Activity Report (1998) Part 2   IV. Preserving, Documenting or Increasing Public Access to Tangible and Intangible Culture

Japan Sotoshu Relief Committee (JSRC) (Cambodia)
Revival and Promotion of Traditional Culture, and Improvement of the Educational Environment in Cambodia through Library Activities

¥ 2,163,920
This is the second phase of the Asia Center-supported project to rekindle the 'spiritual' sense among Cambodian children in an educational environment through library activities. Various activities have been continued from the previous year. These included: workshops for teachers, librarians, and provincial education officers; management of six fixed libraries; operation of mobile library activities in Youth Rehabilitation Centers and orphanages; publication and distribution of picture books. This year also witnessed an increase in the number of volunteer teachers and librarians in the mobile library, and the broadening of the network between the project and other domestic and international educational organizations.


Faculty of Choreographic Arts, Royal University of Fine Arts (Cambodia)
Research and Documentation of Cambodian Dance

¥ 3,513,522
Given the massive disappearance of classical and traditional dances, dancers, and teachers due to the past repressive regimes, Cambodian dance preservation is in a desperate state. The School tapped the Asia Center's grant to undertake research documentation to amass information from surviving individuals in the Capital as well as in remote provinces. Through an extensive and rigorous process, dancers and elder masters were interviewed, manuscripts deciphered and recorded in a somewhat standardized format to facilitate a future common denomination system among Khmer dance scholars, teachers, and performers. Three major documents have already been printed while six others were in the pipeline at the end of the project. Additionally, the dances are being taught in the School and a considerable number of younger students are now reliving the dance traditions of Cambodia.


Working Group for Asian Activities Development (Hong Kong, China)
Preparatory Works on the Establishment of a Resource and Training Center in Hong Kong for Activities Education

¥ 954,000
This was the continuation of a feasibility study to establish an Asian-based training center for Asian archivists. After convening a working group and consulting with relevant universities in Canada last year, the project proceeded with preparatory tasks with partial support of Asia Center. This year, the working group organized a seminar in Suzhou, China, entitled "Education and Professional Development for Asian Archivists." Concurrently, a survey was conducted to gauge the need for such training to be established in Asia. Confident that the training center is indeed a necessity, the project went on to consult with Monash University in Australia. In the end, the working group decided to engage the University of British Columbia to be the partner and incubator for a Hong Kong-based training center that is scheduled to commence operation in May 2001.


Madras Craft Foundation (India)
Maker and Meaning: Craft and Society

¥ 4,204,163
The Foundation, aspiring to be the catalyst of craft development and sustainable marketing in Southern India, used the Asia Center's grant to undertake a seminar workshop along with its accompanying research and publication. Six researchers were deployed to interact with indigenous craft persons in basket and fiber weaving, tribal embroidery, woodcarving, and many other traditional craft forms as well as document the traditional crafts and establish relations between the Foundation and craft persons. In a special workshop, 26 artisans interacted with fellows from different branches in their native language. In a concurrent international workshop, 15 participants from nine countries joined more than 20 Indian fellows to discuss issues of, among others, the role of craft persons in contemporary society, gender issues in the realm of crafts, tradition and apprenticeship training, the importance of organization micro-production and marketing, and product design.


Indian Council of Conservation Institutes, INTACH (India)
Training in Conservation of Palm-leaf Manuscripts

¥ 3,490,042
The institute set about educating librarians, curators and custodians of manuscripts in techniques of restoration and preventative measures to save thousands of palm-leaf and paper manuscripts which exist in South and Southeast Asia. With recent scientific breakthroughs the institute was able to inform conservation trainees in the proper methods of handling, storing and conserving such important documents. As well as the sessions in India, the institute also conducted a workshop in Colombo, Sri Lanka at the National Museum that houses a large collection of palm-leaf and paper manuscripts. The institute has also visualized the development of a reference book and video for a distance learning program for those individuals who cannot make the training sessions.


Institute of Dayakology Research and Development (Indonesia)
Transcription and Preservation of Recorded Dayak Oral Traditions in West Kalimantan

¥ 2,699,900
The Dayak indigenous communities in Western Kalimantan are facing the prospect of losing their oral traditions. This grant has enabled the Institute to overcome time, institutional, and technological constraints to save the Dayak's intangible heritage. This project made it then possible to recruit full time transcribers from among the indigenous community, to actually transcribe audio materials, and to preserve the oral traditions from analog tapes onto digital CDs. With this the Institute also published a book and produced a radio drama in Dayak vernacular. At the present time, 20% of the institute's tape collection has been transcribed.


National Prehistoric Department, the National Research Centre of Archaeology (Indonesia)
Colloquium on "Sangiran: Man, Culture and Environment in Pleistocene"

¥ 962,686
At Sangiran, artifacts that potentially reveals human history as far back as 800,000 years have been discovered. This colloquium was productive in consolidating scattered studies on Sangiran. Almost 50 experts and specialists from France, Japan, the U.S.A, Australia, Malaysia, and Indonesia participated in discussions and a field excursion to the excavation sites. Concurrently, an exhibition and mass media campaign were also organized to raise the general public's awareness regarding the importance of the site. In the end, the colloquium enhanced the significance of Sangiran as one of the world's cultural heritage sites and thus called for intensified protection and safeguarding of the sites as well as the eventual development of a site-museum.


Lontar Foundation (Yayasan Lontar) (Indonesia)
"On the Record": Film Series on Contemporary Indonesian Writers

¥ 3,475,197
The main mission of Lontar (a Indonesian NGO) has been geared towards encouraging the appreciation of Indonesian literature and culture both in Indonesia and abroad via the medium of the printed word and films. With the grant from the Asia Center, the Lontar foundation was able to successfully complete seven films in the Indonesian Writes Series which focuses its attentions on documenting and preserving the most transient element of cultural and literary history in Indonesia: the writers themselves. So as to make the short films (24-30 min. per cassette) more accessible to an international audience, the final edited version of the film was accompanied by a booklet with biographical information and a complete transcript of the film in English.


Directorate-General for Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture, Indonesia (Indonesia)
Workshop on Conservation of Wooden Architectural Heritage

¥ 1,273,465
With the aide of the Asia Center, the Ministry of Education and Culture undertook a national survey on wooden architecture heritage in Indonesia in 1997. This survey reviewed the preservation and conservation of wooden architectural artifacts in terms of government policy, working system, history of preservation and conservation, and critically documented the current conservation measures applied on about one in every eight of all known artifacts throughout the country. Based on the results of this survey, the Directorate-General for Culture organized an international workshop on wooden architectural heritage to upgrade human resources in conservation through technical lectures as well as a field workshop delivered by Japanese and Indonesian experts.


Study Group for Quanzhou Mulian Kuilei (Japan)
Japan-China Forum: Quanzhou String Puppet Theatre

¥ 2,144,700
The String puppets of Quanzhou, Fujian province, China, are a disappearing tradition that used to flourish during the Sung Dynasty and has been passed down through performances in theaters, at ceremonies and on occasions for private celebrations and condolences. With the aim to build a system to revive and preserve it in a modern context, the Forum collaborated with the Japan National Research Institute of Cultural Properties to study methods of recording and preserving cultural properties. The findings of this research was presented in a symposium participated in by Japanese and Chinese specialists whereby puppets were also exhibited and performances given. Another symposium was organized to explore the possibility of establishing, through community participation, a puppet theater museum for the Quanzhou Muoujutan Theatrical Group, the only successor of the tradition in China.


International Research Center for Environment and Development, Ritsumeikan University (Japan)
Conservation and Development of Historic Cities in Northeast Asia

¥ 1,650,000
Within a larger scheme of studies on city and environmental development in Northeast Asia, the University used this grant to craft innovative approaches in the preservation and development of historic districts in Asian cities. A conference was organized in Seoul to review samples of historical districts in China, Korea and Japan while a regional seminar with a similar theme was organized in Shanghai. The latter treated the issue from various perspectives: information exchange and technology, promotion of people's participation in development plans, and the establishment of local and international networks of scholars and concerned governmental agencies. At the end of this seminar, participants adopted an action plan and the ratified the Shanghai Declaration.


Association for the Study of Medieval Cities of Nepal (Japan)
Foundation of Medieval City of Katmandu and its Cultural Heritage

¥ 2,586,140
This project aims to establish the basic method for the study of cultural history in Nepal by examining the structure of Katmandu's 12 th century medieval city. The grant enabled the Association to dispatch Japanese experts to Nepal to search ancient documents, and to examine architecture and other artifacts. The Association also collaborated with the Nepali Association of Photographers to conduct a workshop on the use of stills and video tapes to record historical remains, intangible assets of traditional festivals and other cultural events.


Institute for Himalayan Conservation (Japan)
Mustang Ecomuseum

¥ 696,369
Starting in 1997, this project instituted measures to enhance community participation in promoting the preservation of Mustang's indigenous culture, harmonizing it with nature and contemporary society, and transmitting it to future generations. This year with the support of the Asia Centers grant the Institute was able to complete many projects. Some of the major projects completed included the publishing of a booklet in English on the culture of the region of Mustang; the training of the local people on how to use audio visual recording devices; the dispatching of experts to the region to support traditional herb growing and revive traditional medical practices; and the organization of a study tour of Tibetan culture for Japanese participants to promote eco-tourism in the region.


Japan Folk Crafts Museum (Japan)
Research on Chinese Popular Woodblock Prints

¥ 2,900,000
This is the third phase of a project supporting collaborative research among Chinese, Japanese and Taiwanese scholars on Chinese popular printing at the Japan Folk Crafts Museum. In the last phase, the research team conducted a study on the revival of traditional coloring pigments, recording of the reproducing process, and field studies to determine the printings' original place of production in Sichuan, China. The result of the research was discussed at the 3rd symposium on Chinese popular printings held in Tokyo which was participated in by experts from three Asian countries, Russia, the U.K. and Vietnam. The papers presented at the symposium were edited and published in Chinese, English and Japanese.


Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE) (Japan)
Symposium for the Conservation of Angkorian Site

¥ 2,036,00
Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE) and the Japanese Government Team for Safeguarding Angkor Sites (JAS) have been collaboratively engaged in Angkorian sites' preservation activities. Aiming to increase the awareness of the Japanese public on the current status of the Angkorian sites and to consider the preservation of cultural heritage in Southeast Asia as a whole, a pubic symposium was held in Tokyo which was attended dy archaedogists, historians, architects, pubic officials and volunteer groups. In the course of discussion, the importance of preservation techniques suitable to the climate and that of a long-range plan was confirmed. More than 200 people from the general public attended the symposium.


Institute of Asian Cultures, Sophia University (Japan)
A Comprehensive Survey Leading to Conservation and Preservation of Kiln Sites of the Angkor Period

¥ 2,516,000
This is the last phase of a three-year project to conduct site research on the 11 th or 12 th century large-scale ceramic kiln near Angkor Wat. The aim of the project was to promote better understanding of the period as one of the most influential Kingdoms in Southeast Asia, to draw up a master plan for its preservation, and to use as a future site of research. The Japan-Cambodia research team in cooperation with the National Museum of Phnom Penh carried out additional site research and produced an inventory and visual record of Khmer artifacts excavated from the bathing site in 1960's. As a whole, this project contributed to the communities' understanding of the historical significance of the site and provided Cambodian students with practical training on archaeological methods of research. The outcome of the project was published in book form in Japanese under the title "Excavation of Kiln Sites of the Angkor Period, New Discovery in Tani Village."


Institute of Asian Cultures, Sophia University (Japan)
Traditional Khmer Culture in Udong Area, Kompong Speu Province, Cambodia

¥ 1,500,000
The Institute continued its joint project with Cambodian staff to study, preserve and promote traditional ethnic cultures in Cambodia as well as to foster young scholars. In this the second and last phase of the project, the research team visited Udon Area, Kompong Speu Province and Kandar province to survey traditional industrial arts in the region. The results of the visit were shared with the students of Royal University of Five Arts in Phnom Penh and lectures were given on cultural policies and methods for preservation and the promotion of traditional assets in Cambodia. With a complete report of this project, a workshop was organized for local students and report of the project was produced also in Khmer.


Institute for Cultural Research, Ministry of Information and Culture (Laos)
Lao Dialects in Lao P.D.R.

¥ 2,530,000
This is the last phase of a three-year collaborative preservation research effort between Japanese and Laotian scholars to collect, study and document Lao dialects. Following activities in 1997, the team surveyed five villages in different provinces in North and South Laos. In view of the computerization of a growing collection of indigenous vocabularies, Laotian scholars continued to receive data-processing training. The research team is planning to produce a final data book in the near future.


Cultural Centre, University of Malaya (Malaysia)
Kulintang Music and Malay Dance Traditions in North Borneo and the Philippines.

¥ 4,105,042
This project was conceived as an interdisciplinary study of Malay dance traditions that are accompanied by gong-chime orchestra (kulintang) in East Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines. Experts in music and dance from the University of Malaya and the University of the Philippines conducted ethnographic fieldwork during the first year in Sabah (east Malaysia), the Sulu Archipelago (the Philippines) and Brunei. Field research among 26 groups was conducted with documentation in digital video, still photographs, color slides and audio recordings.


National Commission for the Preservation of Traditional Manuscripts (Myanmar)
Microfilming of Myanmar Traditional Manuscripts

¥ 3,307,625
Starting in 1997, the Commission continued collaborating with their Thai and Australian counterparts to undertake an inventory survey and additional preservation and microfilming activities for Myanmar's most precious cultural heritage in the form of palm-leaf and hand-made paper manuscripts. The manuscripts that are kept in monastic libraries all over the country made it a formidable task for the Commission to complete. This year, the research focused on Yangon, Mandalay, Mon and Shan states.


Asian Media Information and Communication Center (Singapore)
Training Workshop for Asian Documentalists / Librarians

¥ 1,168,090
A three-day workshop: "Innovations in Managing & Marketing Library & Information Resources" was organized in Singapore through partial support of this grant. This was to strengthen managerial skills of 29 librarians from member countries of the Asia Pacific Communication Network by updating them with current developments and trends in library management and in customer needs' oriented marketing. In addition to providing classroom instruction and exposure to state of the art library facilities, the workshop also put the Communication Network into motion with renewed commitment and plans for information exchange and future joint activities.


Southeast Asian Ceramic Society (Singapore)
Symposium on Pre-modern Southeast Asian Earthenware

¥ 1,241,674
The Southeast Asian Ceramic Society in collaboration with Asian Civil Museums and the Southeast Asian Studies Program of the National University of Singapore, organized a symposium on early Southeast Asian earthenware pottery. Archaeologists, historians and other scholars from the Asia-Pacific, the U.K. and the U.S.A. gathered in Singapore to share their academic experience and views to motivate a comparative study on the subject. The majority of papers presented and discussions appeared as a conference report.


Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SPAFA) (Thailand)
Summer Field School in Historic Preservation and Cultural Resource Management

¥ 4,429,341
This grant was a follow up of last year's support of the Asia Center's training project for urban preservation initiated by Royal University of Fine Arts. This year, SPAFA in collaboration with the University of Hawaii invited 21 students from Malaysia, Cambodia, and Thailand to a training project in Bangkok. Realizing the importance and yet delicate nature of urban historical heritage, participants were provided with introductory survey techniques, how to develop building inventories and the designation of conservation areas. These were combined with field practice in architectural recording and urban preservation design exercises. The training was able to increase the awareness of Southeast Asian students and professionals regarding historic urban resources and enhanced their skills in urban historical heritages' preservation and revitalization.


Resource Management and Development Center, Chiang Mai University (Thailand)
Indigenous Cultural Survival in Ancient Cities of Asia: Community Participation and Cultural Resource Management as Tools for Sustainable Development

¥ 2,799,853
This was a continuation of last year's Asia Center grant whereby the survival of major historical sites such as Chiang Mai (Thailand), Lijiang (China) and Hue (Vietnam) were studied through a combination of visual ethnography and a participatory learning process. This year, fieldwork was completed in collaboration with the local Chinese and Thai governments, academics, and the local communities. This resulted in photographic analysis procedures that provided the basic concept, principles, and procedures to work jointly with the local communities in the documenting of the cultural landscape. The results of the project activities were able to invigorate efforts for the preservation of old cities.


Southeast Asian Mountain Peoples' Culture and Development, Research, Documentation and Information Program (Thailand)
Documentation, Archiving and Dissemination of the Non-material Culture of the Hani / Akha in the Mekong Quadrangle Area

¥ 2,591,663
This project aims to revive the lost culture of the Akha and Hani mountainous nations, located around the Mekong river in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and China through documentation, inventory, transcription, networking, and publication of intangible cultural artifacts. This year, several national and international workshops were organized including one where scholars from China and Myanmar dealt with a critical and historical analysis of Hani/Akha texts in the four countries. It discussed the importance of preserving and documenting Hani/Akha culture in the wave of globalization. Additionally, the project was able to create the beginning of a strong international core-group of professional and native Hani/Akha researchers at an academic level and agreements were reached about the synchronization of an international Hani/Akha writing system and a critical/scientific analysis of historical texts. Akha historical texts and books of lost songs and dances were collated into three books in ancient and modern Akha, and Thai languages. The outcome of the research was disseminated in newsletter and video form.


Hue Institute of Arts, Hue National University (Vietnam)
Course of Nha Nhac in the Hue Institute of Arts

¥ 2,624,777
This is a continuing project to protect and develop "nha nhac," the traditional court music in Vietnam. The initially enrolled students have successfully finished the first phase and have now been enrolled in the second course. These experienced students have been chosen to perform many times for domestic and foreign guests to the school. A workshop "Nha Nhac in an International Context" was held at Hue Institute of Arts from March 17 to 20, 1999. With the presence of Japanese professors, the participants explored ways to co-ordinate the traditional method system "Ho, xu, xang, xe, cong, liu" with that of the Occidental method in order to create its own unique Nha Nhac in an international context. The ultimate goal of this project is to set up a branch in the Vietnamese education system for the study of the musical style-Nha Nhac.

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