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Representatives from the Palace Museum (Forbidden City, Beijing), the
Sichuan Province Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute, and
the University of Delawares Center for Historic Architecture and
Design (CHAD) met at UD to discuss collaborative projects and the
development of trilateral agreements.
1:38 p.m., June 21, 2012--New trilateral agreements administered by the Institute for Global Studies
(IGS) connect the University of Delaware with two major cultural
institutions in China: the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City in
Beijing, and the Sichuan Province Cultural Relics and Archaeology
Research Institute in Chengdu.
The primary purpose of the new agreements is to foster collaboration
in the fields of historic preservation, art and architectural history,
anthropology and history of craft technologies. The lead UD partner is
the Center for Historic Architecture and Design (CHAD), which is housed in the School of Public Policy and Administration (SPPA) and which oversees SPPAs new master of arts program in historic preservation.
These agreements were the result of discussions that began in 2008,
during a conference on Tibetan art and archaeology held in Beijing. UD's
Chandra Reedy, professor in CHAD and SPPA and a specialist in Tibetan
art history who holds an appointment in the Palace Museums Research
Center on Tibetan Buddhist Heritage, was intrigued by new discoveries
reported by Wenhua Luo, a Palace Museum specialist in Tibetan
In spring 2011, after a 10-day visit to potential research sites in
China, Reedy along with CHAD Director David Ames, CHAD Associate
Director Rebecca Sheppard, graduate student Leah Kacanda and a recent
alumnus, Ying Xu, met in Chengdu with the leadership of the Sichuan
Research Institute, following a brief meeting at the Palace Museum in
Beijing. At the end of this meeting, UD representatives and their
Chinese partners outlined a 10-year plan for joint research, field
schools, workshops and publications.
At the end of January 2012, the general and supplemental trilateral
agreements were signed by all three institutions. The general agreement
is designed to create the foundation for mutual cooperation and
collaboration among the academic disciplines that UD, the Sichuan Institute,
and the Palace Museum have in common. This will include teaching,
research, faculty and student and professional exchanges, and any other
related areas that are mutually determined.
As Reedy explains, We will be working on joint projects for the
preservation of historic towns in Sichuan, the study of temple and
vernacular architecture of Sichuan, study of additional Tibetan temples
and mural paintings found in Sichuan, study of intangible cultural
heritage, and professional exchanges to discuss the similarities and
differences in historic preservation theory and practice between China
and the United States.
The students will be involved in all of the fieldwork projects to be
done under the agreements. A periodic historic preservation field school
will be run in Sichuan province, which will include both UD students
and students from Sichuan University.
Established in 1925, the Palace Museum
is situated in the center of Beijing. In addition to being Chinas
largest museum, it is involved in fieldwork to study temples and
paintings in Sichuan and neighboring provinces. The Sichuan Research
Institute partner is in charge of all cultural heritage preservation in
that province, and also works in adjacent areas of China such as Tibet.
UD became involved with these institutions because of Reedys long
history of research in Tibetan art, material culture and intangible
UDs Center for Historic Architecture and Design does work
throughout the mid-Atlantic that is very similar in methods and goals to
the work done by the Sichuan Institute, Reedy says.
Next spring, Reedy and Sheppard will return to Sichuan
to explore additional project ideas. These are likely to include
research on vernacular architecture, a joint historic preservation field
school for University of Delaware and Sichuan University students, and
studies of tangible and intangible aspects of traditional craft
According to the countrys State Administration of Cultural Heritage,
China has about 800,000 historical sites with many being threatened by
Article by Fariba Amini
Originally published by UDaily.
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