The East Asian Painting Conservation Studio (EAPCS) is one of the few studios in the United States devoted to the conservation of East Asian paintings using traditional methods while incorporating modern innovations and ongoing research. Four permanent positions are filled by the core staff. Besides the fundamental role of caring for the Freer and Sackler collections of East Asian painting and calligraphy, the studio has two fellowship programs and conducts a range of educational and cooperative projects through the endowed Hirayama Program for Japanese Painting Conservation and the Chinese Painting Conservation Program.


East Asian Painting Conservation: Perspectives on Education, Research, and Practice

This virtual symposium was hosted by the East Asian Painting Conservation Studio, Department of Conservation and Scientific Research, on June 29, June 30, and July 1, 2021.

East Asian painting conservation and mounting have a long history of traditional practices rooted in the cultures of China, Korea, and Japan. Since the late twentieth century, however, internationalization and the influences of modern technology and scientific research have rapidly advanced the field. This symposium explored the three themes—“Education and Training,” “Conservation and Research,” and “Materials and Methods”—that are central to current developments. Six speakers shared perspectives as conservators, scientists, curators, and educators to broaden our understanding of East Asian painting conservation and related disciplines. By sharing these recordings of the conference presentations, we hope to enrich the ongoing discussion about shifting educational models, the integration of traditional practice and modern innovation, the impact of cross-cultural influences, and the growing importance of interdisciplinary cooperation.

The speakers and presentations include:

Day 1: Education and Training

“A Global Melting Pot for Paper Conservators”
Valérie Lee – Paper Conservator; Professor, National Heritage Institute (INP), Paris, France

“Education Needed for the Preservation and Restoration of Japanese Painting and Calligraphy”
Ohbayashi, Kentaro – Professor, Department of Historical Heritage, Kyoto University of the Arts, Kyoto, Japan

Day 2: Conservation and Research

“Tradition Meets Science: The Palace Museum Is Stepping up Conservation Efforts on Chinese Calligraphy and Painting”
Lei, Yong – Deputy Director of Conservation Department, Palace Museum; Head, Key Laboratory of Ministry and Tourism on Calligraphies and Painting Conservation, Beijing, China

“Identifying Different Types of Soot-Based Inks Using Raman Spectroscopy”
Jennifer Giaccai – Conservation Scientist, National Museum of Asian Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, United States

Day 3: Materials and Methods

“Techniques to Reproduce Ancient Chinese Calligraphy and Painting”
Shen, Yazhou – Researcher, Shanghai Museum; Special Professor, Shanghai Fudan University; Adjunct Professor, Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts, Shanghai, China

“Korean Paper: From Tributary Gift to Trendy Commodity in Late Ming Literati Circles”
Sooa Im McCormick – Curator of Korean Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, United States


Bilingual information about the speakers and presentations can be found at: https://asia.si.edu/research/conservation-scientific-research/east-asian-painting-conservation-studio/mellon-virtual-symposium/. Click on the “Summaries and Speaker Bios” link under each section.

This symposium was organized by the National Museum of Asian Art with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.