RECOGNIZING HERITAGE

Post 487  by Gautam Shah

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Amrita_Sger-Gil_Bride's_ToiletPortrait

Heritage is a place, object, location, natural condition, tradition, lifestyle, or ideology, which survive for generations. It passes through love, hatred, cares, veneration, neglect, change, conservation, reformation and destructions. But heritage persists in physical traces and metaphorically ingrained in communications, expressions, mentions or records. It becomes indelible part of the lore. An object must have a real or perceived place, a place needs an effective location or description, and the place, its location or description stays with the people. Heritage is comprehensive image that is set in the society. The society or its sections may liken or detest it, but it continues. The image at times, manifests differently to different people.

Asiatiska_folk,_Nordisk_familjebok

Mallikarjuna and Kasivisvanatha temples at Pattadakal > Attribution Dineshkannambadi at English Wikipedia

Stone age iron smelting community of Sukur in Adamawa State, Northern Nigeria > pic from Wikipedia by StefanCramer

Heritage is something conveyed intentionally or inadvertently to someone or society. It is something of extraordinary creation, or inherited from the past, it can be practices, characteristics or possession, valued enough to be useful to future generations. It provides people with a sense of identity and continuity. It provides knowledge and fail-safe solutions. Heritage is perceived through cuisine, clothing, lifestyles, artefacts, tools, music, movies, styles of shelter, skills and technologies, religious ceremonies, and performing arts.

Bongsan mask dance Korea > by photoren – http://flickr.com/photos/photoren/420376754/

The physical heritages have visually perceptible character of own, reinforced by the surroundings and focussed by the current circumstances. Symbolic heritages emerge through the holistic character from varying level of cross references or connections in time and space. A physical heritage may get naturally defaced or vandalized, but its images remain in the folklore. So folklore gets enlivened when it connects to even minor trace or evidence of a building, location, objects, or other folklore. The process works more vigorously in other direction. A forgotten physical trace acquires new interest when a fable has mentioned it.

Graves at Al Ayn Oman

UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 member nations names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humanity. During the last 200 years it has been experienced that wider platform for heritage brings it out of the parochial interests of nationalities, races, cultures and other sectoral categories. Cultural Heritage is now a wider concept where similarities between the various heritage sectors rather than their differences are studied.

Terraces of precipitated calcium carbonate inside Škocjan Caves, Slovenia Attribution: Lander atsl.wikipedia

Various cultures or civilizations represent time and space sections of the humanity. There have been many revivals of the ‘usable pasts’ that have helped heritage consciousness. International heritage conscience is a movement that creates new set of standards for recognition of ethical and natural properties.

Upper Gate of the Lock minor Mustela the old Saimaa Canal Pic from Wikipedia

The heritage site, location or entity must be an extra ordinary representation of ‘human creative genius and cultural significance’ over a span of time. It could be a ‘living civilization or which has disappeared’. It could be living practice, set of traditions or beliefs, artistic and literary works of outstanding nature. As a natural property, a heritage site represents extra ordinary natural phenomena or evolution processes of nature. It may be a location of current ecological and biological awareness.

Waldorf-Astoria Hotel girls handling tickers and stock exchange boards.

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PRESERVATION and CONSERVATION

 

 

The concourse and steps leading down to the platforms at Pennnsylvania Station (New York City). The railing along the stairs are the only remainders from the original station that can still be seen today, though only on some platforms.

Pen Station New York City (demolished 1963)

 

 

Preservation and Conservation processes start with a perceived belief or an accepted truth, that the present condition of a built form is a historical fact, resulting from natural causes and human discriminations.

 

The natural influences and human machinations in a building are usually so interpolated, that it is almost impossible to separate them out. It is almost impossible to preserve or conserve any entity unless some of the changes are terminated, withdrawn, isolated or retracted. These exercises more often mean a move towards the original condition that is unknown or uncertain to begin with. Preservation and conservation as a result, turn out to be attempts in restorations. Buildings are preserved or conserved by the society, due to a fear, that any other action may cause irrevocable harm than any good.

 

In the 19th C. Europe, in the field of architectural rehabilitation of buildings, the creed ‘to conserve, but not rebuild’ prevailed, and by 1900 it had been enforced by legislation also. The national acquisition of buildings for conservation in Britain had been carried out chiefly under the Ancient Monuments Consolidation and Amendment Act of 1913, by which suitable unoccupied properties can be ‘taken into guardianship’. A much more rigorous application of the principle is possible in the United States, whereby the owners of whole groups of buildings held to be of sufficient distinction can in fact be legally dispossessed. These erstwhile owners may then be allowed to remain in residence on condition of the repair and rehabilitation of their buildings to a specified standard. In this way, whole areas of buildings, such as Society Hill in Philadelphia, have been taken over.

 

Urban conservation has often come to mean frontage restoration of old buildings in period styles. Criteria for conservation are not easy to define. ‘Architectural merit clearly must rank highly, especially in the case of any building that authentically exemplifies its period’. Historical associations, such as the birthplace of a famous person, are less easily rated. One pernicious effect of all selection is the way in which it is the most outstanding example of any period, rather than the truly typical, that in the end remains to represent it.