UNESCO implemented the “Paper Conservation: Methodology of Paper Conservation and Paper Making Traditions in East Asia” project from 2008-2015, with the aim to provide a platform for intercultural dialogue and technical exchange in paper conservation. Paper making has a longstanding tradition in East Asia, and paper production and conservation techniques represent an important part of shared cultural heritage in this region. Efforts are required to protect the tangible paper artefacts, as well as to safeguard the intangible traditions, knowledge and skills contained in paper heritage.
In the five countries of UNESCO Beijing Cluster Office—the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, Mongolia, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Korea, various research, technical symposiums and capacity building programmes have been carried out. These have been conducted with relevant institutions, partners and experts at national and regional levels.
From 8-9 December 2015, the launching ceremony and sub-Regional symposium on “Paper Conservation: Methodology of Paper Conservation and Paper Making Traditions in East Asia” took place in Ningbo, China. It was an opportunity for all participants to share, reflect and discuss on the developments and outcomes of this project through the seven years. Within the framework of this project, each five cluster countries have developed a country-based set of paper conservation guidelines that forms the master Paper Conservation Guidelines publication—a landmark initiative that provides guidance on best practices of paper conservation in the region. During this event, there was also be the launch of the exhibition “Paths of Paper” showcasing the developments and outcomes of the project. Representatives from all five countries have subsequently shared on research, techniques and experiences of paper conservation at the Symposium.
Though there are various challenges in the preservation and conservation of paper heritage, it is hoped that the collaborative sharing platforms that have emerged from this project will promote sustained dialogue and enhance technical exchange for long-term preservation of paper heritage.