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Something More Than a Monument—The Long-term Sustainability of Rural Historic Temples in China

Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF10 3NB, UK
Religions 2019, 10(4), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10040289
Received: 21 February 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 19 April 2019 / Published: 24 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religious Space as Cultural Heritage)
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Abstract

The southeast part of Shanxi Province in China is a region with the highest concentration of early timber structures in the country, among which a majority are located in rural and semi-rural religious spaces. Social changes regarding rural population, religious demography as well as the ‘heritagisation’ process of these places of worship have presented unprecedented challenges to their long-term survival. A national campaign, the Southern Project, which lasted from 2005–2015 has facilitated a series of restoration projects in this region, covering 105 national heritage sites with pre-Yuan Dynasty structures, yet their maintenance, management and sustainable functions remain uncertain despite their improved ‘physical’ health. It also raises the question of how these (former) places of worship can be integrated into contemporary society. By analysing the data collected through reviews of the relevant legislative and administrative system and policies, interviews with various stakeholder groups, as well as on-site observations in the case region, this paper aims to identify not only the observable challenges in the long-term sustainability of religious heritage sites, but also the underlying issues situated in China’s heritage management mechanisms and systems behind, in order to pave the way for further discussions of a sustainable way forward. View Full-Text
Keywords: religious spaces; socio-cultural sustainability; cultural heritage; heritage management; stakeholders religious spaces; socio-cultural sustainability; cultural heritage; heritage management; stakeholders
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Tam, L. Something More Than a Monument—The Long-term Sustainability of Rural Historic Temples in China. Religions 2019, 10, 289.

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