2023 ‘world expo’ in Chengdu shows diverse Chinese cultural heritages, promotes global communication
Published: Nov 13, 2023 08:21 PM
Foreign athletes browse the gift shop at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Photo: Chen Tao/Global Times

Photo: Chen Tao/Global Times

Aiming at sharing China's experiences in cultural heritage conservation with the world, the 2023 World Expo on Cultural Heritage Conservation and Rehabilitation, a gala that highlights numerous A-list Chinese museums, will be held in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province, starting from November 23. 

The three-day expo includes five exhibiting areas with specified themes like "digital cultural relics," "intangible cultural heritage (ICH)" and "museums." 

The star of the event is the "museum" section. It hosts top-notch cultural institutions like the Palace Museum in Beijing, the Sanxingdui Museum in Sichuan Province and also the Dunhuang Academy, a research-and-exhibition in one institution that has nearly 80 years of history in Northwest China's Gansu Province. 

Xiang Xinshuang, a cultural heritage researcher in Shanghai, told the Global Times that these museums, with their vast collections, can reflect the "diversity and wide spectrum of Chinese cultural heritages."

"A cultural institution, the Dunhuang Academy, for example, doesn't just show relics, but also embodies the path and mindset that Chinese culturalists use to safeguard the country's cultural treasures," Li Liyang, a museum expert, told the Global Times. 

More than 80 exhibitors worldwide will join the upcoming Chengdu cultural fair, Yu Houli, a staff member of one of the expo's organizers, the Shanghai Jiao Tong University Sichuan Research Institute (SJTUSRI), told the Global Times. 

The fair will see the participation of cultural experts from countries such as France, Poland and Nepal. Yu revealed that Germany and Italy will be the two biggest overseas delegations at the expo, with participants such as the University of Florence and the German-Chinese Association of Artificial Intelligence (GCAAI). 

 Xiang told the Global Times that compared with the "liberal art" nature of many cultural exhibitors at the event, the natural science-oriented participants like the Polytechnic University of Turin may bring "a new multi-discipline twist to China's cultural heritage conservation." 

"It also reflects the trending approach to integrate technology, engineering and digital means into the cultural heritage conservation field. Such an international expo provides abundant opportunities for cross-subject collaboration between China and overseas," Xiang remarked. 

The "diversity" of participants does not only reflect their mixed cultural backgrounds, but also participants' professions. Other than scholars, the event also embraces intangible cultural inheritors, architectural studios, and cultural tourism professionals and veterans in the cultural creative industry. 

Besides the exhibition section, the Chengdu expo will host over 16 events, including forum discussions stressing subjects like the "Central Axis of Beijing" and "new technologies and materials for conserving ancient buildings," as well as a forum that invites ICH inheritors to share their experiences with each other. 

Instead of choosing Chinese mega cities like Beijing and Shanghai, the event has landed in Chengdu, one of Southwest China's most cultural enriched cities. Yu described Chengdu as a "rising star" that contributes to the Chinese cultural economy, especially cultural tourism. 

"Because of Chengdu's potential, the event will also be held in 2024 and 2025 in the city," the SJTUSRI staff member told the Global Times. 

Including SJTUSRI, the 2023 World Expo on Cultural Heritage Conservation and Rehabilitation is hosted by several organizers like the Sichuan Provincial Cultural Heritage Administration, China Association for Conservation Technology of Cultural Heritage and the China Foundation For Cultural Heritage Conservation. 

The event will be held at Chengdu's Western China International Expo City and is scheduled to end on November 25.