Opening of the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan
After independence, amid growing interest shown by the people of Tajikistan in their own culture and history, the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan opened in 2001, exhibiting artifacts from the ancient and middle ages that had been discovered in the country. The museum holds a great number of wall paintings, yet only some twenty pieces are on display, while large numbers linger in storage awaiting restoration work. International cooperation is therefore urgently needed to replace the support formerly provided by the Soviet Union, and to train experts to carry out conservation work on these wall paintings.
Human resources training through conservation of wall paintings
In March 2008, an agreement was signed between the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (hereinafter “NRICPT”), and the Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnography, Academy of Science, Tajikistan, regarding cooperation on the protection of cultural heritage. With the aim of training conservation experts in Tajikistan, the two institutions conducted preservation and restoration work on the fragments of wall paintings in the National Museum of Antiquities of Tajikistan. This project was carried out as a part of the “Networking Core Centres for International Cooperation on Conservation of Cultural Heritage” under the Agency for Cultural Affairs, in conjunction with the“Cooperative Project for Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Property in West Asia” administered by NRICPT.
During the project, conducted over three years from April 2008 to March 2011, ten missions were dispatched from Japan, and seven young Tajik researchers eager to work in conservation took part in the program as trainees. Under the direction of experts with experience in conservation of wall paintings in Japan and Europe, the young trainees learned the process thoroughly, including sorting and numbering wall painting fragments, photography, assessing condition, cleaning, reinforcement, joining, filling, and fixation of fragments on new mounting. The trainees worked on ten wall painting fragments during the course, and these were later displayed in the National Museum.
In addition, a workshop on “Conservation of Wall Paintings from Central Asia” was held each year, with the participation of conservation experts from archaeological institutes in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan, as well as the State Hermitage Museum and Dunhuang Academy.