The Iwao Kobori Arid Land Research Collection (Part 2)

Yoshihiro Nishiaki
The University Museum
The University of Tokyo

This catalogue follows Part 1 (The University Museum, The University of Tokyo, Material Reports 111) and also features research materials collected by the late Professor Iwao Kobori (1924–2010). Professor Kobori, a geographer who specialized in water resource management in arid lands, served as Head of the Department of Geography at the University Museum. His long research career, which lasted for more than half a century since 1956, is characterized by extensive fieldwork in deserts scattered across the continents of Africa, Eurasia, Oceania, and the Americas. This resulted in a large collection of scientific samples for arid land research, which consists not only of rocks and sediments directly related to his specialty, but also of ethnographic and archaeological materials, and even local postcards and posters. The collection, donated to the University Museum in 2012, is testimony to Professor Kobori's insatiable desire to learn about both natural and cultural phenomena that occurred in the regions he visited.

While Part 1 documented ethnographic and archaeological materials, the present volume catalogues specimens related to the natural history of arid lands. Most numerous are geological materials such as rocks, minerals, and sediments, followed by fossil bones and plant specimens and a small number of archaeological materials collected with them. These specimens, derived from more than 30 countries, should remain as invaluable resources to understand the geographical and ecological diversity of arid lands around the globe. While the ethnographic and historical materials in the collection demonstrate the changing societies in the regions, the geographic materials help understand the changing environments in arid lands. Provenanced samples of geographic materials such as water and sand specimens collected at more than one hundred of sources across the continents, are particularly valuable, because these document individual environmental conditions at a particular moment in the last half-century. It is our hope that this catalogue facilitates the effective use of the present collection for research and education.