Gradhiva n°16


Chinas, the State at the Museum

December 2012 

How and why are museums created in China? What are the policies for the promotion of heritage, history, and art currently implemented, in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as well as in Taiwan? Often little known and studied, the museums and other tools for the transmission of heritage also contribute to the development of China: although there were only around twenty in 1949, today there are over 2,300 in the PRC. To address their development and operation is to grapple directly with Chinese society today and its major cross-cutting issues: status of minorities, often conflictual interactions among the different levels of government, the place of religion, the views and discourses of the country on its traditions and its history, etc. All these dilemmas are dealt with in this new issue of Gradhiva which attempts to offer an ethnography of various museum and heritage projects and, in so doing, to outline a political anthropology of the nation-states of China and Taiwan. 

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Special issue: Chinas, the State at the Museum

Coordinated by Brigitte and Anne-Christine Baptandier Trémon

  • Introduction : L’État au musée. Politiques muséales et patrimoniales dans le monde chinois contemporain, by Anne-Christine Trémon
  • L’injonction à la fête. [The order to celebrate: ] Enjeux locaux patrimoniaux d’une fête en voie de disparition (Yunnan, Chine), [local heritage at stake in a dying festival (Yunnan, China)] by Stéphane Gros 
  • L’empire de l’Éternel présent. Dans les musées de la République populaire de Chine, [inside the museums of the People’s Republic of China] by Françoise Lauwaert 
  • Le nationalisme dans les musées locaux à Taïwan: colonisation, autoritarisme et démocratie, [Nationalism in Taiwanese local museums: colonization, authoritarianism and democracy] by Lee Wei-I
  • Barrage des Trois-Gorges : exposer le monde local après l’immersion. Genèse et programme du premier musée de Yunyang, [The Creation of Yunyang’s First Museum and its Exhibition Programme] by Katiana Le Mentec 
  • La genèse de « Songzhuang » : ethnographie de la formation d’un village d’artistes dans la banlieue de Beijing, [The Creation of “Songzhuang”: the ethnography of the development of an artist’s village] by Nan Nan 
  • Yingti/ruanti (hardware/software). La création d’un hall culturel hakka à Taïwan, by Anne-Christine Trémon 
  • La channeling zone : religion populaire, État local et rites de légitimation en Chine rurale à l’ère de la réforme, [The channeling zone: popular religion, the local state and rituals of legitimation in reform- era rural China] by Adam Yuet Chau   
  • Épilogue by Brigitte Baptandier

Studies and essays

  • Gilbert Rouget et la mission Ogooué-Congo (1946). [Gilbert Rouget and the Ogooué-Congo Expedition (1946)]. Institution et épistémologie dans l’histoire de l’ethnomusicologie en France, by Brice Gérard   
  • Le visage des Bébés des eaux et des Gens du ciel [Visages of Water-Babies and Sky-People ] Nouvelles perspectives sur le masque swaihwé, by Baptiste Gille

Reading review

  • Le phénomène humain : l’avènement du réalisme, [The human phenomenon: the advent of realism ] by Gérard Lenclud 

Scientific column



  • 264 pages (20 x 27 cm)
  • 131 illustrations
  • ISBN : 9 782357 440487
  • €20