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Preservation of Authenticity in Intangible Cultural Heritage—A Case Study on Shenzhen Fish Lamps Dance

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30 minutes
Intangible cultural heritage is regarded as an important identity of national spirit and culture. As the scale to measure the value of heritage, and key rule to protect heritage, authenticity plays a guidance role to preserve intangible cultural heritage. Authenticity was introduced to the field of heritage preservation in1960s. Since many scholars work on the debate on authenticity and tourism, it has been at the heart of discussions about sociocultural consequences. (MacCannell ,1976 , Meethan 2001, Olsen, 2002, Selwyn,1996)In China, the notion of authenticity actually has been existing for a long time. Many scholars discussed about authenticity conservation of Chinese intangible cultural heritage. They emphasized the importance of authenticity, meanwhile, most of scholars insisted the conservation theory and methods should bear Chinese cultural characteristics as well (Ruan, Lin,2003, Chen,2005, Chu,2008, Zhang, 2008) .Though more people have realized the important status of authenticity in the process of intangible cultural heritage preservation, present study remains on the level of tangible cultural heritage. Tangible and intangible cultural heritage are actually two aspects of an object, they cannot be divided separately, intangible cultural heritage also needs to be preserved truly and completely. Hence, authenticity is regarded as a basic principle in intangible cultural preservation The object of this thesis is Fish Lamps Dance, with the history over 300 hundred year, selected as the first national intangible cultural heritage in Shenzhen. However, its future is still facing some dilemmas. Firstly, the inheritance of fish lamp dance is facing temporary shortage of successors; secondly, the art form of fish lamp dance expects innovation; thirdly, there is too limited social recognition on the dance. In conclusion, it faces the crisis of short of attention on preservation from individual to the mass, how to protect and improve it seems to become an urgent task. The authors firstly carry out a specific study on the Fish Lamp Dance in the aspects of inheritor, process, location and emotion. The experienced inheritor and new fish lamp dance team guarantee authentic demonstration of this form of art; the form, techniques, the process of manufacture in fish lamp dance proves the authenticity of its art value; In terms of location, only in relevant cultural space can help people grasp the truth of special intangible cultural heritage so as to achieve complete preservation. Emotionally, Fish lamp dance vividly displays life situation of ancient residents of coastal area. Then four principles to conserve authenticity of Fish Lamps Dance are proposed, No. 1. People-oriented Principle, As Zhang Song assumed creation and history(information) construct basic value of authenticity (Zhang,2001), protection of inheritor and humanistic environment of indigenous people can make sure Fish Lamp Dance goes further and healthier. No. 2 Principle of appropriate public involvement. Intangible cultural heritage preservation is a systematical project requires whole society’s efforts, hence the inheritor, residence, some social organizations and government are the irreplaceable items to execute the preservation.No.3 The principle of appropriate innovation. The authors emphasize innovation of intangible cultural heritage preservation should focus on heritage’s characteristics of growth to know its growth elements by finding out reinnovation point. No.4, Principle of Appropriate Materialization. Materialization of intangible culture heritage can change the abstract into the concrete which benefits materialized protection and study of intangible cultural heritage. Real collection, recording and digitalization would be three approaches to materialize this intangible art treasure. Finally, authors suggest the protection of Fish Lamps Dance combines Shenzhen’s regional culture in physical display level with information recognition level. The recommendations include protection institutionalization, heritage in life, mass participation and digital protection and management.

Jing Luo


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