Cultural heritage

Roman ruins with a prophet, by Giovanni Pannini, 1751. The artistic cultural heritage of the Roman Empire served as a foundation for later Western culture, particularly via the Renaissance and Neoclassicism (as exemplified here).

Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that is inherited from past generations.

Cultural heritage includes tangible culture (such as buildings, monuments, landscapes, books, works of art, and artifacts), intangible culture (such as folklore, traditions, language, and knowledge), and natural heritage (including culturally significant landscapes, and biodiversity).[1]

The deliberate act of keeping cultural heritage from the present for the future is known as preservation (American English) or conservation (British English), though these terms may have more specific or technical meaning in the same contexts in the other dialect.

The ethics and rationale of cultural preservation

Objects are a part of the study of human history because they provide a concrete basis for ideas, and can validate them. Their preservation demonstrates a recognition of the necessity of the past and of the things that tell its story.[2] In The Past is a Foreign Country, David Lowenthal observes that preserved objects also validate memories. While digital acquisition techniques can provide a technological solution that is able to acquire the shape and the appearance of artifacts with an unprecedented precision[3] in human history, the actuality of the object, as opposed to a reproduction, draws people in and gives them a literal way of touching the past. This unfortunately poses a danger as places and things are damaged by the hands of tourists, the light required to display them, and other risks of making an object known and available. The reality of this risk reinforces the fact that all artifacts are in a constant state of chemical transformation, so that what is considered to be preserved is actually changing – it is never as it once was.[4] Similarly changing is the value each generation may place on the past and on the artifacts that link it to the past.

Kautilya Society in Varanasi - When heritage protection becomes a fight for legality and participation Film-Camera.png"They harass me because I demand civil society participation to public policies and I contrast the misuse of privileges"

Classical civilizations, and especially the Indian, have attributed supreme importance to the preservation of tradition. Its central idea was that social institutions, scientific knowledge and technological applications need to use a "heritage" as a "resource".[5] Using contemporary language, we could say that ancient Indians considered, as social resources, both economic assets (like natural resources and their exploitation structure) and factors promoting social integration (like institutions for the preservation of knowledge and for the maintenance of civil order).[6] Ethics considered that what had been inherited should not be consumed, but should be handed over, possibly enriched, to successive generations. This was a moral imperative for all, except in the final life stage of sannyasa.

What one generation considers "cultural heritage" may be rejected by the next generation, only to be revived by a subsequent generation.

Other Languages
العربية: تراث ثقافي
Bân-lâm-gú: Bûn-hoà ûi-sán
dansk: Kulturarv
Deutsch: Kulturerbe
Esperanto: Kultura heredo
한국어: 문화유산
Bahasa Indonesia: Warisan budaya
Basa Jawa: Warisan budaya
Bahasa Melayu: Warisan budaya
日本語: 文化遺産
norsk: Kulturarv
norsk nynorsk: Kulturminne
Simple English: Cultural heritage
slovenščina: Kulturna dediščina
српски / srpski: Културна баштина
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kulturna baština
svenska: Kulturarv
татарча/tatarça: Мәдәни мирас
Tiếng Việt: Di sản văn hóa
中文: 文化遗产