This spectacular book, both a collection of fine photography and a visual record of Chinese vernacular architecture, makes very clear that China's historic streetscapes, agricultural vistas, and villages are well worth saving.
AVAILABLE IN TWO BILINGUAL EDITIONS: English/Traditional Chinese (ISBN: 978-0-9796165-0-1) and English/Simplified Chinese (ISBN: 978-0-9796165-3-2) "The Chinese are especially proud of their cultural heritage, and it will be on this foundation that their continually evolving cultural narrative will stand. Were the world to come respectfully to China with this understanding, the Chinese would be inspired to place even greater value on their rich legacy."-from the Epilogue by I. M. Pei "My hope is that this body of work may inspire compassionate understanding of Chinese culture and its lasting beauty, be it a tangible reality that survives or at the least a record of a past that led to a better future for a great people and a fascinating nation."-Elizabeth Gill Lui A movement for historical preservation is taking hold in China as more people realize the extent to which the country's historical character has already been sacrificed to economic development. For example, about 75 percent of the old city of Beijing has vanished-including hundreds of Ming-dynasty dwellings razed in favor of a new financial district. This spectacular book, both a collection of fine photography and a visual record of Chinese vernacular architecture, makes very clear that China's historic streetscapes, agricultural vistas, and villages are well worth saving. Open Hearts Open Doors provides a visual journey to traditional villages throughout rural areas of southeastern China. Photographed between 1995 and 2006 while Elizabeth Gill Lui was a visiting artist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the Department of Architecture, this collection of stunning images focuses on a cultural and architectural vernacular environment struggling to survive amid a dynamically transforming era in China's development. Complementing the pictures, in bilingual text, the prestigious contributors offer their thoughts on the question of how China can balance heritage preservation and economic growth. Participants include Lui's colleagues in academia, architecture, the arts, and public service, representing such institutions as the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Columbia University School of Journalism, the Getty Conservation Institute, and Shanghai's Tongji University. The views expressed are a valuable reflection on efforts that might help to preserve China's rich cultural legacy. How preservation contributes to cultural identity is central to this discussion. An epilogue by the architect I. M. Pei closes the book with words of hope for China's future.
"Since the post-Cultural Revolution reforms, China has been rushing toward modernization. As with any developing country or region, great swaths of the past are obliterated... Open Hearts Open Doors is a visual and intellectual tour de force aimed at lamenting this vanishing China as well as describing preservation efforts and issuing a call to action... The book is important as China is posed to increasingly affect the rest of the world in this century. Its economic force is already being felt. Its art and literature - its culture - is being and will be felt as well. And while the book focuses on China, its meaning in a larger context should make us look around our environment to see what effects it creates. But even beyond this, the book's simple beauty makes it a joy."-Asian Review of Books on the Web "Elizabeth Gill Lui's photographs of rural China transform photojournalism into visual poetry. The places they feature-houses, yards, doorways, and alleys-are living spaces imbued with feeling and memory. Seemingly timeless, these beautiful images also convey a subtle sense of transformation, telling a familiar legend with a fresh voice."-Wu Hung, Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor in Chinese Art History and Director of the Center for the Art of East Asia at the University of Chicago "The work that Elizabeth Gill Lui has done and continues to do is of great value-the beauty of her photographs, and the insight that she brings to the nexus of community, heritage, and art."-Ralph Samuelson, Director, Asian Cultural Council, New York