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Home >"Nippon(=Japan)"- the Land of Carved Statues. >Profile of Kibi Conservation Studio

1.History

 Kibi Conservation Studio was established by Takao Makino in 1988, recognising those classical sculptures, such as the Buddhist images, as an indispensible baton of a relay race to protect the tangible history and culture for the future, by preserving them to be handed on in a better condition. We are working daily to become a bridge linking the past and the future through conservation and restoration.

2.The Purpose of the Establishment

 Under the wide umbrella of preserving the material cultural heritage, our aim is to restore and conserve classical sculptures, (Statues of Buddha and of minor deities), and also to study and build up a body of knowledge of traditional techniques from the practical experience we have gained during the processes of treating those objects. Then we can return this regained knowledge to society through various activities - further restoration and production work, and the publication of reports. The Kibi Conservation Studio aims to balance all these activities.

3.Activities

a) Conservation and restoration of Buddhist and Shinto images.
b) Study of classic traditional techniques.
c) Production.
d) i.Research into conservation techniques;
  ii.Development of a skilled work force through training students and apprentices;
  iii.Publicising the work of the Studio - through displays & presentations;
  iv.Publication of technical reports.

i:Example of recent work

 The conservation of a Buddhist statue - the main activity of the Kibi Conservation Studio.

title:"Standing Vaisravana" origin:Japan period:Heian, late 12th century material:Hinoki cypress wood

Construction:
 This statue was originally made from many separate pieces of wood joined together - the head and body each having several different components. During the carving process, the inside of the body section was hollowed out in order to reduce weight, and to prevent warping and splitting as the timber continued to dry out. The outer surface had been painted with lacquer, then gilded and painted in colours.

Damage:
 The statue had undergone previous restorations and repainting at several different times, and inappropriately carved parts had been attached at the toes and other places. The original right hand and left arm had been completely lost, the pedestal - in the form of "Jyaki", a demon - had been severely damaged, and the whole statue was unable to support itself, and had to be leant against the wall.

 The purpose of the conservation treatment was to return the image as closely as possible to its original state, and to make it strong enough to be able to stand without a support.

Collection:Kannami Museum
Courtesy of Kannami-town

ii:Developing Human Resources

 Since the establishment of the Studio, we have been diligently selecting keen young people who are interested in the opportunity to study the techniques of conserving and restoring Buddhist images. Nearly twenty men and women have learnt practical skills with us, progressed to become staff members, and then moved on to become enthusiastic graduate students, members of other workshops, staff at museums, and independent craftspeople. We also accept special research fellows from other countries.

iii:Special Lectures

Occasionally we give special lectures - technical briefing sessions on conservation and restoration, and reports on completed projects.

iv:Publishing conservation reports

These are currently only in Japanese. They are available for purchase on request.

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