Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 77 ›› Issue (12): 3162-3179.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202212014

• Regional Development • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial distribution and pedigree age of national intangible cultural heritage

LI Jiaxin(), WANG Zhenbo()   

  1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2021-02-22 Revised:2022-11-18 Online:2022-12-25 Published:2022-12-29
  • Contact: WANG Zhenbo;
  • Supported by:
    The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research(2019QZKK1005)


Intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is a vivid testimony to the continuous inheritance of Chinese civilization. The study of ICH from the perspective of the geographical environment, spatial relationships and diachronic development is of great significance for understanding objectively the reasons for the formation of spatial distribution patterns of ICH and the pathways and extent of its spread; as a consequence, such information can help us improve our understanding of the integrity and historical continuity of Chinese culture. From a geography perspective, this study seeks to explore the spatial patterns of ICH based on knowledge concerning the extent of spreading of ICH. At the same time, the evolution tree model is used to express the spatiotemporal development of ICH in a simple, clear and visual way. Also, the factors influencing the spatial distribution of ICH are analyzed. The main findings are as follows: (1) The national intangible cultural heritage is concentrated mainly in areas with a high level of development, prominent national characteristics, profound cultural accumulation, and excellent natural conditions. The North China Plain and the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River Plain constitute the main focal centers for ICH. (2) A high internal consistency is found in Beijing and Tibet, and Jiangsu and Zhejiang exhibit the characteristics of large dispersion and small aggregation. (3) The distribution centers for ICH in China generally present as pathways running from west to east and north to south. (4) Changes in the ecological environment, population migration, changes in the patterns of economic development and the chaos brought about by war are the key factors which have influenced the spread of ICH. Appreciation of the aforementioned features allows us to gain consensus on the development and evolution of ICH, and hence can justify how we allocate funds to promote ICH projects, paying particular attention to researching the historical context, and preserving the extraction of the local characteristics of ICH.

Key words: intangible cultural heritage, spatial distribution, spread, pedigree age, influencing factors