ICOMOS publishes a new thematic study on the cultural heritages of water in tropical and subtropical Eastern and South-Eastern Asia
ICOMOS has launched a series of thematic studies on the management of water as a form of cultural heritage, based on a regional approach, in the 2010s. The first region studied resulted in a publication in 2015, dedicated to ‘The Cultural Heritages of Water in the Middle East and Maghreb’ (with an revised and expanded version published in 2017).
In particular, the aim was to invite States parties to pay more attention to water attributes and significances related to large and complex nominations, as is the case with historical centres or cultural landscapes. In fact, water has a special place among the many relationships which exist between human beings and nature. It is a permanent and essential human need. Access to water is a vital common element to all human civilisations; there are no exceptions, reiterating that all civilisations have a water culture.
In this volume devoted to the tropical and subtropical countries of East and Southeast Asia, the scope of the heritage considered has been limited to freshwater and inland waters. It is a world region with well identified and strong common characteristics both for its climate conditions and sharing common cultural values, such as the monsoon phenomenon, the ‘rice civilisation’, mutual influences and exchanges through history, technical practices for construction and arts, etc.
This should primarily be seen as a methodological aid for anyone wishing to consider these questions, with a view either to achieving recognition and protection of such heritages by the World Heritage List, or to protecting heritage in a national or regional context.
This publication was made possible thanks to the support of the Cultural Heritage Administration of the Republic of Korea.
Download the Thematic Study on ICOMOS' Open Archive
Photo Credits: The Angkor Thom moat, in Cambodia, from the square water ring at one of the radial access gates of the royal city. © Michel Cotte.