The Nara Document on Authenticity (1994)

Shoso-in, 8th century temple pavilion at Nara, photographed 2004. “Authenticity” is a word we keep coming back to in the world of cultural heritage conservation. The concept of authenticity lies at the centerpiece of the international charters that have defined preservation practice since the 1930s, and especially since the shift toward “intangible cultural heritage” that began with the Nara document in 1994. Authenticity is a key aspect of how visitors encounter and experience historic sites. In our work in the Weishan Heritage Valley in China, we stress the value to the heritage tourist of authenticity. This is an argument for maintaining local businesses along the Southern Silk Road in Weishan, rather than removing them for tourist shops, as has been done in Lijiang, a World Heritage Site that experienced catastrophic tourist development and became an economic monoculture.

Preface: The Nara Document on Authenticity (1994) was adopted by ICOMOS Symposia, Nara, Japan, 1-6 Nov., 1994.

In recent years, authenticity has become a central concern in the conservation of cultural heritage. The Nara Document builds on the Venice Charter in light of an expanding scope of cultural heritage concerns. It addresses the need for a broader understanding of cultural diversity and cultural heritage as it relates to the conservation. The document underscores the importance of considering the cultural and social values of all societies. It emphasizes respect for other cultures, other values, and the tangible and intangible expressions that form part of the heritage of every culture. There are no fixed criteria to judge value and authenticity of cultural property; rather it must be evaluated within the cultural context to which it belongs. Though responsibility for the care and management of heritage belongs primarily to the culture that produced it, the document calls for adherence to the principles and responsibilities imposed by international charters.

Category
Resolution

Date

1994

Promulgation

ICOMOS Symposia, Nara, Japan, 1-6 Nov., 1994.

Descriptions

  • The Nara Document builds on the Venice Charter in light of an expanding scope of cultural heritage concerns. It addresses the need for a broader understanding of cultural diversity and cultural heritage as it relates to the conservation.
  • It underscores the importance of considering the cultural and social values of all societies.
  • It emphasizes respect for other cultures, other values, and the tangible and intangible expressions that form part of the heritage of every culture. There are no fixed criteria to judge value and authenticity of cultural property; rather it must be evaluated within the cultural context to which it belongs. Though responsibility for the care and management of heritage belongs primarily to the culture that produced it, the document calls for adherence to the principles and responsibilities imposed by international charters.

Source

 http://www.international.icomos.org/charters/nara-e.pdf

Download

 http://www.international.icomos.org/charters/nara-e.pdf

References

Intellectual Property

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About Sunney 84 Articles

I received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in 1996, 2003, and 2006, respectively, from China University of Geosciences, Wuhan, China; Hefei University of Technology, Hefei, China; and Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, China. From 1996 to 2006, I worked at the School of Computer Science and Technology, Huaibei Normal University, Huaibei, China, as a Lecturer and an Associate Professor. From January 2007 to August 2013, I worked at Wenzhou University, Wenzhou, China. I am currently a Professor at the Zhejiang University of Media and Communications, Hangzhou, China. I am the coauthor of more than 80 articles, which mostly were published in peer-reviewed journals.

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