IFLA: Cultural Landscapes Committee

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Mount Wutai

Cultural Landscape Type: Evolved Continuing, Associative

Project Name: Conservation and Management Plan for the Nominated World Heritage Site of Mount Wutai / Nomination Report for the World Heritage Site of Mount Wutai

Project Type: Documentation Project, Inventory, Historic Research, and Cultural Landscape Assessment Planning Project, Comprehensive Master Plan, Preservation Plan, Interpretive/Education Plan, and Management Plan

Location: Xinzhou City, Shanxi Province, People’s Republic of China, N 39°01′50″, E 113°33′48″

Cultural Landscape Size: 18415ha

Property Owner/Steward: People’s Republic of China/ Three-level management system by State, Province and the National Park, and the direct management agancy is People’s Government of the Mount Wutai National Park

Funding: People’s Government of the Mount Wutai National Park

Relevant Historical Dates: A.D. 662 (became the sacred site of Manjusri)

Historic Landscape Architect, Designers: N/A

Contact: YANG Rui; Chair and Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Tsinghua University; 0086- 62797027; yrui@tsinghua.edu.cn

Project Description:

Mount Wutai perfectly combines the natural landscape with the Buddhist religious culture, demonstrating awe and belief in the Buddha with a worship of the natural mountains. The unique physiognomy of the five terrace peaks of Mount Wutai towering in a circle was employed by the Buddhists to symbolize the Manjusri with the five kinds of wisdom of Tathagata as described in the Buddhist sutras. At the same time Mount Wutai is located in the alpine zone in North China with fairly low temperature the whole year round, meeting the requirement for “a cool world” of the Buddhist sutras. The Buddhist architectures, pagodas, statues and murals of Mount Wutai, present a full picture of the successful localization of Buddhism in China and its spread through China to other countries in East Asia, bearing a unique testimony to the extinct Chinese royal religious civilization and the living Manjusri-worship civilization. Temple buildings of Mount Wutai are typical of the traditional Buddhist building clusters in China in terms of spatial arrangement and landscape planning and design.

Therefore, Mount Wutai can be regarded as a perfect example of harmony of the natural conditions with the Buddhist culture, and is therefore a perfect example of the Chinese philosophical thinking of "harmony between man and nature." Under this Philosophy, Mount Wutai finally becomes a typical associative cultural landscape.

The project combines of 2 parts: one is the nomination report for the World Heritage Site of Mount Wutai, the other is the Conservation and Management Plan for the Nominated World Heritage Site of Mount Wutai. In the former part, according to the guideline for nomination on the WHL, we make identification of the property, description, justification for inscription, state of conservation and factors affecting the property, protection and management of the property, monitoring, documentation and etc.  In the latter, we defined the value and mission, according to which we further make objectives and strategies, zoning, conservation of cultural heritage and significant geological sites, interpretation and education, visitor impact management, community regulation,  visual landscape control, management mechanism and etc.

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. . .deterioration or disappearance of any item of the cultural or natural heritage constitutes a harmful impoverishment of the heritage of all the nations of the world.

World Heritage Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972