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Filling Up the Gaps

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Author Assif
#61 | Posted: 23 Jun 2013 22:29 

Red Bay (Canada) - hunting
Tian Shan (China) - cold winter deserts
Hani rice terraces (China) - non vineyard agricultural landscape, traditional irrigation
Levuka (Fiji) - cultural sites in the Pacific

Wilhelmshoehe (Germany)
Rajasthan (India)
Golestan (Iran)
Medici (Italy) - rural settlements
Etna (Italy)
Fuji (Japan) - Buddhism, sacred natural features
Kaesong (North Korea) - necropolises
El Pinacate (Mexico) - Mexican desert
Namib Sand Sea (Namibia) - Namib and Masaai deserts
Agadez (Niger) - African vernacular architecture

Coimbra (Portugal)
Al Zubarah (Qatar)
Tajik NP (Tajikistan) - tectonic activity
Tserkvas (Poland and Ukraine)
Chersonese (Ukraine)

Author Durian
#62 | Posted: 26 Jun 2013 07:15 
Fujisan is not Buddhism, it's a sacred place of Shintoism

Author Assif
#63 | Posted: 26 Jun 2013 07:59 
For Fuji both religions are mentions in the AB evaluation.
"In the 12th century, Fujisan became the centre of training for ascetic Buddhism, which included Shinto elements. "

Author Solivagant
#64 | Posted: 26 Jun 2013 08:49 | Edited by: Solivagant 
For Fuji both religions are mentioned in the AB evaluation.

I have looked on the Web at details of each of the 6 shines inscribed among the 25 sites listed in the AB evaluation. Most of these are described in purely "Shinto" terms but the Murayama Sengen-jinja Shrine is described as follows ( )
"The Murayama Sengen-jinja Shrine is an essential component part that represents the Outstanding Universal Value as an "object of worship". Murayama Sengen-jinja-Shrine is thought to have been built by Matsudai, who is recorded as a Buddhist priest in the early to mid-12th century. It was also called Kohoji Temple, being a religious facility of Shintoism-Buddhism fusion....... Also, it contains a shrine building at the end of the approach, the Dainichido (Mahavairocana Buddha Hall) as a facility particularly of Kohoji Temple, the platform for the fire-burning ritual called "Goma" (Skt: Homa) by the Shugen sect of ascetic Buddhism, and the ablution spot used by pilgrims..... The existing Dainichido (Mahavairocana Buddha Hall) enshrines Buddhist statues associated with the Shugen sect of ascetic Buddhism, including a statue of Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana Buddha) inscribed with the year 1259. In the early 14th century, a Buddhist priest from Kohoji Temple, Raison, organized the priests of the Shugen sect at Fujisan. Kohoji Temple fl ourished as a center of the Shugen sect at Fujisan."

So there seems absolutely no doubt that Fujisan has aspects "sacred" to both Shinto AND (Japanese) Buddhism. Perhaps Winterkjm can tell us more about this Japanese fusion of Shintoism and Buddhism!! (But, in the mean time, see - - all very complex!!). Whether this is enough for the site to be regarded (as suggested by Assif) as an example of "filling the gap" of Buddhism - sacred natural features I don't know (Or are these 2 separate "gaps" - ie "Buddhism" AND "Sacred natural features" - Fuji clearly fills the latter even if its relation to the former is less clear).

I would suggest however that the above quote and the AB evaluation ( e.g "ICOMOS considers that what is significant is the awe that Fujisan's majestic form inspired and the way that this was transformed into religious practices that linked Shintoism and Buddhism, people and nature, and symbolic death and re-birth") to justify a "Multiple Religions" Connection.

Author meltwaterfalls
#65 | Posted: 26 Jun 2013 11:38 | Edited by: meltwaterfalls 
Medici (Italy) - rural settlements

I will admit it has been a while since I ventured into Filling the Gaps but was this what was intended by Rural settlement?

I guess they are rural palaces, but I always assumed rural settlements to be more along the lines of Holasovice, Hahoe or Hollókő.

I guess if the Villas are along the lines of rural settlements then a similar (stronger?) case could also be made for the Tserkvas, as they are almost exclusively rural, and I would assume play(ed) a more active role in the life of the inhabitants of the rural settlements.

Author Assif
#66 | Posted: 26 Jun 2013 12:29 
Churches are in general a separate category from settlements. I guess meltwaterfalls is right though about the villas that they are not adequate gap fillers here.

Author winterkjm
#67 | Posted: 26 Jun 2013 13:01 
I am confused, the location of the Medici Villa's are located in rural areas. Hahoe is located in a rural area. Is it because of the wealth and luxury of the Medici Villas that there is confusion about their connection to "rural settlements"? If the Medici Villas are in fact summer residences of Dukes, Aristocrats, and Clergy in which there is no non-aristocratic presence then I would agree this does not fill in the gap. However, I will use Hahoe as an example, this is primarily a one-clan Yanban (Aristocratic) village. A former prime minister lived here. Some individuals who lived within Hahoe village arguably held similar political power, and in many cases more than the individuals within the Medici family.

It is perhaps interesting that the Ryu clan and the Medici house prospered much during the same period. It must be noted that the Yanban that ruled Hahoe were indeed wealthy, but they were not the sole inhabitants of the village. There are numerous "thatched" buildings that are commoner homes, then Hahoe was indeed a rural community. Does the Medici Villa's have any similar inscribed elements? Any form of community or village aspect not associated solely with the aristocracy?

Author Assif
#68 | Posted: 26 Jun 2013 13:32 
The question was is exactly meant by rural settlements is difficult to answer. Classically one defines rural settlements as based on agriculture. Thus, the Medici villas would be out. This is unrelated to the Medici's wealth. The decorated farmhouses of Halsingland or Hahoe (as said) do have residences belonging to the rich, but, they are still agriculture oriented.
The Tserkvas represent an aspect of rural life. They are no settlements though and do not constitute a residence. They would be out too.

Author Durian
#69 | Posted: 27 Jun 2013 02:36 
I really misunderstood Fujisan, as i only looked at its componant and found only shinto shrine, the value on buddhism is really a new info for me, thanks Assif and Solivagant for your great clarification.

Author Solivagant
#70 | Posted: 27 Jun 2013 03:20 | Edited by: Solivagant 
I really misunderstood Fujisan, as i only looked at its componant and found only shinto shrine, the value on buddhism is really a new info for me, thanks Assif and Solivagant for your great clarification.

This issue has opened up a new area of research and knowledge to me - namely the interaction of Buddhism and Shintoism in Japan and the religious beliefs of the Japanese to this day. I was only vaguely aware of the modern development of "Shintoism" as a "state religion" beyond its traditional status during the late 19th/early 20th Century up to WWII - and hadn't even heard of the "shinbutsu bunri" of 1868 which attempted officially to "separate" Buddhism and Shinto.

We earlier discussed whether "Shinto" should be regarded as a "traditional belief" as regards our "Connection" definitions -and, slightly illogically in my view, decided that it wasn't. I wonder if it is worth having a Connection for Shinto alone to identify which Japanese sites contain a significant "Shinto" element - and identifying which element
a. Kyoto - Kamowakeikauchi-jinja and Kamomioya-jinja shrines
b. Ancient Nara
c. Nikko - Kasuga-Taisha shrine
d. Itsukushima
e. Kii
f. Fujisan

I would exclude Hiraizumi where the connection to Shintoism is apparently only one of "influence" in Nature worship/garden design rather than as a shrine in its own right! Indeed, as I read it the Shinto shrines there are only in the buffer area (nomination file) - presumably deliberately in order to bring the "Buddhist" aspect of the site into sharper focus.

Does winterkjm have anything to add given his knowledge of Buddhism and Japanese history?

Author winterkjm
#71 | Posted: 27 Jun 2013 04:48 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Does winterkjm have anything to add given his knowledge of Buddhism and Japanese history?

I am flattered by your recognition. I have far more "expertise" concerning Korea. Nevertheless, one cannot have a full view of any country without an understanding of their immediate neighbors. One can argue China, Japan, and Korea are perhaps linked in extraordinary ways.

One aspect of East Asia that sometimes baffles westerners is the inclusion of beliefs/faiths which are practiced simultaneously. For example, a family may go to church on a weekly basis, but when a family member dies, a Buddhist monk holds the ceremony. There is often little thought that the two practices are in opposition. There are off course exceptions to this, but this type of "fusion" is common. Moreover, look at any mountainside (half-way up) anywhere around Seoul and you will surely see countless raised mounds (Korean "tombs") that are chosen using feng shui principles. Are some of these family plots of raised mounds owned by Christians? Yes. Are these tombs visited far more often than grave plots in the western world? Yes. In fact, there are businesses at these large tombs that sell traditional foods, weed trimming equipment, and flowers! Is this not a example of filial devotion to ones ancestors? It is not uncommon to meet individuals in Korea that are at once Confucian, Buddhist, and Christian. In Japan, one sees this more with Shinto, Buddhist, and Confucian. The Confucian element is often subconsciously. You may ask someone in China, Japan, or Korea if they are Confucian. More often than not their answer may be no, but do they celebrate "death day" for a parent or grandparent? How do they view education? How often do they visit the family tomb cluster? How do they speak to elders, teachers, parents, or their boss?

Shinto is very "foreign" to me for lack of a better word. I am far more familiar with Buddhism. Yet, the phenomenon in relation to Buddhism/Shinto blending does not surprise me. Moreover, the attempt by Japan in the late 19th century to clearly separate Buddhism and Shinto is directly related to Japanese nationalism and identity. Shinto is a product of Japan, while Buddhism actually was introduced by Koreans in the 6th century, and as we all know the origin is from India. I could imagine no greater shame for a staunch 19th century Japanese Nationalist, that a "backward" nation would have introduced such a prominent element into Japan. Shinto was elevated (and clarified) in a way not witnessed prior to the Meiji period. Japan saw themselves as trailblazers of modernity in East Asia. They did not want to be reminded that in traditional East Asia (pre-modern), that China was considered the "eldest" brother, Korea the "middle" brother, and Japan the "youngest" brother. Shinto is ancient by most accounts, but how Shinto developed has been strongly shaped by Meiji Era interpretation.

At 1945, there were over 1,100 Shinto shrines located in Korea. Koreans were often lined up and expected to pray (compulsory for companies and universities) for the well being of the Emperor, success in the war effort, etc. After the defeat of Japan, virtually all 1,100 of these Shinto shrines were torched by Koreans celebrating the allied victory over Japan that very night or on the days following. It is a common memory for Koreans of that generation, there was a bonfire at the Shinto Shrine! There are small remnants, of perhaps a handful of these shrines remaining in Korea. There are none that remain in any preserved or complete manor. There was also some Japanese Buddhist temples built in Korea (mostly in the pre-war years), far less in number than Shinto shrines. Most of these temples were not torched, but converted over time. There is still one perfectly preserved Japanese Buddhist temple located in Gunsan, Korea. Exceptionally preserved, and about 100 years old, this is the only one of its kind that remains. For me it was a fascinating experience to visit this particular temple, including the other well-preserved Japanese colonial buildings throughout Gunsan. It is perhaps revealing that to Korean nationalists and the general public, Shinto Shrines were considered unacceptable. Shinto being uniquely Japanese, while quite a few Japanese buildings (though many were destroyed) survive to this day.

Shintoism is without question (in my mind) a traditional belief. I would also agree with the separate connection, even though there is no significant Shinto elements in WHS outside Japan. Could WHS that derive their OUV from Shinto practices be placed in the "Living indigenous religions connection?"

Previously the largest Shinto Shrine in Korea

Dongguksa Temple in Gunsan (Japanase built)

Author Durian
#72 | Posted: 27 Jun 2013 06:11 

Author winterkjm
#73 | Posted: 27 Jun 2013 12:58 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Japanese Buddhism in Korea

Interesting temple. It looks to have been converted to an alternate purpose over time with the rear annex. Yet, the preservation and integrity of the structure overall is quite good. There does seem to be changes in Korea that allow the preservation of colonial buildings, this is a very recent change, and by no means uniform throughout the country.

Author Assif
#74 | Posted: 30 Dec 2013 06:53 | Edited by: Assif 
Following up on Solivagant's post, I would like to suggest which of the gaps presented in the filling up the gaps reports could be removed and which ones should further remain on the gap list.

1) pastoralist cultures - Should be removed?
2) traditional production of crops such as wheat, barley,
maize, millet, cocoa, cotton, rubber, or fruits - We only have coffee, tea, sugar, tobacco, vineyards and rice (see:,,,,, Still many types are missing.
3) historic and traditional irrigation systems - Should be removed?
4) human seasonal migration (transhumance)
5) sacred and/or symbolic significance of certain natural
features such as mountains, volcanoes, forests, groves, etc -, Should be removed?

6) African, Asian and Pacific vernacular architecture - African and Asian well represented. Pacific not represented at all.
7) Non European technological properties
8) pre-industrial revolution technological properties (mining sites excluded)
9) sites representing Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism
10) modern heritage
11) cultural landscapes in Arab countries
12) African archaeology, rock art, cultural routes and burial sites - African rock art is well represented.

And now to category B:

1) Ancient Mesopotamian cultures
2) Anatolian cultures
3) Ancient Egypt
4) Seljuk and Ottoman Empires
5) Central Asia (cultural) - will be covered by the Silk Road
6) Pacific except Australia (cultural)
7) Central Africa (cultural), e.g. Bantu states
8) Post independence sites from the Americas
9) Precolumbian cultures (except Mayan)

and category C:

1) expressions of oral traditions,
music, education, philosophy, health and justice
2) rural settlements - well represented?
3) modern towns (19th century onward) - well represented?
4) necropolises - Well represented?
5) industrial landscapes - Well represented?
6) Zoroastrianism - Well represented?
7) living indigenous beliefs - Well represented?
8) hunting-gathering-fishing -
9) places of mythical origin (whatever this should mean!)
10) cultural routes - will be covered after the silk road nomination?
11) migration-nomadism-slavery -, Slavrey well represented. The rest still missing.
12) land roads - will be covered after the Qapaq Nan?
13) aviation
14) energy conversion and utilisation (wind power,
water energy, steam, coal, electricity, thermonuclear energy,

1) cold winter deserts
2) tundras - Well represented?
3) polar systems

1) Andaman
3) Benguela Current
4) Central Asian deserts
5) Fiji (marine)
6) Gulf of California - filled
7) Karoo desert
8) Madagascar moist forests - filled
9) Maldives-Chagos atolls
10) New Caledonia dry and moist forests
11) Palau - filled
12) Red Sea
13) Soqotra - filled
14) Sudd-Sahelian savanna and flooded grasslands
15) Tahiti
16) Volga and Lena river deltas
17) Western Ghats - filled

And now to habitats (C):

1) Cape Floral - filled
2) Okavango (and Sudd)
3) Eastern Arc Mts
4) Atlas Mts
5) Rift Valley Lakes - filled
6) tropical mangroves of Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania
7) Namib and Kalahari deserts - filled
8) Somali-Maasai savannah
9) Sub-tropical forests of Cambodia
10) tropical montane forests of Sumatra, Philippines and Sulawesi - Sumatra filled. Philippines and Sulawesi still missing.
11) temprate deserts of central and eastern Asia
12) shrubland of the southern Caucasus
13) shrubland and savannahs of Southwest Australia
14) rainforests of Polynesia and Micronesia
15) mangroves of Eastern Papua and Northern Australia
16) Californian shrub
17) Central Mexico desert - filled
18) rainforests of Southern Chile
19) Mosquito
20) temperate forests and shrubland of Central Chile
21) grasslands of Falklands and Tierra del Fuego
22) tropical Andes
23) coastal deserts of Chile and Peru
24) South Georgia
25) European saline wetlands - filled
26) maquis
27) montado of Portugal and Spain

1) tectonic and structural features
2) stratigraphic sites
3) meteorite impact
4) deserts - well represented?

Author bojboj
#75 | Posted: 2 Jan 2014 08:47 
Happy New Year, everyone!

I am very happy that Assif mentioned:
10) tropical montane forests of Sumatra, Philippines and Sulawesi

There are indeed a lot of exciting potential Philippine natural heritage contributions. The current tentative list has several "representative" terrestrial property for every identified biogeographic zone
(See second page of:

Each zone has its own unique/endemic flora and fauna. We hope these sites will be protected (or inscribed) before climate change and supertyphoons destroy them.

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 Filling Up the Gaps

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