Authenticity and Heritage Conservation in China: Translation, Interpretation, Practices

Authenticity and Heritage Conservation in China
Author: 
Zhu Yujie
Publisher: 
Springer International Publishing Switzerland
Publication type: 
Book Chapter
Publication year: 
Monday, July 4, 2016
Keywords: 
Authenticity; China; Heritage conservation
The examination of the value of authenticity, the interpretation of the term, and the consequences for heritage conservation practices in China have followed a trend that is both global and local. The existence of two translations of authenticity, yuanzhenxing 原真性 and zhenshixing 真實性, has documented two understandings of what heritage conservation in China is concerned with: the conservation or recreation of an “original state”—understood as a building’s original form—or the preservation of the present form including different stages of a structure’s building history. The Chinese conservation scene has attempted to define its own authenticity criteria through learning from both its history of restoration and from international principles. Defense of the principle of “restoring the old as it was” (修舊如舊 xiujiu rujiu) needs to be considered, as well as the attempt to preserve a site’s “historic condition,” including different stages of its history. The quest for authenticity has taken on a dynamic and diversified form through local economic, social, and cultural development. The juxtaposition of different value systems on heritage conservation in the process of globalization and modernization in China repeatedly leads back to diverse Chinese practices.


This chapter is part of the book, Authenticity in Architectural Heritage Conservation: Discourses, Opinions, Experiences in Europe, South and East Asia.

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