Manusya, Journal of Humanities

Publication Date



The degree of repair and conservation of a historic building often creates controversy. Guidelines and principles in conservation such as international charters and manifestors of various conservation movement and generate inconclusive debates. A philosophical approach to conservation I is based on the value given to the monument and site, since the aim of conservation is "…the upkeep and maintenance of historic buildings and areas that merit care either due to their social and economics values" (Jokilehto 1992, 109). It is obvious that we want to conserve what we value. Therefore, if the values of a historic monument are agrees upon, planning for its conservation should not create much argument. The Venice Charter of 1964 emphasizes that the aim of the conservation process is to preserve and reveal the authenticity, including the archaeological and historical value, of the monument. Such values, however, are always debatable, since historic value can refer to the historic fabric of the monument as well as the historical association between the monument and the society. In the former aspect, physical elements will be preserved or restored with respect to the original materials, techniques, and nature of the monument as an authentic document. In the latter case, the historical value may be represented by a living spirit and the continuity of symbolic associations, while the authenticity of the architectural fabric is not taken into account. In the case of Thailand, where Buddhist monasteries have been built, restored or rebuilt as acts of piety, it is obvious that the spiritual aspect of the monument is of great importance and may be considered to overshadow archaeological, historic, and architectural values. In this article, we will look at how this philosophical approach to conversation has developed by exploring the attitudes of Thai Buddhists towards their built environment. Understanding this will lead to a determination of the spiritual values, such as identity and authenticity, of historical monuments.

First Page


Last Page




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.