two works appeared that differ from her previous and later
production. In the Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities,
a recently established journal from the new museum in Stockholm of
that name, she discussed questions concerning the symbolic meaning of
ornament design in Chinese and Scandinavian Neolithic pottery (Rydh,
1929a). The results led to further investigations of the mythical meanings of seasonal rituals in China and Scandinavia (Rydh, 1931). These
texts are seldom referred to by Swedish archaeologists, and they do not
seem to have left much
across one or more national borders; there are thus 39 “transboundary” World Heritage sites (WHL, July 2019). One example is the Struve Geodetic Arc, a chain of survey triangulations along a meridian through ten countries in Europe from Norway to Ukraine (WHL 1187, 2005); a second example is the Architectural Work of Le Corbusier with buildings in seven countries (WHL 1321rev, 2016); and a third is the Silk Roads through China, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan (WHL 1442, 2014).
The glocality of World Heritage sites is also reflected by the people involved. Initiatives
environment, values, and institutions (e.g. Kennedy 1987 ; Tainter 1988 ; Diamond 2005 ; Acemoglu & Robinson 2012 ).
How and why could once powerful civilisations collapse? Examples that have exerted fascination include Ancient Rome, the Maya in Central America, Angkor in Cambodia, the Norse settlements on Greenland, Easter Island, the British Empire, and the USSR. In our own time, there is a discussion about whether the US is entering a phase of decline and fall. Will China be the new superpower instead?
Ruins and wrecks are material icons of decline and decay. The
member states have ratified the Convention. The last was Somalia, a country long ravaged by civil war, which ratified the convention in July 2020. Countries belonging to the group of “laggards” were not ignored; on the contrary, they have been the subject of special action to persuade all of them to join. Here it can be noted that Taiwan represented China up until 1971, but has not been a member of the UN or UNESCO since that time – and has therefore not been able to ratify the Convention either. But irrespective of how the counting is done, there is, in principle
the present, colonialists also had to conquer the past. The Rosetta Stone and a statue of Ramses II, both in the British Museum in London, were stated as examples of plunder. Bandaranayake took the view that colonialists destroyed more than they preserved, and he praised the revolutionary collective of archaeologists in China that did not permit any outside interference. His article represented a postcolonial criticism that found inspiration in the China of the Cultural Revolution, even though that revolution entailed an extensive vandalising of remains from the
and criticised. In a quite fundamental way, however, the campaign arouses amazement.
The paradoxes of Abu Simbel
The campaign at Abu Simbel is a source of amazement because the site and the sequence of events seem to be full of paradoxes, in this context meaning absurdity or contradictions. The paradoxes, which can be formulated as questions or statements to investigate, are like Chinese boxes, one box sitting inside the next one:
1. The impossible preservation of the past
The past is being preserved for the future; but is preservation for the future at all
Pierre Boulez praised vigorous, expanding civilisations without memory or monuments and continued, “our Western civilization would need Red Guards to get rid of a good number of statues or even decapitate them. The French Revolution decapitated statues in churches; one may regret this now, but it was proof of a civilisation on the march” (Boulez 1976 : 33; originally to Der Spiegel, 25 September 1967). Boulez thus wanted assistance from Mao Zedong’s Red Guards, who were active in the Chinese Cultural Revolution in 1966–1976. His statement was
in 1854, of the largest temple at Abu Simbel; the replica was destroyed in a fire in 1936 (Ossian 2007 ). Later, copies of varying sizes have been erected in many places – Pattaya in Thailand, Shenzhen in China, in the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas in the US, and in Legoland at Billund in Denmark. The Italian amusement park Gardaland has an attraction called “Ramses: Il risveglio” (“Ramses: Awakening”), whose main entrance is designed as the great temple at Abu Simbel in half-scale (www.gardaland.it; cf. Melotti 2011 : 81ff). In Portugal in 2011, the engineer and