Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions ›› 2019, Vol. 11 ›› Issue (5): 389-406.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2019.00389.

Previous Articles    

Analysis of structural characteristics and spatial distribution of the national intangible cultural heritage in China and its policy implications

BaiCui Xu,JingHu Pan()   

  1. College of Geography and Environmental Science of Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou, Gansu 730070, China
  • Received:2019-06-21 Accepted:2019-09-30 Online:2019-10-31 Published:2019-11-12
  • Contact: JingHu Pan


Based on an investigation of four published batches listing 3,140 national intangible cultural heritage (ICH) projects in China and using GIS and some quantitative analysis methods, the spatial structure was investigated and the characteristics and distribution discussed. The distribution of ICHs in China is agglomerative and spatially dependent. From the view of ICH type, each type is distributed in different places, for different reasons, with history being the most important one we found. Nationwide, high-density cores are located in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Yangtze River Delta region. High densities of ICH are concentrated in flat, water-rich regions where broad-leaved forests dominate plains and low mountain areas—areas that have fertile soil, pleasant weather, a long history of culture, ethnic agglomeration, and development. This paper suggests that development of the ICH should be based on discovering unknown items, to break the existing pattern of strong cohesion and high density, and to seek a balanced development of the whole.

Key words: national intangible culture heritage, ICH, spatial structure, influencing factor, geographical distribution, China

Figure 1

Spatial distribution of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) projects in China"

Figure 2

Type-structure features of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) projects’ in China"

Table 1

Nearest Neighbour Distance Index (NNI) of ICHs in China"

Batch/Type Average nearest distance (km) Expected nearest distance (km) 1NNI 2Z-test value 3P-test value Distribution type
First batch 25 51 0.485 -38.366 0.000 Aggregate
Second batch 29 58 0.496 -33.651 0.000 Aggregate
Third batch 71 129 0.547 -13.404 0.000 Aggregate-random
Fourth batch 87 141 0.617 -0.944 0.000 Aggregate-random
Traditional Theatre 40 75 0.538 -18.632 0.000 Aggregate-random
Traditional Medicine 70 148 0.471 -11.795 0.000 Aggregate
Traditional Skill 38 89 0.430 -24.511 0.000 Aggregate
Traditional Music 58 100 0.583 -15.779 0.000 Aggregate-random
Traditional Art 45 94 0.485 -18.835 0.000 Aggregate
Folk Literature 67 115 0.586 -11.929 0.000 Aggregate-random
Folk Dance 60 99 0.557 -17.473 0.000 Aggregate-random
Quyi 59 120 0.491 -13.551 0.000 Aggregate
Traditional Sport Entertainment and Acrobatics 92 164 0.563 -9.244 0.000 Aggregate-random
Folk Custom 55 99 0.557 -17.473 0.000 Aggregate-random
ICHs 16 37 0.436 -60.513 0.000 Aggregate

Figure 3

Kernel densities of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) projects in China"

Figure 4

Kernel densities of various intangible cultural heritage (ICH) projects in China"

Figure 5

Hotspot areas of different types of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) projects in China: (a) Performance Art; (b) Traditional Craftsmanship; (c) Verbal Tradition and Expression; (d) Social Practice, Ritual, and Festive Event;and (e) Knowledge and Practice Concerning Nature and the Universe"

Figure 6

Provincial distribution of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) projects in China"

Figure 7

Density of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) projects in China, summarized by regionalization"

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