Cultural Heritage

On our Cultural Heritage page we feature all the posts that relate to the subject of Chinese cultural heritage and projects on cultural heritage preservation.

China, considered one of the worlds oldest continuous civilizations and comprising of 56 ethnic groups, has a lot of cultural heritage to preserve. From protecting uncovered (and covered) Terracotta Worriors to government subsidized rents for workshops and galleries to enable local artisans to continue creating and teaching their local trades and handicrafts, preserving cultural heritage is a multi-faceted task, and one that is not easy. After all, living in an original Qing dynasty courtyard house with no central heating or plumbing, trying to go about your daily life whilst surrounded by western bars and shops, is not a well balanced solution for preserving a particular area’s cultural heritage. Cultural heritage preservation often occurs in areas with larger or more diverse ethnic groups (i.e. areas where the majority people are of an ethnic group other than Han Chinese), for examples in the old town areas in Cities such as Dali or Lijiang in Yunnan, for the purposes of attracting tourists. Whilst in these examples the quality of living conditions for the local people have surely increased, it is still a rather superficial form of preservation, not a long term solution. Sometimes there is a form of second-hand cultural preservation that emerges from urban restoration projects, such as for example with the Nanluoguxiang area in Beijing. Whilst the street itself is very much commercialised for tourists, sprucing up an area in a local community can have a positive effect on that wider community, such as taking better care of properties, opening small businesses and so on.

If you’ve come across an article about, or a had a personal experience involving preservation of Chinese cultural heritage that you would like to share with us, feel free to contact us.

Hall Of Rectitude Rebuilt

Here is an article by the International Herald Tribune on the restoration of the Hall of Rectitude in the Forbidden City. Seeing as the original complex burnt down in 1923 I’m not sure it can accurately be called a restoration, and perhaps would better suit the title of ‘reconstruction’. The complex - initially created in 1697 - consists of 10 Buddhist buildings originally… Read more →

10 Historic Towers At A Crossroads

10 Historic Towers At A Crossroads

An article by the People’s Daily Online (12.11.12) discusses a failed attempt to apply for World Cultural Heritage status for 10 historic towers due to a lack of consensus. This article (indirectly) follows on from a previous article posted here and originally covered by The China Daily on what appears to be the same committee’s cry for better “efforts to preserve cultural… Read more →

Dashilan's Inevitable Fate?

Dashilan’s Inevitable Fate?

This article was originally published in the Global Times (09.11.12) and discusses the ongoing development projects in the Qianmen area of Beijing, using the example of the former Quanyechang department store as an example of  the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning’s approach to building preservation.   It said historic buildings will be preserved, and there will be eight new buildings in “neo”… Read more →

Preserve, Restore Or Create Anew?

Preserve, Restore Or Create Anew?

Article featured in the Global Times (06.11.12) on the Old Summer Palace, YuanMingYuan, and the ongoing debate about whether to restore, rebuild or simply preserve the site. The article outlines the shift in people’s outlook over the past few decades towards how best to commemorate this part of China’s history. Although a few people are still debating whether to rebuild the Old… Read more →

Preserve And Protect

Preserve And Protect

 Chinadaily article (06.11.12) reporting on the joint declaration recently made by the authorities in charge of 11 ancient towers calling for more efforts in preserving China’s cultural heritage. Authorities in charge of the ancient towers lamented the fact that most of the towers have lost their original surroundings as well as the sense of the environment in which the towers… Read more →

Cicheng's Old Town Revival Plans

Cicheng’s Old Town Revival Plans

Article from the New York Times (02.11.12) on the challenges faced by local governments when trying to revitalize and restore ancient historic cities and their local crafts. This article features the example of the old town of Cicheng, in Zhejiang province, southern China, and their more unconventional attempt at a holistic approach to the problem by encouraging local artisans and craftsmen… Read more →