- Open Access
The Historical Value and Contemporary Role of Vernacular Wisdom: The Case of Zengchong Village
Built Heritage volume 2, pages 123–140 (2018)
Vernacular heritage embodies the great wisdom used by the ancients over thousands of years to create their habitats. By adhering to vernacular wisdom, the unique production modes and lifestyles shown in vernacular heritage created an ideal harmonious living environment in consensus with nature using orderly and rational methods for using natural resources. This study analyses the value of vernacular wisdom, establishes a content system based on three factors, i.e., human needs, productivity and nature from the perspective of the human–nature relationship, and observes that the value of vernacular wisdom is to co-ordinate responses to human–nature conflicts. The representative vernacular wisdom of Zengchong Village, a Dong village in Guizhou Province, China can be summarised into three types: wisdom about physiological needs reflected in the combination of agricultural production with highly intensive living space systems and survival skills to make the best use of everything; wisdom about security needs reflected in the barn, fire-prevention and flood-control systems; and wisdom about self-actualisation, esteem, love or belonging reflected in social interaction and self-management, religious beliefs and identity. In addition to the conservation of the built vernacular heritage, vernacular wisdom should be emphasised in village planning and management to co-ordinate responses to new human–nature conflicts. Thus, a state of balance between human needs, productivity and nature can be achieved to realise the goal of sustainable rural heritage development.
Baer, Lars Anders. 2002. “Protection of Rights of Holders of Traditional Knowledge, Indigenous and Local Communities.” World Libraries 12 (1): 14–27.
ETOG (Editorial Team of Overview of the Guizhou Southeast Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture). 2008. Overview of the Guizhou Southeast Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture. Guiyang: Guizhou People Publishing House.
Hu, Li, Xiong Kangning, Shizhen Xiao, and Haibin Zhu. 2014. “Guizhou kasite diqu rendi xianghu zuoyong guanxi jiqi tiaokong.” [Human–nature Interaction and Its Regulation in Guizhou Karst Area] Journal of Guizhou University (Natural Science Edition) 6: 117–121.
ICOMOS. 1999. Charter on the Built Vernacular Heritage.
Lennon, Jane, and Feng Han. 2012. “Rural Landscapes.” Chinese Landscape Architecture 2012 (5):19–21.
Long, Yaohong, and Yajuan Lang. 2011. “Ming qing shiqi han wenhua yingxiang xia de dongzu nanbei wenhua chayi.” [The Cultural Differences between the Southern and the Northern Dong under the Influence of Han Culture in Ming and Qing] Architecture and Culture 5: 35–40.
Maslow, Abraham Harold. 1943. “A Theory of Human Motivation.” Psychological Review 4: 370.
Mangunwijaya, Yusuf B. 1988. Wastu citra. Yogyakarta: PT. Gramedia.
Pfaffenberger, Bryan. 1988. “Fetishised Objects and Humanised Nature: Towards an Anthropology of Technology.” Man New Series 23 (2):236–252.
Shao, Yong, Lijun Hu, Jie Zhao, and Huan Chen. 2016. “Renju xing shijie yichan baohu guihua tansuo—yi pingyao gucheng weili.”[Exploring the Protection Planning of Living Settlements World Heritage—Taking Pingyao Ancient City as an Example] Urban Planning Forum 5: 94–102.
Shao, Yong. 2017. “Conservation and Sustainable Development of Human-inhabited World Heritage Site: Case of World Heritage Lijiang Old Town.” Built Heritage 1 (2): 51–63.
UNESCO. 2015. Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention. Paris: UNESCO. http://whc.unesco.org/en/guidelines/
Wang, Yufeng. 2014. “Dongxiang daoyuya xitong de ziwo cunxu zhidao.” [The Self-sustaining Way of the Rice-Fish-Duck System in Dong Village] Chinese Agricultural History 5: 113–120.
Widodo, Johannes. 2012. “Urban Environment and Human Behaviour: Learning from History and Local Wisdom.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 42: 6–11.
Wu, Shouchang, and Jing Huang. 2011. “Guizhou qian dongnan daozuo titian de lishi wenhua ji shengtai jiazhi.” [Historical Culture and Ecological Value of Rice Field Terraces in Southeast Guizhou] Guizhou Agricultural Science 39 (5): 81–84.
Wu, Chuanjun. 1991. “Lun dili xue de yanjiu hexin—rendi guanxi diyu xitong.” [A Discussion on the Core of the Geography Study—the Regional System of Human– nature Relationship]. Economic Geography 3: 1–6.
Ye, Daifu. 2001. “Rendi guanxi diyu xitong yu kechixu fazhan de xianghu zuoyong jili chutan.” [A Preliminary study on the Interaction Mechanism between Regional System of Human–land Relationship and Sustainable Development] Geographic Research 3: 307–314.
Zhang, Lin, and William Stewart. 2017. “Sustainable Tourism Development of Landscape Heritage in a Rural Community: A Case Study of Azheke Village at China Hani Rice Terraces.” Built Heritage 1 (4): 37–51.
Zhao, Xiaomei, and Yue Jia. 2012. “Qianxi Dongzu Juluo Xingtai yu Fazhan.” [Analysis on the Form and Development of the Dong Settlement]. Community Design 2: 45–53.
Zhou, Zhengxu. 2016. “Shandi minzu juluo renju huanjing lishi yanjiu de fangfalun tantao.” [A Methodological Study on the Historical Study of the Habitat Environment of Mountain Ethnic Groups: Taking Guizhou as an Example] Western Habitat Environment Journal 31 (3): 8–16.
About this article
Cite this article
Shao, Y., Zhang, L. The Historical Value and Contemporary Role of Vernacular Wisdom: The Case of Zengchong Village. Built Heritage 2, 123–140 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03545714
- vernacular heritage
- vernacular wisdom
- Guizhou Province of China
- Zengchong Dong Village
- rural revitalisation