In 2006, China endowed the second Saturday of June as China Cultural Heritage Day to promote understanding of the importance of cultural heritage protection and mobilize the whole society to care and protect cultural and natural heritages. It was enlarged and renamed as China Cultural and Natural Heritage Day in 2017.

 

World Heritage in China

There are 55 world heritage sites in China, including 37 world cultural heritage sites (5 of which were listed as World Cultural Landscape Heritage), 14 world natural heritage sites and 4 mixed heritage sites.
World Cultural Heritage Sites:
Peking Man Site at Zhoukoudian; Mogao Caves; The Great Wall; Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor; Imperial Palaces of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Beijing and Shenyang; Ancient Building Complex in the Wudang Mountains; Temple and Cemetery of Confucius and the Kong Family Mansion in Qufu; Mountain Resort and its outlying temples, Chengde; Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace, Lhasa; Classical Gardens of Suzhou; Ancient City of Ping Yao; Old Town of Lijiang; Temple of Heaven: an Imperial Sacrificial Altar in Beijing; Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing; Dazu Rock Carvings; Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui – Xidi and Hongcun; Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties; Longmen Grottoes; Mount Qingcheng and the Dujiangyan Irrigation System; Yungang Grottoes; Capital Cities and Tombs of the Ancient Koguryo Kingdom; Historic Centre of Macao; Yin Xu; Kaiping Diaolou and Villages; Fujian Tulou; Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in “The Centre of Heaven and Earth”; Site of Xanadu; The Grand Canal; Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor; Tusi Sites; Kulangsu, a Historic International Settlement; Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City. 


World Natural Heritage Sites:
Jiuzhaigou Valley Scenic and Historic Interest Area; Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area; Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area; Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas; Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries – Wolong, Mt Siguniang and Jiajin Mountains; South China Karst; Mount Sanqingshan National Park; China Danxia; Chengjiang Fossil Site; Xinjiang Tianshan; Hubei Shennongjia; Qinghai Hoh Xil; Fanjingshan; Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of the Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China (Phase I).

Mixed Heritage Sites:
Mount Taishan; Mount Huangshan; Mount Emei Scenic Area, including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area; Mount Wuyi.

World Cultural Landscape Heritage Sites:
Lushan National Park; Mount Wutai; West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou; Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape; Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces

World Heritage Imageology

World heritage imageology is an academic concept proposed by renowned “scholar photographer” Mr. Mei Sheng. Based on the notions of “establishing a concept, seeking an approach and building a system” and criteria of documentary, academic and artistic perspectives, Mei explores new expression forms of photographic art and demonstrates new modes of thinking in photography aesthetics to display, research and protect world heritage, pioneering in the field of world heritage imageology.
For over ten months, Mei Sheng guided his team to complete the “Imperial Palace” project by conducting field research in the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Yuanmingyuan (Old Summer Palace), Beihai Imperial Garden, Mountain Resort and its outlying temples in Chengde, etc. From idea to practice, from fragments to a system, the final outcome was exhibited in Photo Beijing 2018 as a demonstration of displaying, researching and protecting world heritage through images.

皇家宫殿 Imperial Palace

皇家宫殿 Imperial Palace

皇家宫殿 Imperial Palace

皇家宫殿 Imperial Palace

皇家宫殿 Imperial Palace

皇家宫殿 Imperial Palace

皇家宫殿 Imperial Palace

北海全景 Beihai

晚清风云【颐和园·仁寿殿】 Hall of Benevolence and Longevity (Renshoudian), Summer Palace

尊奉九重长虹卧波【颐和园·东堤】 East Causeway, Summer Palace

树语桥说【颐和园·西堤无名桥】 Bridge on the West Causeway, Summer Palace

千里山川一点红【普陀宗乘之庙】 Putuozongsheng Temple

 

 China Intangible Cultural Heritage

According to the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, “the ‘intangible cultural heritage’ means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.”

By December 2018, 40 intangible cultural heritage elements of China were inscribed on the lists of UNESCO:
Kun Qu opera; Guqin and its music; Uyghur Muqam of Xinjiang; Urtiin Duu, traditional folk long song; Art of Chinese seal engraving; China engraved block printing technique; Chinese calligraphy; Chinese paper-cut; Chinese traditional architectural craftsmanship for timber-framed structures; Craftsmanship of Nanjing Yunjin brocade; Dragon Boat festival; Farmers’ dance of China’s Korean ethnic group; Mazu belief and customs; Mongolian art of singing, Khoomei; Nanyin; Regong arts; Sericulture and silk craftsmanship of China; Traditional firing technology of Longquan celadon; Traditional handicrafts of making Xuan paper; Xi’an wind and percussion ensemble; Yueju opera; Hua’er; Manas; Gesar epic tradition; Grand song of the Dong ethnic group; Tibetan opera; Acupuncture and moxibustion of traditional Chinese medicine; Peking opera; Chinese shadow puppetry; Chinese Zhusuan, knowledge and practices of mathematical calculation through the abacus; The Twenty-Four Solar Terms, knowledge in China of time and practices developed through observation of the sun’s annual motion; Lum medicinal bathing of Sowa Rigpa, knowledge and practices concerning life, health and illness prevention and treatment among the Tibetan people in China; Qiang New Year festival; Traditional Li textile techniques: spinning, dyeing, weaving and embroidering; Traditional design and practices for building Chinese wooden arch bridges; Meshrep; Watertight-bulkhead technology of Chinese junks; Wooden movable-type printing of China; Hezhen Yimakan storytelling; Strategy for training coming generations of Fujian puppetry practitioners.
As a necessary measure to fulfill the obligations of the contracting states to the Convention, China has established a national representative list of intangible cultural heritage projects to protect those that embody great traditional Chinese culture with significant historical, literary, artistic and scientific values. 1372 projects have been inscribed on the list, including 3145 sub projects. Meanwhile, provincial, municipal and county intangible cultural heritage lists were also established to maximize the promotion and protection of Chinese intangible cultural heritage.

Free streaming of over 1000 documentaries on intangible cultural heritage will be provided from June 8 to 14 on a variety of online platforms, including Tencent Video, iQIYI, Youku, Douyin, Kuaishou, bilibili, Kugou, Weibo, etc. A feast of intangible cultural heritage, you are always welcome to join!

Sources:

中华世纪坛 China Millennium Monument

中国文化网 chinaculture.org

UNESCO https://en.unesco.org/

http://www.ihchina.cn/

 


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