1st Edition

Understanding Authenticity in Chinese Cultural Heritage

Edited By Anke Hein, Christopher J. Foster Copyright 2023
    298 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Understanding Authenticity in Chinese Cultural Heritage explores the construction of "authenticity" and its consequences in relation to Chinese cultural heritage—those objects, texts, and intangible practices concerned with China’s past.

    Including contributions from scholars around the world reflecting on a range of different materials and time periods, Understanding Authenticity emphasizes the situatedness and fluidity of authenticity concepts. Attitudes toward authenticity change over time and place, and vary between communities and object types, among stakeholders in China as they do elsewhere. The book examines how "authenticity" relates to four major aspects of cultural heritage in China—art and material culture; cultural heritage management and preservation; living and intangible heritage; and texts and manuscripts—with individual contributions engaging in a critical and interdisciplinary conversation that weaves together heritage management, art history, archaeology, architecture, tourism, law, history, and literature. Moving beyond conceptual issues, the book also considers the practical ramifications for work in cultural heritage management, museums, and academic research.

    Understanding Authenticity in Chinese Cultural Heritage provides an opportunity for reflection on the contingencies of authenticity debates - not only in relation to China, but also anywhere around the world. The book will be of interest to scholars and students in a variety of fields, including heritage studies, Asian studies, art history, museum studies, history, and archaeology.

    Part I: Art and Material Culture

    Chapter 1. The Construction and Deconstruction of Authenticity in Chinese Art

    David Scott

    Chapter 2. Copy, Yet Original: Re-examining "Fang Ni Zan" Paintings in the 15th - 17th Century

    Penny Xu

    Chapter 3. Substitutional Objects: The Authenticity of Su Shi’s Snowy Wave Stone from 1101 to 1700

    Gillian Zhang

    Chapter 4. Shanzhai Tensions in U.S.-Chinese Cultural Heritage Diplomacy

    Jennifer Kreder

    Part II: Cultural Heritage Management and Preservation

    Chapter 5. UNESCO World Heritage and the Problem of Authenticity: The Case of Built Structures and China´s Tangible Cultural Heritage

    Phillip Grimberg

    Chapter 6. Exploring the Implication of Tourism for Heritage Interpretation of National Archaeological Parks in China: The Case of Linzi Qi State Site,

    Tao Li

    Chapter 7. Perspectives on Authenticity and the Preservation of the Great Wall of China

    Stefan Gruber

    Chapter 8. Critical Chinese Copying as an Interrogation of the Hegemony of Modernity

    Guo Boya

    Chapter 9. Can a Copy Deliver an Authentic Experience? An Interdisciplinary Approach to Fieldwork Conducted in Southeast China

    Patrycja Pendrakowska

    Part III: Living and Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Chapter 10. Crafting Authenticity: Two Case Studies of the Material Metamorphosis of Cultural Heritage in China’s Creative Economy

    David Francis and Zhang Lisheng

    Chapter 11. The Authenticity Problem in Conteporary Techniques of Zisha Teapot Making

    Gao Xuyang and Anke Hein

    Chapter 12. The Modern Invention of Big Red Robe Tea: History, Science, Story, and Performance

    Jean DeBernardi

    Chapter 13. Chapter 13. Authenticity, Legitimacy, and Mimesis in the Production and use of Chinese-inspired Japanese Tea Ceremony Utensils: Karamono (Chinese Things)

    Robin Wilson

    Part IV: Texts and Manuscripts

    Chapter 14. "Authenticity" and Shu: What is at Stake?

    Corina Smith

    Chapter 15. (Mis)remembering the Tang? Issues of Authenticity Surrounding the Attribution of the Ershisi Shipin to Sikong Tu

    Rachel McVeigh

    Chapter 16. Authenticity and Self-representation: A Case Study of Song Zhiwen

    Miao Xiaojing

    Chapter 17. Authenticity beyond Authority? The Case of Handwritten Entertainment Fiction from the Chinese Cultural Revolution

    Lena Henningsen and Duncan Paterson


    Anke Hein is Associate Professor in Chinese Archaeology at the University of Oxford and St Hugh’s College. She is an anthropological archaeologist focusing on issues of culture contact, identity formation and expression, and the history and practice of archaeology as a discipline, particularly in the Chinese border regions.

    Christopher J. Foster is a British Academy postdoctoral fellow, affiliated with the School of History, Religions and Philosophies at SOAS University of London. He is an historian of premodern China, focusing on intellectual history, manuscript culture, primary education, and canonization.

    "In a world fraught with uncertainties about "verity" the collection of essays entitled Understanding Authenticity in Chinese Cultural Heritage comes at a particularly germane time. Assembled by leading scholars in Chinese art and social history, the essays dig deeply into definitions of antiquity, authenticity, replication, and deception—intended and not."

    William Chapman, Dean, School of Architecture, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

    "Does authenticity matter in the context of Chinese heritage? How do we understand 'copycat' culture? From the forbidden city, to tea, to Chinese literacy, this book delves into these questions on a delightful journey through Chinese heritage from ancient to contemporary times. A must-read for anyone interested in China, or antiquity in general."

    Yujie Zhu, Senior Lecturer, Research School of Humanities & the Arts, Australian National University

    "The problem of this volume can be fairly stated as why the idea of authenticity in China cannot be reduced to questions of copying and representation. But nor can they be dismissed. All the contributors have their different answers to this paradox which, by following their real value, we are led to a new pathway for a comparative understanding of authenticity."

    Michael Rowlands, Emeritus Professor of Material Culture, University College London