ECSAS 2023 – Turin 26-29 July

47 – Recent Cultural Heritage Initiatives in Nepal and the Himalayas

The monumental Buddhas of Bamiyan or the Kasthamandap temple in Kathmandu are well-known examples of cultural assets that have been destroyed or damaged by armed conflicts or natural disasters. Such sites, which are irretrievably lost or at least difficult to restore, are closely linked to the religious memory and national identity of the local population.

Convenors

Verena Widorn - Institute for South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Nina Mirnig - Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Austria
Prof. Dr. Robin Coningham - Durham University

Long Abstract

The monumental Buddhas of Bamiyan or the Kasthamandap temple in Kathmandu are well-known examples of cultural assets that have been destroyed or damaged by armed conflicts or natural disasters. Such sites, which are irretrievably lost or at least difficult to restore, are closely linked to the religious memory and national identity of the local population.

However, cultural heritage is not limited to UNESCO-designated buildings, tourist sites, or museum collections of famous ancient artifacts. It also includes lesser-known objects of material culture, almost forgotten and barely decipherable inscriptions, or archival collections that are difficult to access. Equally worthy of protection are intangible traditions or living expressions that have been passed down from generation to generation, such as oral traditions, social and religious practices, festivals and performances, as well as knowledge and practices for making traditional medicine or textiles and other crafts.

This panel invites contributions that address the management and preservation of tangible and intangible assets in Nepal and throughout the Himalayan region on an applied, digital, or theoretical level. Papers are particularly welcome that either focus on lesser-known examples of cultural assets of any type and date worthy of protection, present new innovative approaches to their preservation and conservation, or particularly emphasize the active participation of local communities and citizen scientists.