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The Project of Original Painting Book and Heritage Promotion
  PublishDate:2020-08-17  Hits:382

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In September 2019, in parallel with the International Conference of Pingyao by International committee on Vernacular Architecture and International committee on Earthen Architectural Heritage, International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), the Government of Pingyao City, Tongji University and WHITRAP Secretariat (Shanghai) have signed a cooperation framework agreement with a duration of 3 years, holding a common belief that heritage preservation and heritage value promotion are the basis of human-beings living in harmony and regional sustainable development. Cooperation based on the common ground will be conducted in the area of heritage conservation and revitalization, improvement of human settlement, construction of local management capacity and promotion of heritage value, etc. In addition, The ICOMOS Charter for the Interpretation and Presentation of Cultural Heritage Sites, which was ratified by the 16th General Assembly of ICOMOS Quebec, Canada, in the way of digging out the motivation power of culture, widely disseminating of cultural influence, displaying combining modern technology and proper aesthetic, makes it possible to bring about visible social, economic and cultural benefits, along with vitality and constantpositive influence.


Against this backdrop, a book painting and heritage promotion project in the name of Heritage Imagination – the Story of Pingyao was jointly launched by WHITRAP Shanghai, Tongji University, the Government of Pingyao City and Studio of Yishao Culture. This project was officially kicked off from mid-August, 2020 after elaborate preparations. The first field work and research were conducted when the working group was selecting the subject which includes a team consisting of members from Tongji University, Creative Apartment of Yishao Culture and WHITRAP.


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In the next two years, the project of the original picture book Heritage Imagination – the Story of Pingyao and heritage promotion will revalorize the heritage values through different medias, including the creation of a set of six volumes of children hand-painting book, public campaigns, local education courses, expert seminars, onsite training activities etc. The measures mentioned above all aim to provide multiple perspectives through artistic creation thus providing practical cases on heritage interpretation for promotion. The core value of this project is to build a ‘bridge’ between ‘heritage’and ‘public/community’, so as to establish a more meaningful connections between the two.


Literature · Fantastic Story for the children


UNESCO commented: the ancient city of Pingyao is an outgoing example of Chinese Han Nation city in Ming-Qing Dynasties. The ancient city preserve almost all the characteristics of that time and shows a complete image of extraordinary development of culture, society, economy and religion.


What’s more important is, the ancient Pingyao city is also an excellent example of Human-habitat Heritage with dual attributes of both heritage and life, whose traditional habitude and space have interdependence on each other. Nowadays there are at least 30000 residence who live in this old city, making it a precious and rare Living Heritage.


As Federico Mayor, the former General Director of UNESCO, said: Protection and carry forward the ancestors left over from natural and cultural heritage, is far more than simply protect the landscape and monuments. By preserving the visible world heritage, we are also preserving the invisible heritage and ethical heritage of the world. It appears to be more urgent to pass on the ethical and humanistic values to children and youth. 


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From the renewal of the clichés on tour guide scripts to the exploration of the status and values of ancient Pingyao city and to the influence on local residence’s understanding of heritage, we are trying to tell a fantastic story of Pingyao, explaining to our children what kind of remarkable culture is hidden behind the rocks and stones.


Education · Bringing the heritage on the vast land back to life


Human-habitat Cultural Heritage is an excellent place for teaching dynamic history and culture, also a good choice for traditional culture experience participated of children, family and the school.


Cooperating with an NGO ‘Helinshe’ which is devoted into the area of education for more than ten years, and based on the original materials, working methods, working notes and original stories collected during the creation of the picture book, the team will also in parallel produce teaching courses, products and activities, including book clippings, online public lectures etc. The project, including a series of products and service, is aiming at display the well-described heritage, the implication of the text and images, the process of book-painting creation to children and adults in a wayvivid, so as to improve the respect, understanding, and appreciation for cultural heritage among the public.


At the same time, this project will also support the local community and schools with professional teaching content, making teaching activities highly participated into daily life. With enough importance attached into education and schooling, it could be expected there is a sustainable improvement in the awareness and ability of participating group, also the culture confidence and identity of children and local residence in service of the target in sustainable protection of cultural heritage and local development.


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The future of mankind’s non-renewable world heritage lies on the children. Civilization and history gift us, leaving on the vast land precious treasure of amount of heritage. If one has cultural identity for where he/she grows up and shows enough respect for his/heridentity, then there is no doubt he/she will hold great more tolerance for other civilization. The tolerance for different culture, to the point, has irreplaceable meaning for forming new method of thinking and a new value system. 


A teacher in Pingyao Education Bureau once looked forward on an image where children wake up in a house with courtyard, running freely on the streets in old city whichever season it is. Such a pieceof beautiful experience of growing up during youth is of great inspiration for the new generation who represent the future, the energy and the potential possibility of ancient city.


Promotion • Various participation & dimensional


By the way of appreciating the excellent heritage and positively participating in protecting the heritage, children play well their rolein contributing to building a better common future. 


Referred to the invitation of Yishao Studio from Global Heritage Foundat (GHF) and the painting book Look for the Golden Chicken based on Dali Village of Dong nation in South East Guizhou Province, the project Imagines of Heritage – Story of Pingyao is going toactively introduce potential participants such as artists, media, publishing agencies, foundations, and international organizations at different stages in order to realize the constant innovation. The multi-round and muti-dimension of dissemination pump up a bigamount of energy, triggering international influence with the help of enough resources in publicity and promotion.


In addition, it will also be explored during the project in regard ofinnovation of multi-cooperation mode and working mechanismwhich is the key point of promising sustainability and generalizability. The challenge of the project also lies on how to motivate and organize the multi force from local heritage protection and management departments, local schools, communities, universities, research institutions, social organizations, foundations, and enterprises to achieve the common objective.


During the 10 days research in the first stage, the Joint Team has investigated several heritage in Pingyao ancient city and the World Cultural Heritage Shuanglin Temple and Zhenguo Temple outside the city, finished a tour in Village Liang, communicated with local cultural celebrities, heritage protectors, intangible cultural heritage inheritors, visited local craftsmen of the younger generation, participated with local residence in the ‘community workshop’organized by Tongji Heritage Study Team. The features of this old city was captured gradually, with a lot of precious materials being collected for the creation of painting book, derivative product andactivity design.


Nowadays, there appears a new tendency in Heritage Protection: More attention is given to the publicity of heritage. Compared with the government lead, the participation of the whole society is more emphasized. The working focus transforms from protecting to sustainable development, from value oriented to human oriented. The publicity means to make benefits for and to invite attendance of ‘the pubic’. It is very important the urgent affaire for Human habitat World Cultural Heritage to better realize the ‘ publicity’ in order to promote the understanding and appreciating of cultural heritage, and to cultivate the public awareness and participation. In this respect, the project is planning to carry out more exploratory practices about interpretation and display of more Habitat World Cultural Heritage, and thus conclude up a typical local mode. The ancient Pingyao city, as the first experiment example, will provide important reference value for the research and creation work in the future.

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