Project Images
 
Development of the China Principles
 
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A bilingual Chinese-English version of the Principles for the Conservation of Heritage Sites in China was first printed by the GCI in 2002 and again, with enhancements, in 2004. The Principles are currently being disseminated throughout China and are also attracting the attention of the international preservation community through publication and professional review.

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The China Principles team visiting the historic Quarantine Station in Sydney, Australia, during the first China Principles workshop in February 1998. During the workshop, the team was introduced to a range of heritage sites in the Sydney and Canberra areas and the use of the Australia ICOMOS Burra Charter in the practice of heritage conservation and management. Photo: Neville Agnew.

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The China Principles team during a visit to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. The team took part in a study tour of the U.S. in the spring of 2000 to visit cultural heritage sites and discuss management practices with cultural heritage professionals. Photo: Neville Agnew.

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Chengde was the venue for an intensive workshop on the China Principles. During the workshop, the planning process being developed for the China Principles was diagrammed and debated with Chengde site staff to assess its efficacy as a management tool. Photo: Martha Demas.

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Mount Tai in Shandong Province has been worshipped since ancient times as the greatest of China's sacred mountains. On October 1, China's National Day, the mountain's summit is overrun by people who visit by the thousands. Utilitarian, commercial, and recreational use is despoiling the site. Photo: Neville Agnew.

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Fengguo Temple in Liaoning Province is one of the many temple sites visited in the China Principles collaboration. Secular use of temples as historic monuments or renewed religious use present one of the key issues currently being debated in terms of preservation of the values of a site, a fundamental aspect of the Principles. Photo: Neville Agnew.

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Niuheliang in Liaoning Province, an important and extensive Neolithic site, presents typical problems found in conserving archaeological sites. Excavated remains include fragile stone-built ceremonial structures and tombs. Photo: Martha Demas.

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The famous Temple of the Goddesses at Niuheliang, with its numerous life-size figures of clay, was only partially excavated and then reburied and sheltered to protect it until a method of excavation and conservation of the fragile remains could be developed. Photo: Martha Demas.

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The huge rammed-earth community dwellings of the Hakka people in Fujian Province are spectacular examples of vernacular architecture, protected by Chinese law. With their agricultural terraces, these places preserve an unspoiled cultural landscape. The imminent development of the area for tourism raises concerns about the impact on the traditional way of life. Photo: Neville Agnew.

Application of the Principles: Mogao
 
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The desert oasis site of the Mogao Grottoes was the venue for working through the master planning process to test the evolving China Principles. Cave 85 at Mogao is the focus of a model wall paintings conservation project of the GCI and the Dunhuang Academy, which follows the China Principles methodology. Photo: Francesca Piqué.

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A view of the Grotto Zone, looking south. Stairways and walkways on the cliff face facade provide visitors access to the three tiers of caves. Photo: Neville Agnew.

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Visitation at the Mogao Grottoes is a vital economic force whose continued encouragement and growth can have adverse effects on the site. A study to understand the impact of tourism on the site, particularly in the caves, represents the implementation of part of the site's master plan. Photo: Neville Agnew.

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One of the coupons made to emulate the wall paintings after accelerated relative humidity cycling. The conditions seen here, such as cracking, lifting of the paint layer, and powdering of clay, are also present on many of the wall paintings at Mogao. Photo: Jonathan Bell.

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Baseline documentation and regular photographic monitoring form the core of the deterioration monitoring undertaken in the four test caves at Mogao. This image shows the photographic setup for one of the monitored areas in cave 35. Photo: Jonathan Bell.

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Environmental monitoring is the cornerstone of the carrying capacity study. Readings of interior and exterior temperature and relative humidity are taken every few minutes daily. Charts interpreting the compiled data are then used to determine environmental profiles and cross-referenced with recorded visitation of the caves, rain events, etc. Chart: Shin Maekawa.

Application of the Principles: Chengde
 
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In 1703 Qing dynasty emperor Kangxi built a summer resort, which is known today as Chengde. Within this vast park, located about 150 miles north of Beijing, are lodges, pagodas, and artificial lakes and hills. Outside the walls of the resort, Kangxi's grandson, Qianlong, built Buddhist temples in the Tibetan style. The huge temple complex seen here—built in 1767 and one of nine that remain—is a scaled-down version of the Potala in Lhasa. Photo: Martha Demas.

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In 1774, the Qing emperor Qianlong established his seventh outlying temple, Shuxiang Temple. Modeled on a temple of the same name on the sacred Mount Wutai, this complex became the Emperor's family temple and was officiated solely in the Manchu language. A plan for the conservation and use of Shuxiang temple is part of the application of the China Principles at Chengde. Photo: Li Linlli.

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The southernmost courtyard of Shuxiang Temple, with entry gate and Drum and Bell Towers. Photo: Richard Ross.

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Collaborative work at Shuxiang Temple has followed the process set forth in Chengde master plan. In spring 2004, an assessment of the site's significiance, physical condition, and management context was carried out. Training of Chengde staff in documentation methods was integrated into this effort, as seen in this photo of the team using a theodolite to survey the site. Photo: Neville Agnew.

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Interior detail of Huicheng Hall, Shuxiang Temple. Much of the reformed decoration is still intact but requires stabilization and a plan of regular maintenance. Photo: Richard Ross.

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In November 2004, an Experts' Committee meeting was held to review the findings of the Shuxiang Temple Assessment Report and determine the approach to be taken to the preservation of the site. A select group of respected Chinese cultural heritage professionals were invited and discussions between them, municipal and provincial Cultural Heritage Bureaus, the GCI, and the Australian DEH ensued. A minimalist conservation approach was agreed upon and work is currently under way to develop a conservation plan. Photo: Jonathan Bell.

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