In tandem with the development and application of the China Principles, the GCI is undertaking a review and study of the history and traditions of restoration and conservation practice in China. The purpose is to better understand Chinese approaches (past and present) to conserving cultural heritage. Original sources in the Chinese literature are being investigated in the United States and in China. To date, extremely little has been published in the Western literature about attitudes in China to preservation of its cultural heritage, based on original sources.
The initial phase of research, which explores the influence of Liang Sicheng on the development of conservation practice in China beginning in the 1930s, was published in 2004 (see Related Materials). To better inform this research and foster dialogue with scholars working in related fields, the GCI co-sponsored a symposium with the Department of Art History and Archaeology and the Society of Fellows in the Humanities of Columbia University, and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation. Entitled The Persistence of Tradition: Monuments and Preservation in Late Imperial and Modern China, the seminar brought together scholars from various disciplines to address the ways in which cultural heritage has been invented, valued, and managed in late imperial, modern, and contemporary China. Development of case studies of sites in China and research and writing on conservation practice in China and its relation to Western practices continues.
Last updated: November 2006