PRESERVING JAPAN’S CULTURAL HERITAGE: A MODEL APPROACH Russell Kelty – TAASA Review June 2016
R ecently a late Heian period (794-1185) painting depicting the Buddha on his deathbed surrounded by grieving disciples and animals (butsu nehanzu) was identified at Sainen-ji temple, Kyoto, by the Kyoto National Museum’s conservation and restoration department.
Its significance was previously unrecognised, although used for countless memorial services.
Since 2013 Sainen-ji has raised funds for the painting’s conservation but in addition, its rarity makes it eligible for designation as an important cultural property, allowing a substantial portion of its five-year restoration to be subsidised by the government (Kubo 2016). The current Japanese system for safeguarding cultural heritage is admired worldwide...