ICOMOS adopted three complementary frameworks for analysis, which are

• A typological framework which is based on categories that have been used for the classification of cultural heritage in past ICOMOS evaluations of nominations for inclusion in the World Heritage List;
• A chronological/regional framework which classifies cultural heritage in relation to time and space,
• A thematic framework, which classifies the relationship between people and things, and allows new aspects and contexts to be included in the World Heritage List.

Kinmen can be analyzed within the typological framework, based on historic buildings and ensembles, historic towns and villages and military properties; within the chronological-regional framework, Kinmen can be analyzed based on its location in Republic of China, East Asia, Asia; within the thematic framework, it can be analyzed based on expression of creativity, castle, palaces, residences and military architecture。

Objects for Comparative Analysis
Based on the above mentioned arguments regarding the cultural distinctiveness of Kinmen's military site and composite culture, comparisons with other sites are made through the following key elements:

  1. Criterion (ii): Over the past 1600 years, Kinmen has suffered from the constant threat of war. Based on the strength of kinship ties and religious faith, Kinmen has evolved a multifaceted culture whose rich mix of Southern Fujian culture, emigrant contributions and military artifacts provide physical evidence of the strength and authenticity of basic values in the face of war.
    a.Location: the whole world
    b.Type: General community that is influenced by immigration
    c.Distinctive feature: suffering from the constant threat of war or war-related factors

  2. Criterion (ii): Kinmen has a rich Southern Fujian culture, a living, breathing organic culture which continues to be nourished through the common people's architecture, agriculture, religious ceremonies and spiritual faith. For the tens of millions of Southern Fujian people scattered throughout the rapidly changing Chinese diaspora spread over today's global society, Kinmen's unique, excellently preserved cultural artifacts and its particular form of Southern Fujian culture reflect values of integrity and authenticity that are unique in this world.
    a.Location: areas where Southern Fujian culture exerts its influence – mostly East Asia: Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia, and the coastal areas of southeast China
    b.Type: societies where common people mainly follow traditional culture
    c.Distinctiveness: societies where Southern Fujian or related cultures and their associated values prevail

Comparisons with sites inscribed on the World Heritage list or the tentative list
The sites in Kinmen can be compared with five sites in China, Malaysia and Vietnam: the Historic Centre of Macao, Kaiping Diaolou and Villages, Fujian Tulou, Melaka and George Town (Historic cities of the Straits of Malacca), and Hoi An Ancient Town in Vietnam.

  1. Historic Centre of Macao (
    - inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2005, located in Macao Special Administrative Region of China. Justification for inscription is based on four criteria, (ii), (iii), (iv) and (vi).

    Criterion (ii): The strategic location of Macao on the Chinese territory, and the special relationship established between the Chinese and Portuguese authorities favoured an important interchange of human values in the various fields of culture, sciences, technology, art and architecture over several centuries.
    Criterion (iii): Macao bears a unique testimony to the first and longest-lasting encounter between the West and China. From the 16th to the 20th centuries, it was the focal point for traders and missionaries, and the different fields of learning. The impact of this encounter can be traced in the fusion of different cultures that characterize the historic core zone of Macao.
    Criterion (iv): Macao represents an outstanding example of an architectural ensemble that illustrates the development of the encounter between the Western and Chinese civilizations over some four and half centuries, represented in the historical route, with a series of urban spaces and architectural ensembles, that links the ancient Chinese port with the Portuguese city.
    Criterion (vi): Macao has been associated with the exchange of a variety of cultural, spiritual, scientific and technical influences between the Western and Chinese civilizations. These ideas directly motivated the introduction of crucial changes in China, ultimately ending the era of imperial feudal system and establishing the modern republic.

  2. Kaiping Diaolou and Villages ( inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2007, located in Guangdong Province, China. Justification of its outstanding universal values is based on three criteria, (ii)、(iii)、and (iv).
    Criterion (ii): The Diaolou represent in dramatic physical terms an important interchange of human values - architectural styles brought back from North America by returning Chinese and fused with local rural traditions - within a particular cultural area of the world.
    Criterion (iii): The building of defensive towers was a local tradition in the Kaiping area since Ming times in response to local banditry. The nominated Diaolou represent the final flourishing of this tradition, in which the conspicuous wealth of the retuning Chinese contributed to the spread of banditry and their towers were an extreme response.
    Criterion (iv): The main towers, with their settings and through their flamboyant display of wealth, are a type of building that reflects the significant role played by emigre Kaiping people in the development of several countries in South Asia, Australasia, and North America, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and the continuing links between the Kaiping community and Chinese communities in these parts of the world.

  3. The Fujian Tulou --- inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008, located in Fujian Province, China. Justification for its inscription is based on three criteria, (iii)、(iv)、and (v).
    Criterion (iii): The tulou bear an exceptional testimony to a long-standing cultural tradition of defensive buildings for communal living that reflect sophisticated building traditions and ideas of harmony and collaboration, well documented over time.
    Criterion (iv): The tulou are exceptional in terms of size, building traditions and function, and reflect society's response to various stages in economic and social history within the wider region.
    Criterion (v): The tulou as a whole and the nominated Fujian tulou in particular, in terms of their form are a unique reflection of communal living and defensive needs, and in terms of their harmonious relationship with their environment, an outstanding example of human settlement.

  4. Melaka and George Town inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008, located on the Straits of Malacca,Malaysia. Justification for inscription is based on three criteria, (ii)、(iii)、and (v).
    Criterion (ii): Melaka and George Town represent exceptional examples of multi-cultural trading towns in East and Southeast Asia, forged from the mercantile and exchanges of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures and three successive European colonial powers for almost 500 years, each with its imprints on the architecture and urban form, technology and monumental art. Both towns show different stages of development and the successive changes over a long span of time and are thus complementary.
    Criterion (iii): Melaka and George Town are living testimony to the multi-cultural heritage and tradition of Asia, and European colonial influences. This multi-cultural tangible and intangible heritage is expressed in the great variety of religious buildings of different faiths, ethnic quarters, the many languages, worship and religious festivals, dances, costumes, art and music, food, and daily life.
    Criterion (iv): Melaka and George Town reflect a mixture of influences which have created a unique architecture, culture and townscape without parallel anywhere in East and South Asia. In particular, they demonstrate an exceptional range of shop houses and townhouses. These buildings show many different types and stages of development of the building type, some originating in the Dutch or Portuguese periods.

  5. Hoi An Ancient Town inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1999, located in Vietnam. Justification for its inscription is based on two criteria, (ii) and (v).
    Criterion (ii) : Hoi An is an outstanding material manifestation of the fusion of cultures over time in an international commercial port.
    Criterion (v) : Hoi An is an exceptionally well preserved example of a traditional Asian trading port.

When comparing Kinmen and these five other World Heritage sites, we can see that the greatest difference lies in the fact that Southern Fujian's traditions have a history which ranges over one thousand years. Apart from the Fujian Tulou, the four other Asian World Heritage sites are relics of Europe's colonial history. Although the architecture shows traces of local infuence, the scale and numbers are not comparable to colonial-style buildings. It is quite obvious that colonial-style architecture shows a much stronger presence.

Being adjacent to Fujian Province in China, Kinmen has been greatly influenced by its culture for thousands of years. Although Kinmen was held by the Japanese for eight years during World War II (1937-1945), the occupiers did not have the power to influence the direction of Kinmen's cultural evolution. They imposed their force on the level of economic and labor exploitation, but did not interfere with Kinmen's cultural purity. As to the Western-style buildings, which were mostly built by merchants who achieved financial success overseas, their architectural style blends smoothly with Southern Fujian traditions. Rather than being intruders, these buildings are well coordinated with the landscape.

With defense as their main objective, the Fujian Tulou are a special form of architecture which integrates the architectural features of Western Fujian with residents' innovations. However, in terms of cultural transmission, the Tulou are different from the settlements in Kinmen. Although people do actually live inside the Tulou, the public spaces do not have any other administrative functions. These buildings are isolated, one of a kind architectural ensembles. Although the residents are self-sufficient, they don't have any opportunities to come into contact with the outside world. The settlements in Tulou are functionally fixed, isolated settlements. On the other hand, although Kinmen's settlements also include defense mechanisms (on the spiritual or tangible level, such as temples and Lion Wind deities, or substantial facilities such as trenches, tunnels and defense towers), these settlements are not as secluded as those in the Tulou. The dividing line between inner and outer space is merely marked by a Lion Wind deity at each village entrance. There are also private schools and educational facilities in the settlements. Government offices and halls of the highest official administration and organizations for economic and political functions are located in the core areas of Houpu settlement.

Most of the multicultural influences in Kinmen (such as the Mofan Street in Houpu or the foreign style buildings in Shuitou Settlement) were brought back by expatriates who had been in business overseas. These influences were modified in the light of Southern Fujian culture. Thus, the solid foundation of Southern Fujian traditions was not disturbed; instead, it was enriched by these influences and became even stronger. Although Kinmen experienced repeated wars, because of strict internal controls and isolation from outside influences, this valuable heritage and its historical legacy has been well preserved. This has made possible the continued survival of Southern Fujian culture for many hundreds of years.

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