Open Hearts Open Doors: Reflections on China’s Past and Future (English / Simplified Chinese Version)

Elizabeth Gill Lui, I.M. Pei

“The Chinese are especially proud of their cultural heritage, and it will be on this foundation that their continually evolving cultural narrative will stand. Were the world to come respectfully to China with this understanding, the Chinese would be inspired to place even greater value on their rich legacy.”―from the Epilogue by I. M. Pei “My hope is that this body of work may inspire compassionate understanding of Chinese culture and its lasting beauty, be it a tangible reality that survives or at the least a record of a past that led to a better future for a great people and a fascinating nation.”―Elizabeth Gill Lui A movement for historical preservation is taking hold in China as more people realize the extent to which the country’s historical character has already been sacrificed to economic development. For example, about 75 percent of the old city of Beijing has vanished-including hundreds of Ming-dynasty dwellings razed in favor of a new financial district. This spectacular book, both a collection of fine photography and a visual record of Chinese vernacular architecture, makes very clear that China’s historic streetscapes, agricultural vistas, and villages are well worth saving. Open Hearts Open Doors provides a visual journey to traditional villages throughout rural areas of southeastern China. Photographed between 1995 and 2006 while Elizabeth Gill Lui was a visiting artist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the Department of Architecture, this collection of stunning images focuses on a cultural and architectural vernacular environment struggling to survive amid a dynamically transforming era in China’s development. Complementing the pictures, in bilingual text, the prestigious contributors offer their thoughts on the question of how China can balance heritage preservation and economic growth. Participants include Lui’s colleagues in academia, architecture, the arts, and public service, representing such institutions as the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Columbia University School of Journalism, the Getty Conservation Institute, and Shanghai’s Tongji University. The views expressed are a valuable reflection on efforts that might help to preserve China’s rich cultural legacy. How preservation contributes to cultural identity is central to this discussion. An epilogue by the architect I. M. Pei closes the book with words of hope for China’s future.

status Copy #1 (2647): in
genre History » Asian History
publisher Four Stops Press
publish date October 31, 2008
popularity checked out 0 time(s)

Leave a Reply