Tangible and intangible values of cultural property in Western tradition and science

Tomaszewski, Andrzej (2003) Tangible and intangible values of cultural property in Western tradition and science. In: 14th ICOMOS General Assembly and International Symposium: ‘Place, memory, meaning: preserving intangible values in monuments and sites’, 27 – 31 oct 2003, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract (in English)

The great intellectual achievements of European and American scholars concerning the non-material values of cultural property, place the West at the forefront of theoretical reflections on this problem. These achievements, however, have not yet been fully recognised or applied in conservation; there is a great gulf between European humanities and conservation, which remains intellectually backward in its obsession with the material substance and unable to undertake the task of the balanced protection of both material and non-material cultural heritage. At the same time, other cultural regions that are not involved in deep theoretical studies of the non-material values of cultural property – but instead draw from their own cultural traditions - have long ago found practical solutions to this problem. In this respect, the West has still much to learn from the East and the South. At the same time, it has much to offer them by way of the great intellectual achievements of its own humanists concerning the non-material values of cultural manifestations, a tradition going back to the thoughts of Classical Antiquity. Both material and non-material values should be taken equally into account when assessing cultural property from the point of view of the (to use the phrasing of the Venice Charter) “full richness of their authenticity”. Ignoring the equivalence of these aspects condemns western conservation to a prejudiced viewpoint, to valuing the material above the spiritual. It also demonstrates its isolation from current trends in modern science and the experiences of other cultural regions of the world. One can and must believe that, due to international exchanges of views and experiences, the protection and restoration of non-material values of cultural property and their ‘memory values’, the recognition and treatment of material cultural property as ‘places of memory’, will characterise the further development of conservation in the coming century.

L’approche occidentale aux biens culturels immatériels se formait par étapes suivantes dès l’antiquité jusqu’à nos jours: 1. La théorie platonique des idées proclame la supériorité de l’idéal d’une oeuvre d’art crée dans l’imagination du créateur sur la matérialisation de cet oeuvre; 2. Le culte des reliques des saints développé au sein de l’Eglise chrétienne occidentale, bien que basé sur l’authenticité de leur substance matérielle, a pour le but principal la protection de leurs valeurs spirituelles, en tant que la source rayonnante de la grâce divine; 3. La philosophie de la “valeur mémorable/memorial value” des biens matériels, développée par les créateurs de la conservation occidentale moderne (“Erinnerungswert” – Alois Riegl 1903 et les autres) 4. Les études méthodologiques des historiens d’art européens/américains sur le contenu idéologique et les messages immatériels des oeuvres d’art et d’architecture: la iconologie (Ady Warburg; Ervin Panofsky et les autres); 5. Les études méthodologiques des historiens et des sociologues français sur la mémoire sociale – „les places de la mémoire” matérielles et immatérielles (Maurice Halbwachs, Pierre Nora et les autres) La conclusion: Une grande contribution intellectuelle des savants occidentaux, dédiée aux valeurs immatérielles des biens culturels n’était est mise à profit pour la conservation occidentale. Il existe une grande discordance entre les sciences humanistes et la conservation, qui reste en arrière en fétichisant seulement la substance physique des monuments et des sites, et qui oublie son devoir de protéger en même mesure le patrimoine matériel et immatériel. Dans ce domaine l’Occident doit apprendre beaucoup des autres grandes régions culturelles du monde. Mais il peut et il doit leur servir d’un grand capital intellectuel des humanistes occidentaux dedié aux biens culturels immatériels, qui a une tradition de plus de deux et demi millénaires.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Authors:
AuthorsEmail
Tomaszewski, AndrzejUNSPECIFIED
Languages: English
Keywords: cultural heritage; tangible values; intangible values; theory
Subjects: O.INTANGIBLE HERITAGE > 01. Generalities
A. THEORETICAL AND GENERAL ASPECTS > 02. Concept and definition
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 2003, 14th
Depositing User: Jose Garcia
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2010 15:07
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2011 19:15
URI: http://openarchive.icomos.org/id/eprint/465

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