The Newsletter 69 Autumn 2014

The paradox of UNESCO's Masterpieces. The case of Wayang

Sadiah Boonstra

Cultural heritage is often associated with something from the past, but labelling something from the past as ‘heritage’ is a way of dealing with the past in the present. Cultural heritage can be seen as a process in which the meaning and value of the past in the present is created and re-created, authorized and re-authorized by those who have the power to do so. Such negotiations often deal with issues of political, national, religious, and ethnic identity issues, linked to local, national and world value systems for culture. These values and meanings of culture are not static, but change over time; the addition of the concept ‘intangible’ cultural heritage to the heritage vocabulary attests to this.