HORIBA exhibits at the 25th ICOM General Conference (ICOM Kyoto 2019)

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Demonstrating “measurement technologies” for exploring and preserving cultural properties

HORIBA, Ltd. participated in the Museum Fair and Expo Forum, which was held within the 25th International Council of Museums (ICOM) General Conference (ICOM Kyoto 2019), one of the largest conferences of its kind and the first ICOM General Conference that Japan has ever hosted, for three days starting September 2, 2019.
HORIBA put on display analyzers that help to preserve cultural properties and determine their age and places of production, while HORIBA TECHNO SERVICE Co., Ltd. introduced its contract analysis business focused on artworks and cultural properties.
Highlights of the HORIBA booth include demonstrations of an X-ray analytical microscope, which determines the types and composition of elements of cultural properties without destroying them, and landmark analytical examples of Vincent van Gogh’s painting, the Mona Lisa from the Louvre Museum, and a sun-mark flag presumed to be the oldest in Japan.

Why is it necessary to scientifically analyze cultural properties?

Cultural properties are invaluable assets through which people can form a correct understanding of history and culture, and thus are deemed to possess value that should be passed down to the future. As such, they are preserved with support from national and local governments.
To be designated as cultural properties, they must have high historical and artistic value, whose judgment requires a discerning eye. Scientifically “measuring” cultural properties is an essential technique for visualizing their value as well as determining the age and place of their production, which provides data on which the choice of repair and storage methods is based, thus contributing to the preservation of cultural properties.

Highlights of the exhibition

  1. Demonstrations of painting analysis using the X-ray analytical microscope
  2. Exhibition of a portable Raman spectrometer for analysis of paintings and analyzers for murals and precious metals
  3. Previous analysis cases
    Daubigny’s Garden by Vincent van Gogh:
    Through non-destructive analysis, it was discovered that parts of this painting by Vincent van Gogh were painted over and erased by someone else.
    Sun-mark flag presumed to be the oldest in Japan:
    HORIBA joined the joint investigative team comprised of experts from Kyoto University and other institutions to analyze a sun-mark flag, which was reportedly granted by the Emperor Godaigo in 1336. The investigation revealed that it was produced between 1463 and 1634 (Muromachi to Edo periods). Despite the gap between the era in which it was presumably produced and the findings of the analysis, the investigation concluded that the flag is nevertheless an important historical artifact.

    Among many other cases on display are the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci and a giboshi ornamental finial used on the railings of the Sanjo Bridge in Kyoto City.

About the 25th ICOM General Conference (ICOM Kyoto 2019)

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) is the world’s largest international non-governmental organization committed to promoting the progress and development of museums. Created in Paris by museum professionals in 1946, ICOM now boasts 44,500 members involved in museums representing 138 countries and territories in 2019. Every three years, ICOM committees meet at a general conference. A total of over 3,000 people, including museum professionals (researchers and curators), teachers and instructors, and students, have registered for the 25th ICOM General Conference (ICOM Kyoto 2019).

About the Museum Fair and Expo Forum, ICOM Kyoto 2019

Name: ICOM Kyoto 2019, 25th ICOM General Conference
Dates & Hours:
September 2, 2019, 12:30 – 18:00
September 3 to 4, 2019, 9:00 – 18:00
*The ICOM Kyoto 2019 taking place during the week of September 1 to 7, 2019.
Venue: Kyoto International Conference Center (ICC Kyoto) HORIBA’s booth is at E19 in the Event Hall.
About the event: Lectures and panel discussions on the subject of “Museums as Cultural Hubs: The Future of Tradition” will be staged.
URL: icom-kyoto-2019.org/index.html