As a contribution to protecting, studying and giving publicity to the world’s cultural and artistic heritages, the Foreign Language Press has produced this small album which introduces sites in China which have been recognized by UNESCO as being worthy of inclusion in its list of the common cultural and artistic wealth of mankind.
China is an ancient country with a history of several thousand years. Imperial power and culture always played an important role historically. As in other imperial systems, the Chinese emperors in every dynasty always had supreme status and priority, though the royal family frequently changed. Imperial palaces, gardens, temples and mausoleums were built on the orders of different emperors using the entire country’s labor and financial power. They reflected the socioeconomic conditions and technological levels of their time and the ideology, artistic aims and achievements of an era, leaving numerous precious assets to succeeding generations.
Due to China’s long history, the frequent changes of dynasty and the chaos of war, many ancient Chinese imperial relics were destroyed. As of November 2003, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee had approved eight Chinese imperial relics for inclusion in the World Heritage List. The majestic and grand Imperial Palace (Forbidden City) epitomizes not only ancient Chinese architecture but also imperial culture. The graceful Summer Palace in Beijing and the imperial Mountain Resort of Chengde are representative of the art of Chinese imperial gardening. The solemn and mysterious Temple of Heaven in Beijing was where emperors offered sacrifices, prayed to heaven and tried to create a telepathic field connecting humans and the gods. A comparison between the Mausoleum of the First Qin dynasties helps trace the systems and institutions of ancient Chinese imperial mausoleums to the same origin. These sites are not only models of Chinese mausoleum art but also witnesses to the ups and downs of Chinese history.
- Imperial Palace of the Ming and Qing Dynasties
- Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor and the Terracotta Army
- Mountain Resort and its outlying temples, Chengde
- Summer Palace
- Temple of Heaven
- Imperial Tombs of the Ming and Qing Dynasties
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