1st Edition

Authenticity and Wooden Architecture Preservation in Asia – a Chinese perspective

By Tomasz Tomaszek Copyright 2023
    232 Pages 276 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    The tradition of Chinese wooden architecture dates back to ancient times. The construction solutions developed in this country over the centuries enchant with their refined character, while the historical wooden structures delight future generations with their dignity and aesthetic excellence. China`s wooden architecture, deeply rooted in its spiritual and religious traditions, is undoubtedly the pinnacle of this type of building in Asian culture. At the same time, it is a testimony to the national identity and reflects the specificity of the country`s material heritage.

    The accelerated social and economic changes in China and the constantly advancing globalization of the world have contributed to this country’s assimilation of Western concepts related to the protection of cultural heritage. The issue of authenticity in the preservation of wooden built heritage proved particularly problematic. This book brings closer the theoretical understanding and practical application of the idea of authenticity from Chinese perspective. To do this, the issue of living heritage and the reception and understanding of traditional Chinese wooden architecture and its preservation as a direct materialization of Chinese religious and philosophical traditions is discussed. The above topics are treated within the cyclic concept of time, i.e. in terms of progress and repetition, with preservation being understood as a religious practice. Finally, trends in the preservation of wooden heritage in present-day China are mentioned, including new attempts to interpret the tradition and the reinvention of the tradition of wooden building.

    The book aims to contribute to the understanding of the protection of wooden architectural heritage in China from a new perspective, and will be of particular interest to academics and professionals interested in or involved in the preservation of built wooden heritage.

    ‘(…) a highly valuable contribution to the field of wooden architecture protection and preservation’, Xiaoming Zhu (Tongji University, Shanghai, China)

    This book ‘(…) successfully explains the inheritance characteristics of Chinese wooden architectures from the perspective of cultural philosophy for a wide audience (…)’, Yasufumi Uekita, University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan

    1. A brief introduction to traditional Chinese wooden architecture. 2. The significant remaining historic wooden buildings in China – some examples and characteristics. 3. The birth of the idea of cultural heritage and the history of development of architectural heritage protection policy in China – overview. 4. The term ‘authenticity’ and attempts of its interpretation and notions from a Chinese perspective. 5. The Protection of architectural heritage and the meaning and application of the concept of authenticity in China and wider context of Asian culture. 6. Authenticity of Historic Wooden Building – A Chinese perspective and interpretation. 7. Living Heritage and continuity as a reference level for authenticity in a Chinese context. 8. Wooden temples and Sacred Mountains – Chinese tradition and spirituality as a voice in the discourse of authenticity. 9. The essence of wood, continuity, change and preservation as a religious practice. 10. Balancing authenticity and interpretation – contemporary Chinese practice in the protection of wooden architectural heritage. 11. Technical solutions in the conservation of wooden architecture in China and the question of authenticity. 12. Final remarks. 13. References.


    Dr Tomasz Tomaszek works as an Associate Professor at the Department of Monuments Conservation, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture at Rzeszow University of Technology in Poland. He graduated with an MFA in Conservation and Restoration of Fine Art Objects from the Academy of Fine Arts, Krakow, Poland and an MA in Philosophy, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland. He obtained his PhD (with honors) in Technical Science in Discipline of Architecture and Urbanism (specialty: history and conservation of monuments of architecture and urbanism) at Krakow University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture, Department of the History of Architecture and Conservation of Monuments, Krakow, Poland.

    Dr Tomaszek furthered his professional qualifications by participating in several international specialist courses and additional studies, including:

    • International Course on Wooden architecture conservation and restoration, organized by ICCROM, Petrozavodsk State University, UNESCO Chair "Wooden Architecture Research and Preservation" and Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation; Petrozavodsk and open-air museum Kizhi, Russia;
    • Course on Management and Monitoring of World Heritage Sites with special reference to China, organized by State Administration of Cultural Heritage China, ICCROM and China Academy of Cultural Heritage; The Summer Palace World Heritage Site, Beijing, China;
    • International Course on Conservation of Built Heritage (CBH14), organized by ICCROM, Rome, Italy;
    • 14th International Course on Wood Conservation Technology (ICWCT 2010) –
      A Course on the Conservation of Cultural Heritage Made of Wood, organized by Riksantikvaren - The Directorate for Cultural Heritage in Norway, Oslo, Norway; and "Architecture – Continuing Education", Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

    Dr Tomaszek is a laureate of many prestigious scholarships/fellowships, such as:

    • Senior Scholar Fellowship at AATU – Tianjin University Research Institute of Architectural Design and Urban Planning, Tianjin, China; research fellowship from UNESCO/People`s Republic of China (The Great Wall) Co-Sponsored Fellowships Programme
    • Senior Scholar Fellowship at Institute of Architecture, Chang`An University, Xi`An, China; research fellowship from China Scholarship Council;
    • Research Fellowship at the Center for Historic Preservation, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA; research grant from the Kosciuszko Foundation;
    • Study visit in Riksantikvaren - The Directorate for Cultural Heritage in Norway, Oslo, Norway – study visit was possible due a scholarship/grant from FSS Scholarship and Training Fund;
    • Scholarships (three times) "Polish Culture Worldwide Programme", Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Poland.

    Dr Tomaszek has presented his research at many national and international scientific conferences (inter alia in Palestine, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Lithuania, Portugal and Italy), and he participated in an international research grant (Japanese-Ukrainian-Polish
    co-operation) "Conservation Method of Wooden Churches in Ukraine – Comparative Study of Log Construction Conservation Method between Japan and Europe"; research fund from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).

    Dr Tomaszek is the author of several scientific papers on issues related to the preservation of historical wooden architecture, which have been published in renowned Polish and international journals.