Jon Wyatt explores a culture’s growing spiritual and cultural detachment from the landscape. Using innate visual wonder as a tool he examines issues of national identity and iconography, preservation, development and the ethics of land ownership.
Huangshan Ltd: Huangshan – literally ‘Yellow Mountain’ – in Anhui Province is a range of mountains consisting of seventy-two granite peaks. Among the top five tourist destinations in China with two million visitors per annum, it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its scenery and role as a habitat for rare and endangered species. Its known to the Chinese as ‘the number one mountain under heaven’ and has inspired centuries of painters, poets and scholars. Its iconic beauty ranks it with the Yangtze River and the Great Wall as one of the most potent cultural and spiritual symbols of China.
The Mount Huangshan Scenic Area is privately owned and managed by the ‘Huangshan Tourism & Development Company Ltd’ and is listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. China’s decades of rapid economic reform and the unwillingness of central government to allocate money and resources to such areas has led to this process of privatisation.