Pottery center showcases ancient skills, equipment

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2014-06-17 10:16:44

Overlooked treasures

China is rich in historic cultural resources, holding 45 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 30 featured on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, ranking second and first respectively worldwide.

There are nearly 770,000 registered unmovable cultural relics in the country. The latest national archaeological survey put the figure for movable relics at more than 20 million.

However, only a small number of these examples of cultural heritage are open to the public.

It is estimated that Chinese museums only showcase 10 percent of their collections while the rest are in storerooms. Over 50 percent of the stored items have been damaged.

Intangible cultural heritage can be defined as song, music, dance, drama, crafts and similar skills that can be recorded but not touched or interacted with. Much of it is on the verge of disappearing due to an absence of protective measures and the gradual dying-out of practitioners.

While many are coming up with new gimmicks to make old culture more appealing, experts have called for care and sensitivity in how this is done.

"The most important rule of protecting cultural heritage is retaining its completeness and authenticity," said Sun Keqin, professor at China University of Geosciences (Beijing).

He believes that many historical sites in China have been over-developed, becoming "too modernized, urbanized, and commercialized."

Go to any Chinese mountain or ancient town and you will increasingly see cable cars, elevators and other 21st-century conveniences. These moves are changing the original appearances and damaging cultural credentials, Sun warned.

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