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History and Conservation of Rockwork in Gardens of Imperial China

Gu, Liyuan (2018) History and Conservation of Rockwork in Gardens of Imperial China. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

From the last century, especially from the 1950s onward, many historical gardens in China have been repaired and restored. Although the aim was to preserve the cultural heritage, many of these gardens were modified during the conservation projects. This thesis focuses on one of the typical garden features, the rockwork. Like gardens, historic rockwork in China has often been transformed from a particular into a generic style. In view of this phenomenon, this thesis focuses on answering the following questions: How have the original appearance and states of rockwork been maintained in conservation projects? How can conservation practice be improved in order to accomplish more authentic restoration? Guided by these two main questions, this thesis aims to contribute to a more authentic restoration and conservation practice. At the beginning, with a critical review of the history of rockwork in China, evidence is shown that preferences in rockwork changed over time. Various trends and most common characteristics of different periods are also identified. The subsequent analysis of legislation and guidelines related to the conservation of rockwork reveal conservation principles during and since the twentieth century, which continue to develop and change up to the present day. An understanding of the various trends and conservation principles provides a solid basis for the evaluation of conservation projects. Four individual cases were then studied in depth to investigate the conservation treatments applied to historic rockwork and the influences on the retention of their original appearance and state. These case studies demonstrate that historic rockwork has been modified to various extents during the conservation process, its historic significance has been overlooked, and some have been restored based on current aesthetic standards. Even so, some of these projects are still considered as good examples to be followed. Based on the problems and good practices identified in the case studies, specific recommendations are finally provided, to prevent the repetition of past mistakes, and to guide and improve future conservation practices.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Landscape (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Ms Liyuan Gu
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2018 08:31
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2019 00:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20574

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