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


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.


Survey of Japanese-Style Paintings in Montreal, Canada

A survey at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

 Old Japanese works of art owned by overseas museums and art galleries play an important role in introducing Japanese culture. However, due to a shortage of overseas experts in the conservation and restoration of such works, proper measures are not taken and numerous works cannot be exhibited or utilized. Therefore, this Institute has undertaken a project to cooperate in the conservation and restoration of overseas old Japanese works of art for their proper conservation and utilization. This time, we surveyed the works possessed by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, which strongly requested us to cooperate in the restoration of its collection having great significance. Located in Montreal, the Museum which was founded as the Art Association of Montreal in 1860, is the oldest museum in Canada. Today, it has more than 43,000 pieces of works from ancient times to modern times, which include several Japanese arts and crafts.
 For the survey conducted from November 26th through 28th, 2018, four staff members of the Institute visited there: Masato KATO and Hee Jae WON from Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation; Tomoko EMURA and Rei MAIZAWA from the Department of Art Research, Archives and Information Systems. We surveyed 15 artworks (17 pieces) of Japanese-style paintings and 3 artworks of Japanese textiles by considering their needs and urgency for restoration, as well as their value in the art history.
 We will share the information obtained through the survey with the curators and conservators of the Museum for smooth conservation and exhibition of the works.


On-site Workshops on the Conservation of Historic Brick Buildings in Bagan and Participation in the 1st ICC Meeting

The on-site workshop in Bagan

 Since the August 2016 Chauk Earthquake in Myanmar, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) has been carrying out research and survey activities directed at improving the quality of the conservation work of the damaged historic brick buildings in Bagan, as part of a cooperation project commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Japanese Government (recommissioned by the Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, NNRICP). On November 13th and 14th, 2018, two workshops were held at the Myanmar Engineering Society (Yangon) and the Bagan Branch Office of the Department of Archaeology and National Museum (Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture) respectively, to share the results of this project with local experts.
 Members of TNRICP and Japanese experts were lecturers at the workshops and they focused on three main topics: traditional brick masonry techniques, structural features of brick buildings, and chemical analysis of traditional mortar. In addition, local experts from each partner institution made presentations on the current state of conservation and repair works of brick buildings in Bagan. The workshops concluded with a questions and answers session and an opinion exchange between Japanese and local experts.
 The results of this project will be published in a report and shared with the local experts so that they can be applied further to conservation and restoration work.
 In addition, the Third Technical Coordination Forum for Safeguarding Bagan and the First International Coordination Committee (ICC) was held in Bagan on November 17th and 18th, 2018. The objective of the meeting, chaired by the Minister of Religious Affairs and Culture, was to share information and coordinate efforts between different local and foreign expert teams carrying out conservation work at Bagan. Experts from TNRICP took part in the meeting and made a presentation on the currently ongoing cooperation projects by TNRICP and NNRICP.


Seminar II on Environmental Management at Museums for Iranian Researchers

Lecture on environmental management at museums
Insect damage survey in the library of the National Museum of Iran

 In March 2017, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties exchanged a letter of intent with the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) and the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT) to commit its cooperation in various academic fields for the protection of Iranian cultural heritage over the next five years.
 During the preliminary survey to explore the partner country’s needs conducted in Iran in October 2016, we saw serious air pollution in the capital city of Tehran and Iranian experts consulted us about the pollution that resulted in damage to cultural properties. They said that even metal products displayed and housed in the National Museum of Iran might be eroding. Based on this information, we invited two researchers to Japan for a seminar and a study tour on environmental management at museums in 2017.
 This year, we organized an on-site seminar by delivering lectures on environmental management at museums in the National Museum of Iran. The seminars were held over two days and were mostly led by Director Chie SANO of the Center for Conservation Science and Visiting Researcher Toshitami RO, who specialize in that field. The lecture explained how to measure and analyze chemical substances related to environmental pollution and indoor air conditioning. In addition, using equipment brought from Japan, a presentation was given on how to measure chemical substances. An Iranian expert also delivered a presentation on the results of air pollution monitoring conducted in Iran. This successful lecture attracted 20 or more local specialists from neighboring museums.
 This year, instruments to monitor environmental quality were installed both inside and outside the Museum to survey the actual status of air pollution. The results showed with near certainty that air pollution was affecting the items housed and displayed in the Museum. A report proposing concrete measures and advice is to be submitted to the Museum.
 In response to the insect damage consultation at the Museum’s library, Associate Fellow Yukio KOMINE and other members completed a survey of the situation. A termite path was found in the library wall during the survey, but it was an old one, not a current one. They will now continue to monitor the situation by installing adhesive traps brought from Japan to check for other insect damages.
In 2019, we will continue to cooperate in various fields for the protection of Iranian cultural heritage.


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

Unearthed west wing of the terrace structure

 Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties has been engaged in technical cooperation with the Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap (APSARA) for the project to conserve and manage Ta Nei Temple in Cambodia. From August 20th to October 7th, 2018, the fourth archaeological investigation was conducted.
 With the cooperation of staff from APSARA, the archaeological investigation was carried out at the terrace structure on the upper surface of the embankment of the East Baray reservoir discovered thus far. In addition, the approach, which is expected to have existed between the terrace structure and the east gate of the temple, was also investigated.
 As for the terrace structure, because of the extension of the investigation area to the west, the west wing, which measures 6 meters east to west and 2.5 meters north to south, was unearthed; this was in addition to the east wing discovered last year. Although the upper stone materials were missing, the foundation existed in all circumferences. This discovery resulted in clarifying the fact that the structure is 18 meters in scale from east to west. According to a parallel case, the original terrace structure was assumed to be cross-shaped along with the north and south wings, which are still unexcavated. Further excavation should provide evidence that backs up this speculation.
 As for the approach, we attempted to clarify its width and the condition of its sides by further expanding the 2017 investigation area. This resulted in revealing the fact that the approach is approximately 11 meters in width and that certain facilities might have existed on both sides, which are around 50 centimeters higher than the approach.
 We are planning to prepare explanation boards for tourists visiting the site. In parallel with the academic investigation, we will also proceed with establishing a management system for access and utilization.


Training for “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation” in the “Human Resource Development Project toward the Improvement of the Conservation and Management System for Mural Paintings in the Republic of Turkey”

Making a presentation on research outcomes
Workshop for experiments with restoration materials

 As part of the above-mentioned program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the training for “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation” was conducted at the St. Theodore (Tagar) Church in Cappadocia from October 15th to 20th, 2018. Like the previous training in June, this third training program attracted 30 conservators and restorers from 10 national conservation and restoration centers in the Republic of Turkey.
 This training aims to review the existing emergency procedures working as the linchpin to conserve mural paintings in Turkey, as well as to establish the protocol. In this third training program, we conducted experiments for various effective restoration materials to use in emergency procedures from diversified perspectives, and all the trainees verified the results. On the last day of the training, the Head of the Analytical Science Section, Dr. Masahide INUZUKA, delivered a presentation on the research outcomes of the terahertz imaging technology used for wall paintings in the Takamatsuzuka Tumulus at Cappadocia University. During the training, opinions were also exchanged over how mural paintings should be conserved and restored in Japan and Turkey.
 The participants commented that they learned a great deal from the process of reverifying the characteristics of the restoration materials with which they were familiar, as well as from knowing the efforts being made for conservation and restoration of wall paintings outside of Turkey, where those opportunities are rare.
 The next training will be conducted in June 2019. With the goal of skill enhancement through continued on-the-job training, the trainers and trainees will invest their efforts into establishing the protocol for emergency procedures in Turkey.


International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper 2018

Practical session

 The International Course on Conservation of Japanese Paper was run from August 27th to September 14th, 2018. This course has been jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) since 1992. It is aimed at contributing to the protection of cultural property outside Japan by disseminating the knowledge and techniques of conservation and restoration of paper cultural property in Japan to participants from around the world. This year, 10 specialists in conservation from 10 countries (Argentina, Australia, Bhutan, Canada, Denmark, Fiji, France, Poland, the UK and Zambia) were selected as participants among 80 applications from 38 countries.
 The course was composed of lectures, practical sessions and an excursion. The lectures covered protection systems of both tangible and intangible cultural property in Japan, basic insights into 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 gained 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, 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, the conservation materials for paper cultural properties and approach to the selection of appropriate materials for paper conservation were discussed.
 The participants could gain a deeper understanding of not only conservation materials and tools used in Japan but also conservation approaches and techniques using Japanese paper throughout this course. We hope that the knowledge and techniques they acquired in the course will be applied to conservation and restoration of cultural property overseas.


“Workshops on Conservation of Japanese Textile” in Taipei

Basic workshop: lecture on Japanese textiles
Advanced workshop: practical work to understand the characteristics of dyes

 Two workshops on the conservation of Japanese textiles were jointly organized by Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TNRICP) and National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese textiles overseas. A basic workshop “Cultural Properties of Textile in Japan” was held from August 8th to 10th and an advanced workshop “Conservation of Japanese Textile” was held from August 13th to 17th, 2018. Both were conducted at the Research Center for Conservation of Cultural Relics in NTNU by researchers specialized in textiles and conservators from Japan and Taiwan. The participants were conservators, researchers and students; the basic course had nine participants from six countries and the advanced one had six participants from five countries.
 The basic workshop started with lectures on the systems of protection of tangible and intangible cultural properties, and moved its focus to fibers and threads as textile materials and some of the representative textiles in Japan. Following the lectures, the participants also experienced folding and displaying Japanese garments (kimono). The practical work on making a paper model of kimono helped the participants to understand the general way in which kimono is constructed from a bolt of fabric. The first half of the advanced workshop focused on the identification of dyes, surface cleaning and wet cleaning. The latter half introduced a Japanese approach to textile conservation and treatment, and the participants experienced stitching a support silk fabric to the back side of an old textile fragment and making an enclosure for it. In both workshops, there were lectures on case studies, and various methods of the display and conservation of Japanese textiles were shared. It served as an opportunity to comprehend conservation materials and application methods as well as textile materials and techniques.
 Similar projects will continue to be implemented with the aim of contributing to not only the conservation and utilization of Japanese tangible textile objects abroad, but also the preservation of related intangible cultural properties.


Workshop on the Conservation of Historic Textiles in the Republic of Armenia

Practical training with historic textiles
Analysis of the fiber structure by microscope

 From June 25th through July 6th, 2018, Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties organized a workshop on the conservation of historic textiles in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture in the Republic of Armenia. Based on the cooperation agreement regarding the cultural heritage protection area established between them in 2014, this workshop was implemented for the second time following last year.
 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. Mie ISHII, a visiting researcher from the Japan Center for International Cooperation in Conservation, and Ms. Midori YOKOYAMA from the NHK Culture Center Saitama, as lecturers. Fourteen trainees from seven institutions such as museums and galleries in Armenia attended the workshop. At the Scientific Research Center, historic textiles unearthed from archaeological sites in the 12th century, which the Center possesses, were analyzed by microscope before practical training on how they should be stored. At the Museum of the Mother See, the trainees stitched the Museum’s textiles for reinforcement with more advanced techniques before exhibiting them at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the United States in September.
 This time, we provided practical training with historic textiles that provided the trainees with very good experience. We will organize a workshop in 2019 as well to transfer our knowledge and techniques to Armenian specialists.

/ Hiroo KANSHA)

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

Ongoing work at the pagoda dome
Wall painting of Pokala Temple (portion)

 From July 11th to August 5th, 2018, we conducted conservation and restoration work on the outer walls of Me-taw-ya Temple (No. 1205), a brick temple at the Bagan Archaeological Site in Myanmar, aiming primarily to protect the mural paintings from rain. Continuing the work implemented from this January through February, we reviewed the portions damaged by the earthquake in 2016, and considered the restoration methods for stucco decorations and joint fillers that would affect the beauty of its facade. As a result, we successfully indicated how collapsed bricks should be restored together with the materials to be used, which was highly esteemed by the Bagan Branch, the Department of Archaeology and National Museums, the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture of Myanmar.
 In addition, we continually conducted studies on art history, iconography, and the evolution of mural painting techniques in Myanmar. First, we collected further information on representative mural paintings from the 11th century through the 13th century in Bagan for a greater understanding. Second, we moved to Mandalay from where we visited temples scattered in Inwa, Sagaing, Amarapura, and Kyaukse in order to grasp the features of wall paintings from the 17th century through the 19th century.
 During our stay in Myanmar, we visited the Embassy of Japan in Yangon to briefly outline this project. We will share information on our activities to conserve cultural properties in Bagan through regular progress reports.


A Survey on the Conservation of Traditional Houses in Bhutan

Removing the Collapsed Wooden Members of the Old House
Memorial Service at Changangkha Lhakhang

 In cooperation with the Division for Conservation of Heritage Sites, Department of Culture, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs of Bhutan, we surveyed traditional houses built with the rammed earth construction technique in the capital, Thimphu, and the Paro Dzongkhag from July 16th to July 24th, 2018.
 We focused on an old house located in Kabesa Village in the northern outskirts of Thimphu as the best example of a house built in an ancient style among the old farm houses we discovered through the surveys. Regrettably, the upper floors and other wooden elements of the house, which had been left uninhabited for many years, collapsed last year, but its external walls built with rammed earth remain. As a result of emphasizing the significance of preserving this house at a workshop held in the city in March 2018, the owner withdrew his intention to demolish the house, and a movement began toward its restoration. In response to this, we collected the wooden members of the house, and individually recorded and identified their original locations, before placing them into temporary storage. We confirmed that the members were far less damaged or missing than expected, which enables an accurate restoration. We expect that examination of concrete restoration and utilization measures will progress after this.
 Since 2016, the research and study of old houses in Bhutan has been conducted under Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research. During our stay in Bhutan this time, we received the sad news that the representative of the research project, Dr. Nobuo KAMEI, Director General of Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, had passed away. The Bhutanese people involved in the cooperation project proposed that we should hold a memorial service for the DG at Changangkha Lhakhang, a venerable temple overlooking the city of Thimphu. The staff members involved in the joint activities gathered there to pray for the repose of his soul by lighting 108 votive candles.


Workshops on the Conservation of Japanese Art Objects on Paper and Silk in Berlin, Germany

Lecture on handling of folding screens
Practical work on restoration of a hanging scroll

 These workshops are held annually for the purpose of preservation and utilization of Japanese art objects, such as paintings and calligraphic works overseas, and promotion of the understanding of these objects. This year, the basic course “Japanese Paper and Silk Cultural Properties” held from July 4th to 6th, 2018, and the advanced course “Restoration of Japanese Hanging Scrolls” held from July 9th to 13th were conducted at the Asian Art Museum, National Museums in Berlin (Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin) with the support of the Asian Art Museum and Museum of Technology (Deutsches Technikmuseum).
 In the basic course, 13 restorers, conservators and students from ten countries participated. This course consisted of lectures, demonstrations, and practical work that covered the process from the creation of a cultural property to its appearance before the public, that is, its creation, mounting, exhibition and viewing. Participants were lectured on the materials used for the cultural properties, such as adhesives, mineral pigments and paper, and participated in the practical work of painting on silk, Chinese ink painting and handling of hanging scrolls.
 In the advanced course, instructors from a certified group that holds the Selected Conservation Techniques dubbed “Restoration techniques for mounts” conducted practical work sessions and lectures to ten restorers from six countries. The instructors demonstrated techniques such as lining and reattachment of roller knobs, and the participants experienced the removing and attaching of the rods of a hanging scroll during the practical work sessions. Through these sessions, the participants could gain an understanding of the structure of hanging scrolls and knowledge and techniques for the restoration of hanging scrolls. Discussions were actively held in both courses. In addition to a question and answer session, opinions about restoration and applications of Japanese techniques and materials were exchanged.
 Similar projects will be implemented with the aim of contribution to the preservation and utilization of Japan’s tangible and intangible cultural properties overseas by sharing information about conservation materials and techniques in Japan with conservators overseas.


Training for “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation” in the “Human Resource Development Project toward the Improvement of the Conservation and Management System for Mural Paintings in the Republic of Turkey”

The plaster being temporarily held on
Preparation of damage illustrations

 As part of the above-mentioned program commissioned by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the training for “Examination and Implementation of Emergency Procedures for Wall Painting Conservation” was conducted at the St. Theodore (Tagar) Church in Cappadocia from June 25th to 28th, 2018. Similar to the previous year, this second training program attracted 30 conservators and restorers from 10 national conservation and restoration centers in the Republic of Turkey.
 This training aims to review the existing emergency procedures working as the linchpin to conserve mural paintings in Turkey, as well as to establish the protocol. For this training, the conservation status of the frescoes painted inside the rock-hewn church was carefully observed for recording, and the plaster with flaking risks was temporarily held on. On the last day of the training, the techniques and materials used as emergency measures were discussed with the trainees.
 As for the first seminar held in October 2017, introductory lectures on basic concepts in conservation and restoration of wall paintings were delivered. This practical training allowed the trainees to experience concrete intervention methods while contemplating which specific emergency measures would work under the framework of the previous seminar. The trainees commented that the objective of the training became clearer due to this on-site training.
 The next training will be conducted in October 2018. Aiming for the skill enhancement through the continued on-the-job training, the trainers and trainees will invest much effort into the establishment of the protocol for emergency procedures in Turkey.


International Course on Paper Conservation in Latin America in Mexico City

Explanation of the tools
Practical work and lecture on adhesives

 From May 28th to June 13th, 2018, 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. This year, 11 conservation specialists from 8 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Spain) participated.
 TNRICP hosted the first part of the course (May 29th to June 5th). TNRICP researchers and the instructor, who is from a certified group that holds the Selected Conservation Techniques dubbed “Restoration Techniques of Mounting,” offered practical works and lectures on the materials, tools, and techniques used for conservation. The objective of these sessions was to apply Japanese restoration techniques to cultural properties overseas. The practical session was carried out with CNCPC staff members, who learned “Restoration Techniques of Mounting” for several months at TNRICP.
 In the latter half of the course (June 6th to June 13th), specialists in the restoration of cultural properties from Mexico, Spain, and Argentina gave lectures. The main theme was the application of traditional handmade Japanese paper to Western conservation and restoration techniques. They spoke about how to select materials and apply their techniques to Western paper cultural properties. The lecturers had previously participated in international courses organized by TNRICP, and we were able to reaffirm that informational and practical exchanges through these courses contribute to the protection of cultural properties overseas.


The 42nd Session of the World Heritage Committee

Deliberation of “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region”
“Qal’at al-Bahrain – Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun,” a World Heritage Site in Bahrain

 From June 24th through July 4th, 2018, the 42nd session of the World Heritage Committee was held in Manama, the capital of Bahrain. Staff members of this institute attended the session, and collected information on a variety of discussions over the World Heritage Convention.
During the deliberation of inscription on the World Heritage List, the Committee often adopted decisions against recommendations by the Advisory Bodies as with the previous year. Among the nineteen sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, the Advisory Bodies had determined that seven sites were not sufficient as World Heritage Sites. This year in particular, some of the sites on which non-inscription had been recommended by the Advisory Bodies were decided to be inscribed on the List by the Committee. Several States Parties attending the session as observers criticized the attitude of the Committee members referring to it as disregard for expertise.
 The States Parties will also suffer adverse effects from ignoring recommendations from the Advisory Bodies. Forceful inscription will obscure the value of the sites, prevent establishing proper boundaries and eventually cause trouble in the conservation and management of the inscribed sites. In response to such unfavorable circumstances, the Advisory Bodies and the World Heritage Centre have made efforts to achieve mutual understanding and improvement in nomination details through dialogues with States Parties during the evaluation process. However, that has not achieved satisfactory outcomes so far.
 Under the circumstances, “Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region” nominated by Japan, whose registration had been recommended by the Advisory Bodies, were unanimously decided to be inscribed on the List. Although their nomination dossier was submitted once in 2015, it was withdrawn considering the Advisory Bodies’ opinion, followed by its refinement over two years. As Japan realized this inscription with a huge amount of efforts through re-nomination, its sincere approach to implement the World Heritage Convention is highly esteemed.


Mission for the Project “Technical Assistance for the Protection of the Damaged Cultural Properties in Nepal (Part 10)

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.


Conducting Training Seminars to Conserve and Restore Paper Cultural Properties for Syrian Experts and Providing Materials Related to Syrian Cultural Heritage

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.


to page top