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HomePressPress releasesThe Tokyo National Museum explains in Valencia its process to transport works of art
06 March, 2017

The Tokyo National Museum explains in Valencia its process to transport works of art

The ISTA European Packaging Symposium is in the final countdown. This international appointment, which already reaches its sixth edition, is organized by the Technological Institute of Packaging, Transport and Logistics (ITENE) and the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA). The conference of the Japanese Hiroshi Wada about impacts and vibrations in the transport of museum pieces is one of the inspiring lectures of the event
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There is little left so that one of the international reference events of the packaging and the logistics congregate to its main international experts in Valencia, next 7th, 8th and 9th of March.

Under the title “Changing challenges of transport packaging. From export to e-commerce fulfilment” firms like HP, Ikea, UPS, Coca Cola and the Tokyo National Museum, among others, will discuss the future packaging trends for distribution. The event is supported by DS Smith Tecnicarton as the main sponsor, Sealed Air as a gold sponsor, and Non Slip Iberia as sponsor silver.

The conference of the Japanese Hiroshi Wada, Senior Manager of Preventive Conservation at Tokyo National Museum, about the last researches about impacts and vibrations in the transport of museum pieces is one of the inspiring lectures of the ISTA European Packaging Symposium.

During the last years, Wada has had to face great challenges in its work of conservation in the Tokyio National Museum. In 2009, the TNM coordinated the transportation of Ashura’s sculpture (one of the most popular Buddhist statues in Japan) from Nara’s Kofukuji Temple to the Tokyo National Museum.

Nearly 500 kilometres of road transport in which any unexpected movement could damage this piece with incalculable value, and since it was realized in 734, it has miraculously survived to nothing less than the seven times that Kofukuji’s temple has been destroyed and rebuilt.

Another example of a complex transportation is the Cypress Trees’ screen that the Japanese artist Kano Eitoku painted in 1590. Hiroshi Wada’s work group transported to Bonn (Germany) this large work (measures 170.3 centimeters high by 460.5 centimeters wide).

The biggest challenge is to establish the strength of the art works: "Unlike industrial products, cultural properties cannot undergo falling or vibration tests. Therefore, it is unclear how strongly the cultural properties originally have, and how to pack them", says Wada.

The conservator of the Tokyo National Museum tells how the museum's objects are transported: "We are beginning with investigating the level of hazards of the environment in which cultural properties are transported. Next, we will study what behaviours packaging materials of cultural properties behave in the transportation environment. Finally, we will study what kind of response the cultural properties depend on the transportation environment, using models etc. made from the same materials used for cultural assets", details Wada.

"We believe that if the above information gathered, we can pack and transport the cultural properties by scientific basis" confirms the conservative.

As for the transport of the works in the “Land of the Rising Sun”, the curator of the Tokyo National Museum explains the concrete characteristics of this distribution: “Japan is an island country, but most are connected by roads. Transportation of cultural properties is mostly used in trucks in Japan. The truck was specially manufactured for the transportation of cultural properties, has an air suspension, air conditioning equipment inside the container, there are hooks that can fix the packing box on every wall surface in the container, and it is added to transport seats are prepared for museum staff sitting, who supervises the art works at all times”, he details.

Wada doesn’t forget something essential, "driving carefully", and for this he emphasizes that the drivers are staff of the Conservation and Restoration department of the Tokyo National Museum, something that the Japanese conservative thinks that is "fundamental".

Hiroshi Wada believes that researching in this area is very important to optimize the transport systems of works exhibited in museums. Although Japan is a country with a very important cultural and historical wealth, there are not many people studying how to improve the transport of art works.

Wada’s work group, however, has been researching for more than a decade: "From now on I would like to continue active exchange with researchers from other countries and different fields". Next ISTA European Packaging Symposium’s edition will undoubtedly be one of the best forums where you can do it.


About ISTA
The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) is an American Organization with an international recognition focused on the specific concerns of transport packaging. ISTA is the leading industry developer of testing protocols and design standards that define how packages should perform to ensure protection of their contents during the ever changing risks of the global distribution environment.  As a nonprofit, member-driven association it sets the standards for optimizing the resources in packages that are designed to be survivable, sustainable and successful. Worldwide, ISTA is the most trusted, knowledgeable and respected authority in predictive package-performance testing helping its members develop more effective packaging.

ITENE, local organizer of the Symposium and ISTA Europe Board Chair, works worldwide in the design, construction, implementation and training in packaging engineering and transport simulation. The Research Center has extensive experience on problem solving and offering customized solutions from a holistic view of the supply chain. ITENE´s transport simulation center owns the most advanced equipment to analyse packaging behavior normal and extreme conditions, whether if transport is carried out by land or sea.

ITENE Marketing Department
Ana García ([email protected])
Antonio Monsalve ([email protected])
Phone: +34 96 182 00 00