Two Chinese Sites Make Endangered Monuments List
China.org.cn, October 10, 2011
Two cultural heritage sites in China are among the list of 67 selected by World Monument Fund for its 2012 World Monuments Watch, which was announced at a press conference in New York on Oct. 5.
The new list includes 67 cultural heritage sites from 41 countries and territories, dating from 400 B.C. to 2003. It contains many places threatened by neglect, vandalism, armed conflict, commercial development, natural disasters, and climate change. Making the list from China are the site of the palace and garden of Nanyue Kingdom in Guangzhou and Tiantai An Buddhist temple in Pingshun County, Shanxi Province.
The site of the palace and garden of China's Nanyue Kingdom is located in the center of Guangzhou city and hosts relics from 13 dynasties dating from the second century B.C. Uncovered in 1996, the site is one of the most important archaeological discoveries in modern China, although it is not yet well known internationally.
The Chinese government has built a museum devoted to artifacts uncovered at the Nanyue Kingdom site, but the site itself needs a sustainable plan for visitor access, foreign language support, and enjoyment by local residents, many of whom live immediately adjacent to the archaeological zone.
Tiantai An is a small Buddhist temple located in a remote but populous valley in the Taihang mountain range, in Shanxi Province. Based on its style, scholars agree that Tiantai An dates from the Tang Dynasty (618-906 A.D.), when the Tiantai school of Buddhism matured and flourished in China.
Having survived war, earthquakes, and neglect – it was used for storage from 1949 until the 1980s – Tiantai An is now a landmark listed at the national level. It suffers from deterioration of its centuries-old timber structural members, and in 2005 the stone retaining wall on the temple's platform suffered a partial collapse, which has not been fully repaired. The surrounding community, made up mostly of farmers, is proud of this temple because of its great antiquity, and has a strong interest in seeing it well-maintained.
World Monument Fund is an international non-profit organization dedicated to preserving historical architecture and cultural heritage sites all over the world. The organization publishes the World Monuments Watch every two years to foster protection for endangered sites.
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