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Monuments and voices: valuing cultural resources in Tibetan Sichuan

Te Winkle, K.S.; (2011) Monuments and voices: valuing cultural resources in Tibetan Sichuan. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This research examines the ways in which communities define and value their cultural heritage and then how they deal with those ideas. By concentrating on ancient monumental stone towers and their relationship to the identity and sense of place among the Minyak townships along the Liqiu River in Kangding County, western Sichuan, it is possible to understand why and for whom the ancient is an active part of the present. How these communities manage their monumental heritage and balance concerns over economic development with a desire to continue cultural traditions such as language and lifeways contributes to current discussions and practices among heritage professionals the world over. Ancient buildings in Minyak are little documented, there is no comprehensive management plan for their conservation and thus far they have been saved from destruction (both active and by neglect) by the efforts of a native architect and his local NGO. The grass roots level organization in Minyak is compared with other sites in China that are farther along the path to proactively managing cultural resources. These vary in degree from Danba County in western Sichuan Province whose towers, which are part of the system of towers including Minyak, are currently on China’s Tentative List; to early 20th century Chinese-European architectural fusion of Kaiping in Guangdong Province which received UNESCO World Heritage designation in 2007 to Yongding County in Fujian Province with its traditional earthen houses (designated a World Heritage Site in 2008). Through a comparison of the beginning stages of community-based poorly funded conservation efforts to World Heritage Sites it is possible to place Minyak in the larger framework of discussion on the role of monumental architecture as it creates a sense of place and community identity.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Monuments and voices: valuing cultural resources in Tibetan Sichuan
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology

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