Activity Report (1999) Part 2   IV. Preserving, Documenting or Increasing Public Access to Tangible and Intangible Culture

China Institute for the History of Medicine and Medical Literature, China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (China)
Transmission of Documentation on Chinese Traditional Medicine

¥ 2,000,000
Many of the historical manuscripts on Chinese traditional medicine written during the Ming period and other ancient eras were scattered and can no longer be found in China, while some of them were brought to Japan. To support the last phase of a three-year project to preserve these documents on microfilm, an Asia Center grant enabled Chinese scholars to continue working with their Japanese counterparts and compete filming all of the 153 original manuscripts which now exist in Japan. The duplicated manuscripts in this phase were published together with a bibliography.

South China Research Center, Division of Humanities, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Hong Kong, China)
Documenting Inscriptions from Local Ethnic Chinese (Hoa) Religious Buildings in Ho Chi Minh City: Folk-document Research on the History and Society of the Ethnic Chinese Community in Viet Nam

¥ 1,311,713
This collaborative research project involving researchers and organizations from Viet Nam, Hong Kong and Japan was set up to document and study a number of stone inscriptions found in 87 religious buildings located in Chinese communities in Ho Chi Minh City. Manuscripts were edited into a data book to serve as a valuable reference for those who specialize in the history and community development of Chinese settlements in Viet Nam. The data book also provides rich information on the transnational linkage between the coastal areas of southern China and Viet Nam in terms of the population flow and business network. In the future, based on the outcome of this project, a further study is scheduled on the Hoa community in Ho Chi Minh.

South China Research Center, Division of Humanities, Hong Kong University of Science Working Group for Asian Activities Development (Hong Kong, China)
Preparatory Work on the Establishment of a Resource and Training Center in Hong Kong for Activities Education

¥ 636,480
The ultimate objective of this project is to establish an Asian-based training center for Asian archives to enrich the archival system and to promote the importance of archival management in Asia by developing proper and professional archival education programs for archivists. In the 2nd year of the project, the group was successful in reaching an agreement with the University of British Colombia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada that the University will develop a custom-made, post-graduate archival program in response to the needs of Asian archivists. In relation to this joint program, the group made administrative arrangements with UBC, conducted a briefing seminar in Hong Kong on the program for prospective trainees, and undertook publicity activities in central parts of China and Korea. It was decided to start the program in May 2001 at UBC, and after the pilot program has been proved successful, the program is to be transferred back to Hong Kong or Japan and run at a newly established resource center.

Executive Committee for Shenyang Forum (Japan)
Shenyang Forum: International Conference on Cities, History and Environment in North-East Asia September 13 - 15, 1999, Shenyang, China

¥ 2,630,400
The main theme of this international forum was to reevaluate the historical heritage in Shenyang city and to discuss preserving historical cities in East Asia. The three-day program provided lectures and panel discussions among specialists and administrative officers from Northeast Asia and European countries, as well as UNESCO and World Bank officials. In addition to the three-day event, a special workshop on historical architecture was set up Japanese and Chinese students. The Shenyang Declaration was adopted to conclude the forum which is expected to serve as a guide for Northeast Asian cities to build up their own urban planning models in this post-industrial era.

Japan Institute for Architecture (Japan)
Study on the Preservation, Development and Environmental Improvement of Historical Cities in South-East Asia
November 6 - 7, 1999, Kyoto, Japan and March 8 - 10, 2000, Bangkok, Thailand

¥ 1,970,000
This was the 2nd phase of a two-year project to craft innovative approaches and to establish an inter-city network for the preservation and development of historic districts in Asia. In the first year, the Asia Center supported a project entitled "Conservation and Development of Historic Cities in Northeast Asia" that was initiated by International Research Center for Environment and Development at Ritsumeikan University. In the second year, the area targeted for the study was extended to Southeast Asia, and two conferences were held by and for officials of national and local governments and professionals in the region to deepen an understanding of the conservation and development of historical cities unique to Southeast Asia and seek to establish an inter-government network. Based on the outcome of the first gathering in Kyoto entitled "Historical Townscape Conservation and Community Revitalization in Asian Cities," the discussion was elaborated in Bangkok under the theme of "Historic City Conservation and Public Participation" which stressed the importance of citizens' participation in city development. Together with those conferences, study tours were conducted for the participants to experience and learn about the utilization of traditional houses and the maintenance of wooden buildings in Kyoto and water districts in suburban areas of Bangkok.

Shanti Volunteer Association (SVA) (Formerly JSRC, Japan Sotoshu Relief Committee) (Japan)
Reviving and Promoting Traditional Culture through Library Activities in Cambodia

¥ 2,096,950
This was the last phase of the Asia Center-supported library project with the ultimate goal of revitalizing the traditional culture of Khmer which had been in danger of extinction under the past repressive regime. Following the previous year, the various activities the association carried out included the publication and distribution of five new illustrated books and two kamishibai (picture-story show), a workshop for teachers and librarians on the history and methods of Cambodia's storytelling, support for mobile library activity, and management and operation of eight fixed libraries. Together with staff members of the Provincial Education Office, SVA visited former workshop participants at their workplaces to see if the books and materials distributed were being effectively utilized. One notable achievement is recognition of the storytelling project as an effective educational method by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Cambodia. The ministry decided to incorporate storytelling in its official pre-school curriculums. SVA also arranged to distribute publications to UNESCO, UNICEF, and Save the Children upon request.

Mongolian Cultural Fund (Mongolia)
Research and Register of Mongolian Cultural Assets in Eurasia and America

¥ 2,146,000
The objective of the project was to conduct a study on the status of Mongolian cultural assets that had been removed from the country and are now owned by major institutes abroad, and to publish a catalogue of these tangible assets. Among the overseas museums believed to have a rich collection of Mongolian assets, the research members visited 18 major museums in Russia, Germany, Denmark and the US to identify the approximate number of these artifacts and their storage conditions. Items were selected for shooting tours starting the following year. The most significant achievement of the initial year was that the project strengthened ties between the organizations and those who are engaged in the preservation and study of Mongolian culture.

Directorate-General for Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesia)
2nd Workshop on Conservation of Wooden Architectural Heritage
November 15 - 21, 1999, Central Java, Indonesia

¥ 1,242,392
This was the 2nd phase of a project to provide mid-career technical experts in Indonesia with advanced skills and knowledge in the restoration and conservation of wooden architectural heritage. To provide wider and deeper knowledge on the subject, this workshop combined paper presentations by the participants, theoretical lectures and discussions, practical exercises in the laboratory, and field studies and technical discussions. Seven professionals and resource personnel from Indonesia and four Japanese experts, including those from the Agency for Cultural Affairs and Japan Association for Conservation of Architectural Monuments, provided support the project. A policy proposal and action agenda were produced for a possible Indonesia-Japan joint conservation project in the future. A similar workshop, including the exchange of experts between the two countries, is planned to be held in Japan.

Oral Traditions Association Foundation (Yayasan Asosiasi Tradisi Lisan, or ATL) (Indonesia)
"LISAN" Research and Workshop (Mapping and Documentation in Four Provinces in Sumatra) and "LISAN" III International Seminar

¥ 2,425,092
This continuing project on "Research and Documentation on Indonesian Oral Traditions: Directory, Workshops, Comparative International Research" was supported by the Asia Center in 1997. With the new grant, the research team advanced the project by conducting more detailed mapping of the oral tradition in four provinces of Sumatra (Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, and Riau) in the forms of photographs, and videos and audio tape recording. They also added Nias and Mentawai islands as research targets. After this fieldwork, an international seminar entitled "Voices of the Millennium: Inter-cultural Dialog" was held in Jakarta from October 14 through 16, 1999 that was attended by local and international experts.

Sejati Foundation (Yayasan Sejati) (Indonesia)
Libraries on Fire: When an Elder Dies, a Book Burns

¥ 2,458,524
The ultimate objective of the "Libraries" project was to record the intangible assets in Indonesia in visual form to promote study, appreciation, documentation and perpetuation of the country's traditional knowledge and practices. Two activities were chosen as pilot episodes for film shooting: the Topeng dance tradition of Cirebon, West Java, and the court and seafaring traditions of the Bugis people of South Sulawesi. After being recorded in digital format, the documentary films are to be broadcast on TV and used as education materials. The "Libraries" project also contributed to local human resource development in the field by allowing art-major students of Institut Kesenian Jakarta to take part in the production process.

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

¥ 2,409,224
This was the 2nd phase of the project to revitalize and preserve the dance traditions of Cambodia, which were in danger of extinction due to the past repressive regime of the Khmer Rouge, through research documentation and transfer of the traditions to the next generation. In this 2nd phase of the project, which was under the guidance of specialists from Cambodia, USA and Indonesia, faculty members of the Royal University of Fine Arts and students learned about the history, implication, and movements of four dance forms, as well as their recording and description methods. In addition to interviews with the dancers and elder masters that continued from the previous phase, photo-shooting sessions were also held to record the choreography in detail. A 140-page textbook with 725 illustrations was published for use by future followers of the traditions.

Institute of Khmer Culture, Authority for the Protection and Management of the Region of Angkor (APSARA) (Cambodia)
Establishment of Udaya: Journal of Khmer Studies

¥ 2,618,532
The ultimate goal of the project was to promote domestic and international appreciation of Cambodian culture by launching Udaya, an interdisciplinary research journal published in three languages (Khmer, English and French). The journal serves as a forum for students, scholars, and professionals in the field of Khmer culture to share information on Khmer studies. In the 2nd phase of the project, articles for the first volume and a brochure to publicize the launch of the journal were produced. The trilingual APSARA website was also created ( where information on Udaya is available and via which the journal can be purchased.

Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC) (Singapore)
Training Workshop on Archiving, Preservation and Restoration of Audio-Visual Material
January 10 - 14, 2000, Singapore

¥ 1,759,720
Libraries and archives in Asia have a valuable collection of analogue-format audio-visual materials, from films, tapes and photographs to transparencies. The problem is that these media are very susceptible to Asia's humid climate, and it is particularly important to restore and maintain the materials, and to convert the vulnerable format into a longer-lasting digital format. To achieve this, the center held a training workshop for archivists, broadcasting bureau workers, and librarians from Southeast and South Asia to understand the fundamental principles of storing, maintaining, restoring and accessing audio-visual materials. The participants were able to share and upgrade their knowledge in reformatting analogue assets into digital ones from both the hardware and software aspects.

South East Asian Mountain People's Culture and Development, Research, Documentation and Information Program (Thailand)
SEAMP-Hani/Akha Culture Project: Documentation, Archivation, and Dissemination of Intangible Cultural Resources of the Hani/Akha in the Mekong Delta Area

¥ 2,385,960
This was the last phase of a three-year project to revive the oral traditions of the Hani and Akha tribes residing in the mountain areas of Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and China, and to hand them down to the next generation by collecting and documenting the intangible cultural assets. Activities included collecting Hani/Akha's oral traditions, translating historical songs and epic poems in ancient and modern Akha into Thai, English and Chinese languages, and issuing newsletters. Additionally, an international workshop was held in Laos to further strengthen ties between Akhas in Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam.

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

¥ 2,941,238
The focus of this human-resource training program was the documentation and conservation of the region's urban historic buildings, and management of the cultural heritage. As the last phase of a three-year project, SPAFA, in collaboration with the Thai government and the University of Hawaii, held a six-week session for students and young professionals from Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and USA. Banglampoo in Bangkok was chosen for this "site-specific" research project as the district had attracted attention for its restoration plan. The participants conducted field research and inventory making, and produced detailed drawings of five specific buildings in the area. They were assigned to write proposal papers on appropriate urban design to conserve the image of the historic district. In addition to the field study, lectures and discussion sessions were
also provided, for the wide range of invited professionals interested in the conservation of historic architecture and cultural assets. It is expected that the program will ultimately contribute to policies to conserve the cultural heritage of Southeast Asia.

Hue Institute of Arts, Hue National University (Viet Nam)
Course on Nha Nhac at the Hue Institute of Arts

¥ 2,679,837
The objective of this course was to preserve and promote "nha nhac", the traditional royal court music of Viet Nam. The university opened the course in 1996 with the support of the Asia Center, this being the first time for this music to be taught at the college level. Since then, under the guidance of three old players who survived the prolonged wars, the students have been making steady progress to become successors of the tradition. This year, the course produced its first graduates who reached the required level for performing the basic repertoires of the court music. The Ministry of Education in Vietnam has now recognized nha nhac as an official study subject in the university curriculum.

Hue Institute of Arts, Hue National University (Viet Nam)
Course on Nha Nhac at the Hue Institute of Arts: Emergency Aid

¥ 503,186
An additional grant was provided to the University when one of the worst floods in past centuries hit the central part of Viet Nam from October through December 1999. This aid covered the restoration of musical instruments, costume, and equipment lost or damaged in the disaster.

State Activities Department of Viet Nam (Viet Nam)
National Training Workshop on "Technology to Protect Historic Documents Needing Emergency Attention in Viet Nam"
November 29 - December 3, 1999, Hanoi, Viet Nam

¥ 2,039,200
Due to its tropical climate and the tragic experiences of several prolonged wars, Viet Nam is behind in conserving valuable archival materials dating from the 15th century which include historic documents, wooden prints, films, photographs and magnetic tapes. To address this critical situation, the State Activities Department of the country, with the support of Japanese experts, organized a one-week workshop for36 local archivists, museum staff members and conservators from in Viet Nam and Laos. A 170-page document entitled "Preservation and Conservation Issues for Photographic Materials" (in English) was issued and distributed to the individuals and organizations concerned.

Viet Nam Museum of Ethnology (Viet Nam)
Capacity Building in Conservation and Collections Management: Collaboration between Ethnological Museums in Viet Nam and Japan

¥ 1,390,000
The Viet Nam Museum of Ethnology opened in 1997 as the only museum in the country to specialize in ethnology. With the cooperation of the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka, the institution held a four-day training workshop in Hanoi on museology. This training covered a wide range of topics including how to properly integrate research activities and exhibitions, how to conduct ethnological field research, and how to preserve and manage museum collections. Based on the knowledge gained from this training workshop, an ethnological survey on domestic minority groups was also conducted.

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

¥ 2,454,430
This was the 2nd phase of a three-year interdisciplinary project to study Malay dance traditions that are accompanied by a gong-chime orchestra (kulintangan) in Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei and Indonesia, taking a combined approach of ethnomusicology and ethnic dance study. Following the initial phase, the field research was extended to Sarawak (Malaysia) and Kalimantan (Indonesia) to add, to Sabah (Malaysia), Sulu (Philippines) and Brunei, where the local music was taken down in musical notation. A further study and analysis were also conducted on the various styles of kulintangan music in relation to dance styles, the results of which were published in the form of study papers and audio-visual catalogues.

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

¥ 3,040,200
This was the last phase of a project to transfer to microfilm Myanmar's precious cultural heritage of historic palm-leaf and hand-made paper manuscripts that are kept in monasteries and temple libraries nationwide. Following the previous year, conservation and microfilming activities were carried out in the areas of North and South Shan states and Yangon, including microfilming rare manuscripts at the National Activities in Yangon. Training workshops were also conducted for librarians, conservators and researchers, with overseas researchers being invited. The workshops covered a range of subjects concerning preservation and conservation methods, particularly management of humidity and light, cleaning, shipment, exhibition, disaster measures, and microfilming.

Maha Sila Viravong's Foundation (Laos)
Comparative Study on Lao Textiles (Techniques and Dyeing)

¥ 1,831,200
This was the 3rd phase of the Asia Center-supported project to preserve and promote traditional textiles of Laos, following a series of seminars and exhibitions conducted in 1995 and 1996. Based on what was gained from those two-year's activities, a reference book was published on traditional techniques and the dyeing process for textiles that are unique to major ethnic groups in Laos. The book also touches upon different characteristics of each ethnic group, the relationship between motifs/designs on the textiles and poetry and literature, dyeing plants and dyeing techniques.

National Library (Laos)
Publication of Selected Lao Classical Literature

¥ 1,027,824
The objective of this project was to publish an inventory of selected palm- or mulberry-leaf manuscripts that are separately kept in the National Museum, the Palace Museum, and monasteries in the country. The study group took the initial step of selecting titles from five literature categories: classical, Jataka, religious novels, prose and poetry. The inventory includes basic data for each manuscript, including the story outline. In the initial year, of the 1320 categorized titles, 281 were selected, among which 50 titles were chosen for a synopsis. The next year of the project plans to translate these 50 works into the modern Lao language. A workshop, which was scheduled for the second year with guest researchers invited from overseas, was postponed to the following year.

Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta (India)
Institutions and Identities in Bengal: a Cultural Archive

¥ 1,686,680
From the late 19th through to the early 20th centuries, Bengal experienced cultural and social evolution as nationalism confronted colonization. Today, the printed and visual materials recording this tempestuous period of Bengal lie in a precarious condition, distributed around every part of West Bengal and Bangladesh. To address this problem, a three-year project was set up to archive documents, paintings, photographs and posters of the era into the form of transparencies and microfilms. Activities carried out in the first year include microfilming of old periodicals at the Konnagar public library, involving approximately 80,000 printed pages; microfilming Remdhanu, a leading children's monthly magazine in the 1930's; making a list of rare photographs and paintings collected by social historians, social reformers and leading photographers in Bengal; and duplicating or filming these collections onto transparencies.

Indian Council of Conservation Institutes (INTACH) (India)
Training in Conservation of Palm-leaf Manuscripts
November 29, 1999 - March 2000, Bhubaneswar, India

¥ 2,736,214
This as the 2nd phase of a training program to educate librarians, curators and custodians of manuscripts in the techniques of restoration and preventative measures to save palm-leaf manuscripts which exist in South and Southeast Asia. The program continued to inform conservation trainees in the proper methods of handling, storing and conserving such important documents. Responding to the need of participants, INTACH also conducted a workshop on the conservation of paper documents. In order to disseminate knowledge about the historic manuscripts, INTACH has started collating a manual to be used by wider group of the people concerned.

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