THE CONCEPT OF HISTORIC AUTHENTICITY AND ITS METHODOLOGY FOR PRESERVATION OF HISTORIC URBAN AREAS IN CHINESE CONTEXTS | SHUJIE CHEN
The notion of ‘‘historic authenticity’’ was initially mentioned in a series of cultural relics textbooks edited by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1990. Referred to in Chinese as Lishi Zhenshixing, this concept of historic authenticity denoted ‘‘the value [of traditional Chinese buildings] as historical testimony,’’1 and identified the impact of traditional Chinese value concerning architectural heritage in modern preservation theories in China. The concept of ‘‘authenticity’’ was presented in the Venice Charter and then defined in the Nara Document before being introduced into China. There, the notion of historic authenticity has evolved; it is currently recognized as an essential attribute of value rather than of value itself. In order for a heritage site to be authentic, its physical remains must be in their historic condition and truly and credibly reflect their historic reality. This principle applies to all sites with immovable physical remains that have historic or cultural significance, including archaeological sites and ruins, stone carvings and sculpture, historic buildings, and historic precincts.
This paper explains the recognition of historic authenticity in China. It focuses on the preservation methodology for historic buildings in urban areas. Finally, it introduces the system of building classification as a practical method to prioritize the most significant buildings, whose historic condition should be retained, and to manage more modest designated historic buildings.
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