What is Cultural Heritage?

  Kathryn Samuels discussed the new way of interpretation of the definition of cultural heritage in her article “What is Cultural Heritage”. The term is used to describe legacies that possess cultural values or identities to humans. However, the standards that used to define such heritages differ from country to country and are mostly emphasize on the importance of such legacies. “Intangible Heritage” is another kind of cultural heritage that doesn’t have corporeal forms but possess similar cultural values. Some examples of such heritages include dances, rituals or social practices.

       In her opinion, anthropology researches should also focus on the connections between past and present in those cultural heritages. These legacies are not merely just remnant from the past since they were conferred meanings by modern people; an important interaction exists for each of these heritages. Therefore, the definition of cultural heritage in this case, from my own interpretation of Professor Samuels’ article, is determined by the cultural meanings people gave to them or how people interpreted them instead of its past functions or significance.

        One example could be the Beijing Opera. When I was small, I was told by my grandparents that opera was just an entertainment for nobles in the past and people who performed it possessed humble social status. However, such practices in modern societies were considered culturally valuable and I remembered that it became an official intangible heritage for world in 2010. I think this is because people nowadays give meanings to it as a culturally unique art instead of mere entertainment. 

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Reference: http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2014/03/31/what-is-cultural-heritage/

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