Outline of Exhibition

Science in the Quest for History
Period of exhibition Tuesday, October 21 to Sunday, November 30
Admission fee General Admission Fee
Hours 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (no entrance after 4:00 p.m.)
Venue National Museum of Japanese History
Sponsor National Museum of Japanese History

Exhibition Theme

At the Museum of Japanese History, researchers from each field are collaborating with one another as they pursue multi-disciplinary research.

One example is research involving the adoption of natural science methods that make use of cutting-edge science for the analysis of historical materials, conservation, and the development of systems for exhibition displays, where collaboration between researchers of natural science and researchers of the humanities is steadily producing successful findings.

This special exhibition introduces some of these research successes, including the analysis of various historical materials using cutting-edge devices and instruments, methods for uncovering age, materials, and manufacturing techniques, and image processing and exhibition displays using information technology.

Exhibition Content and Layout

1. Dating investigation

The purpose of dating
The significance of dating and an introduction to changes in methods

  • Radiocarbon dating - how is the date determined?
  • High-precision measurement - the tree ring and radiocarbon dating

Methods of radiocarbon dating
Introduced together with C14 and AMS devices

  • Sample preparation
  • Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS)
  • Calibrating method

Seating age of the Yayoi period

  • Yayoi period chronology
  • Distribution of dated archeological sites
  • Pottery for analysis
  • Pottery with burnt on deposits

Chronology of pottery in the Jomon period
Graphics cover an entire wall and original pieces of pottery are placed around the exhibition room

  • Results of dating for the entire Jomon period (Early-Final Jomon)
  • Results of detailed dating for Middle Jomon
  • Application of archeological research into Middle Jomon (remains of dwellings from the Ohashi archeological site)
  • Results of dating for Late Jomon

Origins of lacquer techniques

  • Earthenware
  • Lacquer scabbards

Reviving Edo folding screen paintings

  • Edo folding screen painting before restoration (reproduction)
  • X-ray photos before restoration (same size as original)
  • Restoration process
  • Edo folding screen painting after restoration
  • Edo folding screen painting after restoration
  • Confirming dates from dating of writing paper

Column: Limitations of estimates based on X-rays
Column: Manufacturing technique of folding screens

2. Materials investigation - processing techniques for metal products

How are the materials determined?
An introduction of the electron microscope and nondestructive analysis

  • Principles of each method

Concrete procedures
Methods of analysis using devices, jigs, separating instruments, filaments and others

  • Experiment findings, devices and scenes of experiments
  • Large sample chamber used for the analysis of guns
  • Photographs of analysis devices
  • Breech-blocks and instruments for inscrewing them

Facts about component analysis
Components of ancient coins and places of origin of their raw materials

  • Kocho-junisen (twelve coinage issued by the imperial court during the Nara and Heian periods of matchlock gun)

Materials and manufacturing techniques

  • Two types of manufacturing techniques
  • Models of "kazura-maki" and "udon-bari"
  • "Kazura-maki" and "udon-bari" guns
  • 80kg, 14cm one-kan cannon
  • Differences in materials used by swordsmiths and gunsmiths
  • Guns and swords made by gunsmiths
  • Guns and swords made by swordsmiths

3. Enjoying history through digital searches

  • Clothing (short-sleeved kimono)
  • Grid diagrams of Nukata temple
  • Painting of Yedo drawn in the era Shoho (1644-1648)
  • Colored woodblock prints
  • Painting of Yedo drawn in the era