Japanese textile objects outside Japan.


Cultural Exchange Project for the Conservation and Utilization of Historic Buildings in Bhutan (Part ⅠI)

Examining utilization strategies with local experts
Yuwakha village in Punakha, one of the surveyed settlements

 Since 2012, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) has been conducting joint architectural research on rammed earth buildings in Bhutan with the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites (DCHS), Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, the Royal Government of Bhutan. From this fiscal year, TNRICP has started the Networking Core Centers for International Cooperation in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Project, which was commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, with the objective of providing technical support and capacity building for the conservation and utilization of historic buildings in Bhutan. As a part of this project, a team of 11 experts, including TNRICP staff and outside experts, conducted on-site fieldwork from 20th to 28th August, 2019.
 The field survey was jointly conducted with DCHS staff and covered traditional houses in the dzongkhags (districts) of Thimphu, Punakha, and Haa. The three main objectives were establishing a methodology for their conservation and repair, studying alternatives for their sustainable utilization, and clarifying the criteria for their evaluation as cultural heritage. Regarding the methodology for conservation and utilization, three traditional houses, which had been previously identified on the basis of features that indicated an early construction date, were selected as case studies. The potential methodologies for the seismic retrofitting of their rammed earth walls and the repair of their wooden members were studied. Furthermore, their potential use, compatible both with the owner’s demands and with the conservation of their value as cultural heritage, was examined during a discussion that involved DCHS staff, local architects, and owners. Regarding the evaluation of traditional houses as cultural heritage, comprehensive surveys were conducted in several settlements, and a potential method for the classification of traditional houses as well as a set of criteria for their designation as cultural properties was studied.
 In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding referring to this project was signed at the Department of Culture, and a meeting was organized with the DCHS to discuss the results of this survey as well as the future prospects and needs of the Bhutanese counterparts.
In the future, we expect to continue cooperating with Bhutanese experts through on-site surveys and workshops to establish a methodology for the conservation and utilization of historic buildings suited to the Bhutanese reality.


Technical Support to Restore Wall Paintings and Exterior Walls of Brick Temples at the Bagan Archaeological Site in Myanmar

Hands-on training at the site to restore the wall paintings
Surveying the wall paintings

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation is providing technical support and human resource training to restore wall paintings and the exterior walls of brick temples at the Bagan Archaeological Site in Myanmar. On-site training session for staff members of the Bagan Branch, Department of Archaeology and National Museums, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture of Myanmar was conducted at two different temples from July 11th to July 27th, 2019.
 At Me-taw-ya Temple, a training session on how to repair exterior wall joint material, replace deteriorated bricks, and mix repair materials was carried out. Drainage measures were discussed as accumulated rainwater dissolved the existing wall joint material and resulted in water seeping into the temple.
 At Loka-hteik-pan Temple (project name: Conservation and Restoration of Temples Mural Paintings in the Bagan Ruins in Myanmar), where restoration activities were conducted in association with the Sumitomo Foundation, problems created by past repairs—commonly noticed in temple wall paintings of the Bagan Ruins—were explained, and training sessions on reinforcing colored layers using inorganic repair materials and repairing colors were organized.
 Research on the folklore pertaining to wall painting iconography began alongside this training program. To explain the non-Buddhist elements and characteristics specific to Myanmar found on wall paintings, detailed examples were collected primarily from Bagan. Information on the historical background of each of these wall paintings was also gathered from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture of Myanmar employees and related people from these temples. Hereafter, we plan to expand the scope of this research beyond Bagan.
 The decision to register Bagan as a world cultural heritage site was made at the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee. As tourists are expected to increase in the future, efforts to maintain the relics must be improved. This issue was raised at the expert committee session convened by the Bagan Branch during the support period. Requests were also made to increase participants for the training program sponsored by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, and for technical instruction at the archaeological sites. Hereafter, the Institute will continue to exchange opinions with local experts and provide technical support and human resource development programs.


Training Provided to Syrian Specialists in “Research Planning Methods to Restore Historical Cities and Buildings”

Classroom lecture at Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties
Tour of restoration conditions at the Shinmachi-Furumachi District in Kumamoto City

 A civil war broke out in Syria eight years ago in March 2011, and it seems there is no end in sight. Apart from the human cost of war, the much precious cultural heritage was also lost.
 The Japanese government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) began providing cultural heritage aid to Syria in 2017. From February 2018, the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, in association with academic organizations such as the University of Tsukuba, Teikyo University, Waseda University, Chubu University, and the Ancient Orient Museum, has been accepting Syrian specialists and providing them training in the fields of archeology and restoration. Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties is also participating in this project.
 Following training seminars on conservation and restoration of paper cultural properties held in May 2018, this year, two Syrian specialists were invited to undergo training in “Research Planning Methods to Restore Historical Cities and Buildings” conducted from July 24th to August 6th.
 Many historical cities such as the ancient city of Aleppo were engulfed in war, and many historical buildings were devastated. In the first half of this year’s training, seven specialists gave classroom lectures on surveying damage to historical buildings and making emergency repairs, structural safety diagnosis method, documentation and database creation method, restoration plan creation method, and restoration and preservation system creation method. For the practical aspect that comprised the second half of the training, participants inspected the restoration status of historical buildings and townscapes devastated by the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquakes, including Kumamoto Castle, the Shinmachi-Furumachi District, Kumamoto University, and the Eto-yashiki (Eto estate), which is registered as an important cultural property.
 The participants also heard stories told by the people in charge. They visited Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings in Kyoto and Nara and saw examples of repairs and applications of historical Japanese buildings.
 We would once again like to thank the specialists, related organizations, and personnel-in-charge for their support.
 Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties plans to continue support activities for Syrian cultural heritage in the future.


Participation at the 43rd Session of the World Heritage Committee

Deliberation on Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group
The exterior of the venue

 The 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee was convened in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan from June 30th to July 10th, 2019.
 Twenty nine heritage sites, including Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group in Japan, were inscribed on the World Heritage List at the session. This was the highest number of sites to be listed since the limit was established on the number of new sites the committee would deliberate on each year. This may seem like a good situation at first sight; however, of the inscribed sites, seven sites that the Advisory Bodies had originally considered did not meet the inscription criteria, but the decision was overturned and their inscription as heritage sites was confirmed at the committee session. For the past few years, as the committee’s decisions have been deviated from the counsel of the Advisory Bodies, the inscription of sites whose value and boundary are unclear has come into question, and it seems that this situation has still not been rectified.
 Considering this situation, the decision to establish an ad-hoc working group to review the nomination and assessment process was made in the 2018 committee meeting. The contents of the decision were discussed at this year’s meeting, and it was decided that the nomination process would be a two-stage system and that a “Preliminary Assessment” process would be implemented as an initial step in the nomination process. It is anticipated that this Preliminary Assessment will stimulate a dialogue between the Advisory Bodies and States Parties in the early stages, which will raise the quality of nomination dossiers. Presently, the Preliminary Assessment is being considered as a necessary process for all States Parties, and granting States Parties the right to decide whether or not to continue with the subsequent nomination process, irrespective of the Preliminary Assessment, is also under deliberation. Nevertheless, this discussion including on the subject of the commencing time has only just begun. Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties will continue to scrutinize discussions concerning world heritage in general, and collect and transmit diverse information pertaining to the implementation of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.


International Forum, “Restoration of Japanese Painting”, in Krakow, Poland

Lecture
Workshop on Japanese papermaking

 Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP), the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs, and the Manggha Museum of Japanese Art and Technology (Manggha Museum), held an international forum entitled “Restoration of Japanese Painting” at the Manggha Museum in Krakow, Poland on 29th and 30th July, 2019, in cooperation with the National Museum in Krakow, the Association for Conservation of National Treasures and the Association for Successors of Traditional Preservation Techniques. This forum was certified as one of the projects to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and Poland.
 TNRICP has been conducting “The Cooperative Program for the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects Overseas” since 1991. Three hanging scrolls in the collection of the National Museum in Krakow were restored within the framework of this program. In conjunction with the exhibition of these hanging scrolls and their restoration process, this forum was held for the purpose of promoting the understanding of the restoration of Japanese paintings through lectures, demonstrations, and workshops. Two of the selected conservation techniques, namely “Restoration techniques for mounts” and “Manufacture of materials and tools for conservation of mounted cultural properties,” were introduced. The manufacture of brushes, handmade washi paper (udagami) and decorative metal fittings were explained as an example of the production of materials and tools.
 In the expert meeting held on the first day, 31 conservators, restorers and students from nine countries participated in and experienced various traditional techniques and exchanged opinions with Japanese experts. In the open seminar, held on the second day, more than two hundred visitors from 15 countries participated in the gallery talk and the workshop covering Japanese papermaking. The holding of this forum served to promote not only the communication between conservators and restorers from around the world, but also was a valuable opportunity to obtain an understanding by the general public about the restoration techniques used with Japanese paintings and the traditional materials involved.


Cultural Exchange Project for the Conservation and Utilization of Historic Buildings in Bhutan (Part I)

Participants at the expert meeting
Case study of the utilization of traditional houses (Fukusumi)

 Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) provides the Royal Government of Bhutan with technical support and human resource development for heritage conservation and sustainable utilization of historic buildings, including traditional houses, under the scheme of International Cooperation Project for Cultural Heritage by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in Fiscal Year 2019. TNRICP invited two staff members of the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites (DCHS) from June 23rd to 28th to Japan to hold the first expert meeting and a case study tour in western Japan.
 At the meeting, Mr. Yeshi Samdrup of DCHS presented a report on the progress of the development of the legal system concerning cultural heritage, and Mr. Pema Wangchuk of DCHS made a presentation on the prospects for the protection of traditional houses and settlements. Participants shared the recent challenges and dilemmas concerning the protection of cultural heritage in Bhutan through their presentations and the subsequent discussion. The subject of the field survey scheduled for this August was also discussed, and the specific survey method has been almost fixed.
 In the case study tour, we visited the Ozaki family residence (Yurihama, Tottori), which is undergoing conservation work, and the Open Air Museum of Old Farm Houses (Toyonaka, Osaka) where typical traditional houses from all over Japan have been collected to study basic concepts of the protection of traditional houses as cultural property in Japan. We also visited historic towns and villages where historic townscapes have been rehabilitated, namely Shikano (Tottori), Oyacho-Osugi, Sasayama, Fukusumi (all above, Hyogo), and Miyamacho-Kita (Kyoto), to spread knowledge about community involvement and heritage tourism where traditional houses can be utilized as accommodation. The invitees were particularly interested in the nongovernmental management of cultural heritage that should be treated under the new law in Bhutan, and there was a lively exchange of views and opinions with the local presenters at each site.
 We would like to extend our deep appreciation to all the people involved in the tour for providing this opportunity.


Training for “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation” Held in the Republic of Turkey

Group photo of training course participants
Fieldwork at Ala Church

 The Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation conducted the training for “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation” last June 11th–15th, 2019. The training targeted conservators and restorers from national conservation and restoration centers in the Republic of Turkey.
 Following the inspection of the result of the workshop for experiments with restoration materials conducted in the previous training program, teachers from a wide range of specialty fields such as geology, structural design engineering, and art history were invited to the final training program (4th training program). The teachers were requested to consider comprehensive emergency procedures from the perspective of the various elements comprising the rock-hewn church, including the wall paintings, as forming a complex of cultural heritage. To verify what participants learned, fieldwork involving the creation of a hypothetical project plan to make emergency procedures on the wall paintings found at Ala Church in the Ihlara Valley was included in the training activity. On the last day, the training course came up with three themes arrived at based on the information gathered on the site: “environmental conservation,” “wall painting techniques and materials,” and “wall painting damage and emergency measure.” A discussion on the content of the presentations on these themes ensued. Following the training course, a questionnaire passed among the participants revealed a common sentiment: ”we reaffirm the importance of ’maintenance,‘ which we have largely ignored during the performance of our daily work duties.“
 Over the course of three years, this project that has sought to improve the conservation and management system for wall paintings in the Republic of Turkey has today reached a milestone. While nurturing the network created between Japan and the Republic of Turkey in the course of this project, we hope to continue our endeavors aimed at contributing to the conservation of cultural heritage.


Field Activities for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of Ta Nei Temple in Angkor, Cambodia (Part VI)

Site visit by members of the Ad Hoc Experts Group of ICC
Removal of scattered stone blocks with the mobile crane

 Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) 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. TNRICP dispatched a total of five staff members to Cambodia from May 19th to June 29th, 2019 in order to carry out preparatory work before the examination of the restoration plan for the East Gate by the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) and the start of the restoration work.
 APSARA and TNRICP submitted the plan for dismantling the structures to the ICC technical session, which was held on June 11th and 12th. As a result of careful deliberation including a site visit by the three members of the Ad Hoc Experts Group, the plan was adopted as proposed with minor corrections. As necessary preparation for the restoration work, we cleaned out and organized scattered stone blocks around the East Gate, and also carried out excavations for drainage route examination.
 We recorded and numbered scattered stone blocks and moved them out of the way of the restoration work. Thanks to the mobile crane provided by Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (NNRICP), which is restoring the Western Prasat Top Site, we were able to move the stone blocks in a short time.
 During the excavation we tried to clarify the difference in the old ground surface level between the northeast end of the Cruciform Terrace and around the East Gate, in order to examine the natural drainage route from the East Gate area. The elevation around the East Gate is lower than the surrounding area, and it is feared that rainwater may stagnate there, which is why we plan to set up a drainage channel to the North Moat for future maintenance. In addition, we found laterite stone paving which is presumed to be a part of the approach that connects the Cruciform Terrace and the East Gate. It is expected that further excavations will provide clearer information.


Exchange of Opinions at the Tirana University and Inspection of Wall Paintings Located at the Historic Center of Berat, Albania

The wall paintings in the Church of St. Mary Blaherna
The Church inside Berat Castle

 From May 19th to 23rd, 2019, members of the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation visited the Tirana University and the Historic Center of Berat, Albania. The aim was to build an international networks with specialists in the field of cultural heritage conservation / restoration and gather international information.
 At the Tirana University, Professor Edlira Çaushi spoke about the current state of system for educating students in the field of cultural heritage conservation. In the Historic Center of Berat, we visited Berat Castle and inspected the techniques and the state of conservation of wall paintings in churches built between the 13th and 16th centuries. We were extremely impressed with the quality of the wall paintings, which were painted in the post-Byzantine style, developed after the end of the Byzantine Empire with the fall of Constantinople (present day Istanbul) in 1453. Although it was clear that past restorations had taken place, the wall paintings have been inappropriately maintained thereafter and have again incurred major damage. Professor Edlira Çaushi discussed how one of the major problems in today’s Albania was the weak initiatives taken in relation to the maintenance of cultural heritage.
 Currently, the maintenance protocols undertaken on cultural heritage in various regions of Albania has come under scrutiny. Hereafter, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation will continue to gather information and exchange opinions with international specialists to consider how Japan may offer assistance to resolve this problem.


International Symposium: “Transmitting the Heritage of the Mesopotamian Civilization to Future Generations: The Challenge of Restoring Post-War Iraq through History Education”

All speakers

 On Saturday April 13th, 2019, the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, in cooperation with the Japanese-Iraqi Institute for Archaeological Education of Mesopotamia (JIAEM), convened the international symposium titled “Transmitting the Heritage of the Mesopotamian Civilization to Future Generations: The Challenge of Restoring Post-War Iraq through History Education.”
 The purpose of this symposium was to help in the understanding of what kind of specific support is sought in the fields of history education and cultural heritage preservation in Iraq, a country that has begun moving toward restoration.
 JIAEM representative Dr. Tatsundo KOIZUMI reported on the state of the ruins of the Mesopotamian civilization when he visited Iraq in the spring of 2017. For his part, Masashi ABE from Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties talked about the training of Iraqi specialists for conservation that the Institute has been conducting for many years. Dr. Hiromichi OGUCHI of Kokushikan University, on the other hand, spoke about the Iraq archaeological survey being conducted by his university since 1969. Dr. Mariya MASUBUCHI of the Kyoto University of Art and Design and Mr. Tomoyuki SAKAKIBARA of JIAEM gave presentations on the importance of manpower training in the field of cultural heritage preservation and on the state of archaeological educational support, respectively.
 Guest speakers included Professor Emad Dawood and Professor Naeem Alshwaly, who are both pedagogy experts from the University of Thi-Qar located in Nasiriyah, the birthplace of the Mesopotamian civilization. They gave lectures on the understanding of local students and teachers in Iraq toward the heritage of the Mesopotamian civilization and what kind of support is being sought from Japan.
 Finally, worth noting is how the attendees, including the guest speakers, engaged in a lively discussion about how Japan should be involved in Iraq’s cultural heritage preservation, history education, and manpower training. We hope that this symposium will serve as a first step toward international cooperation to restore post-war Iraq.


Field Activities for the Conservation and Sustainable Development of Ta Nei Temple in Angkor, Cambodia (Part V)

Survey of the east gate using a laser scanner
Topographical survey using a total station

 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) to conserve and manage the ruins of the Ta Nei Temple in Angkor, Cambodia. The fifth field study was conducted at this site from March 8th to 17th, 2019.
 Three-dimensional (3D) measurements of the east gate were recorded and a topographical survey around the site was conducted with the assistance of Associate Professor Takeshi OISHI’s laboratory in the Institute of Industrial Science, the University of Tokyo, and survey expert Mr. Kenji UCHIDA, in association with the APSARA staff.
 Although the east gate is the original main gate of this temple, it is away from the current traffic line for tourists. As many of the constituent building materials are unstable, appropriate repairs must be made from the perspective of the exhibition. The measurements were performed using a laser scanner and a drone equipped with a camera to capture detailed 3D recordings of the gate as well as the position and shape of stones scattered in the vicinity. Based on the information obtained, the state of deformation and damage will be comprehensively grasped and applied to consider specific repair plans.
 A topographical survey was conducted using a total station mainly on the southeastern area of the site, which had not been surveyed thus far. Using the collected data, a detailed topographical map of the overall site can be created, which will contribute to maintaining the temple area and can be applied to the surrounding temples over a wide range.


Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of the Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal” (Part 12)

The 2nd Mayors’ Forum

 As part of the above-mentioned project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) continues to support the building of an administrative network to preserve historic settlements in Nepal. The “2nd Mayors’ Forum on Conservation of Historic Settlements in Kathmandu and Kavre Valley” was held in Lalitpur Metropolitan City on March 12th, 2019, under the joint auspices of Lalitpur municipality and TNRICP, which dispatched eight researchers.
 At the 1st Mayors’ Forum held in Panauti in 2017, the state of preserving historic settlements and related issues were shared and discussed. The theme of the second forum was “conservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage in historic settlements.” Presentations were given by experts from Nepal and Japan and a discussion was held with the attendees. On the day in question, around 80 people, including 11 mayors, 8 deputy mayors, and several government-affiliated engineers, participated from 14municipalities.
 From the Nepal side, presentations were given on festivals and intangible cultural heritage such as festivals and craftworks in four municipalities and initiatives to pass them on to future generations as well as historic settlement surveys and conservation initiatives after the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake. From the Japan side, Tomoko MORI, Associate Professor at Sapporo City University, presented the survey results from Khokana village, while Hiromichi KUBOTA, Head of the Intangible Folk Cultural Properties Section of TNRICP, presented the survey results of intangible cultural heritage in Khokana and the state of conserving intangible cultural heritage in Japan.
 Both countries have common issues in conserving local cultural heritage, such as lack of personnel and funding. In Nepal, as changes in traditional local communities accelerate, a sustainable framework for conserving cultural heritage in local communities and appropriate support from the local government under the leadership of mayors are essential.
 We will continue to provide technical assistance while sharing information and deepening dialogue between the two countries.


A Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of the Damaged Cultural Heritage in Nepal” (Part 11)

Investigating a sample from target building
Sample with the finishing layer from each period carved out in tiers

 As part of this project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Japanese Government, a compositional analysis of the finishing layer of a group of buildings adjacent to Aganchen Temple at Hanumandhoka Palace, Kathmandu, was performed using an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, etc., from February 22nd to 28th, 2019, with permission from the Department of Archaeology, Government of Nepal.
 On-site surveys conducted so far have revealed that a number of extensions and structural alterations had been made to these buildings. In particular, the wall finish recoating history and the remaining finishing layers at hidden areas of retrofitted support members are important clue in learning about the changes to the buildings. Study on the specifications and coloring of each recoated layer has continued.
 This time, the composing materials of the finishing layers were identified in order to understand how specifications changed according to the times, and a scientific analysis was performed using an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer and a Raman spectrometry system to examine the history of extensions and structural alterations.
 A fragment of the finishing layers investigated comprised a maximum of 10 different sets of layers. Surface and undercoat layers from each period were carved out in tiers and analyzed.
 Red iron oxide and minute amounts of gold were confirmed in red-colored areas of the old mural painting layer, and a spectrum quite similar to lapis lazuli was derived from the sky-blue finishing layer recoated in later years. While a detailed analysis of the derived data has yet to be performed, it can be inferred from the use of such precious materials that these buildings had continued to be used as important ritual or residential spaces for a royal family since their initial construction in the 17th century.
 In the process of surveying the remains, a mural painting was discovered behind the extended wall section, and it is possible that this mural dates back to a period just after the original construction of the building. Further surveys, including through scientific methods, such as the one used this time, and studies of appropriate preservation measures are still needed.
 Hereafter, we will continue to elucidate the history concealed in the buildings themselves, and while preserving such significant material evidence, we will consider how to go about restoring these buildings in association with the Nepalese counterpart.


Conservation and Restoration of the Outer Walls of Brick Temples and Studies of Mural Paintings in Bagan, Myanmar (2)

(Workshop for young local specialists)
Manuha Temple Group, No.1 Temple

 The restoration work implemented from July to August, 2018, at Me-taw-ya (No. 1205) Temple, which is a brick temple at the Bagan Archaeological Site in Myanmar, was continued during the period from January 14th to February 3rd, 2019, and the outer wall of the brick temple was restored mainly to protect the mural paintings from rain leaks. The restoration of the damaged area caused by the 2016 earthquake is still ongoing in Bagan, and local specialists have asked us for advice on creating repair strategy in line with current conditions and on restoration methods. In response to this request for assistance, we conducted a workshop for five local conservators and five engineers and discussed solutions while listening to their issues.
 Meanwhile, we conducted a study on mural painting techniques and iconography in Myanmar. We collected detailed information particularly on works from the heyday of Bagan in the 13th century. We also visited towns such as Amin and Anayn along the Chindwin River, where many mural paintings from the 17th–18th centuries can be found. Research on existing mural paintings in Myanmar has been largely completed and we will reflect the results of the study in the restoration methods.
 This time, we heard from some of local specialists that quite a few of continuing international projects for cultural property protection conducted by foreign countries are difficult to actually establish and that few post-earthquake preservation activities lead to a solution of the fundamental problem. While we have implemented our work until now with such awareness, we will put further efforts into proposing more practical improvement measures and transmitting sustainable restoration techniques.


Holding the Seminar “Wooden Architectural Techniques in Mainland Southeast Asia: Development and Mutual Influences”

A presentation during the seminar

 Since 2017, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has held three seminars on the topic of wooden architecture in Southeast Asia. The first and second seminars were focused on clarifying the features of already lost ancient wooden buildings through archaeological data. The third seminar was held on December 16th, 2018 under the title “Wooden Architectural Techniques in Mainland Southeast Asia: Development and Mutual Influences”. This time, the objective was to analyze the features of existing buildings in order to deepen our understanding of wooden architectural techniques, their development, and the influences both inside and outside the region.
 Mr. François Tainturier, from the Inya Institute of Myanmar Studies, made a presentation about Myanmar and Cambodia. Wooden architecture in both these countries is characterized by the use of a simple structural framework, with few horizontal members, supporting straight multi-tiered roofs. Especially in the case of Myanmar, roofs are profusely decorated with carvings.
 Mr. Pongthorn Hiengkaew, from the Fine Arts Department, Ministry of Culture of Thailand, made a presentation about wooden buildings in Thailand. Although their features vary depending on region and period, as a common feature, horizontal members and struts are employed in order to create roofs with curved shapes.
 Finally, questions from the audience were answered and a panel discussion was held with the participation of Mr. Shoichi OTA, from the Kyoto Institute of Technology, with the objective of laying the foundations for a history of wooden architecture in Southeast Asia beyond current national divisions.
 The proceedings of this seminar will be published next fiscal year.


“Workshop on Conservation and Restoration of Urushi Objects” in Cologne, Germany

Practical work on applying urushi

 The Workshop on Conservation and Restoration of Urushi Objects was held at Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst, Museen Köln (Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne), Germany, from November 26th to 30th, 2018. Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) has conducted the annual workshops with the cooperation of the Museum since 2007. The aim of the workshop is to preserve and utilize urushi objects (lacquerware) in museum collections outside Japan. This year’s workshop was the basic course focusing on the knowledge and techniques required for storing, maintaining and handling the urushi objects, and six conservators attended from several countries around the world.
 The lectures included the chemical structure and properties of urushi, the structure and decorations of urushi objects, the typical damages and degradation, and the appropriate storage environment. Case studies on conservation and restoration of urushi objects in Japan were also introduced, and principles of restoration and processes of applied treatments were explained. The practical work on applying urushi to the wooden spoons helped the participants to understand the characteristics of urushi more clearly. Furthermore, the participants experienced the remedial treatment of an urushi object such as stabilizing the damaged areas and cleaning the surface. The ways of selecting and making of tools used in conservation were also explained. On the last day of the workshop, various topics, for example, the differences on conservation ethics and principles between the East and the West and the possible application of knowledge and techniques acquired in this workshop were discussed.
 It is hoped that introducing the fundamental knowledge and Japanese conservation techniques of urushi objects to the conservation specialists overseas will contribute to the safer preservation and utilization of the urushi objects overseas.


Investigation of Rock-Hewn Church Frescos in Southern Italy

Chiesa rupestre di Sant’Antonio Abate
La Cripta di Santa Maria Degli Angeli

 From November 12th through 20th, 2018, we investigated the frescos painted inside the rock-hewn churches in Puglia, Southern Italy. This investigation aims to reflect its outcomes in the training program for the mural paintings inside the rock-hewn churches in Cappadocia as part of the “Human Resource Development Project toward the Improvement of the Conservation and Management System for Mural Paintings in the Republic of Turkey” commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs
 We observed Byzantine-style frescos painted on the stone walls inside Cripta di Quandedra and Chiesa rupestre di Sant’Antonio Abate in Massafra, as well as Cripta di Santa Maria Degli Angeli and Cripta dei Santi Stefani di Vaste in Poggiardo. We conducted the investigation by paying attention to their fresco techniques and used materials, as well as their status and current conservation and management conditions with their surrounding environments taken into consideration. Consequently, we found that both Southern Italy and Cappadocia had common conservation and management issues, and that there were actions which had been taken in Italy but not in Turkey.
 For this investigation, we asked the experts working for the Opificio delle Pietre Dure di Firenze, who have been cooperating in our training programs, to accompany us and organize the collected information. In the program planned in June 2019, we will tell the trainees under what circumstances the similar wall paintings are placed in Italy to seek better conservation and management approaches after reflecting these investigation results.


Research Visits to Universities in the framework of the “Human Resource Development Project toward the Improvement of the Conservation and Management System for Mural Paintings in the Republic of Turkey”

Exchanging opinions in the oil painting restoration laboratory
Ongoing survey on educational facilities

 As part of the above-mentioned program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, we visited Turkish universities which have cultural property conservation and restoration courses to survey their educational systems from November 4th to 9th, 2018. For FY 2018, we made visits to the Department of Cultural Heritage Conservation and Restoration, the Faculty of Fine Arts, Ankara University, and the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Movable Cultural Assets, the Faculty of Letters, Istanbul University, in addition to the Department of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Properties, the Faculty of Fine Arts, Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli University (former Gazi University) which has been cooperating in the key training program of this project, “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation.” At each university, faculty members delivered a presentation on teaching programs restoration techniques together with briefing on educational facilities. We also tried to clarify and share the current educational issues associated with conservation of cultural properties through opinion exchanges.
 Taking advantage of its merits as a university organization, every university endeavored to solve facility and human resource shortages by promoting joint projects with another course and a local government concerned. The faculty members of each university were experts who had been technically trained for conservation and restoration of cultural properties in the western countries and Europe regardless of their training periods. On the other hand, we found that it would be essential to reinforce their educational systems further for diverse cultural properties in need scattered throughout Turkey.
 Many of the graduates from these universities are now working for the national conservation and restoration centers, to which the trainees of the mural painting conservation program belong. The outcomes of this survey will be utilized for our deeper understanding of their educational backgrounds.


to page top