Abstract：In recent years， there has been an ongoing enthusiasm for research on the development of cultural heritage in China. Within this research， the academic community has shown special interest in the world heritage application for tusi sites， especially just after its successful application. Accompanying the recent “world heritage application” of Tusi cultural heritage， academic circles have paid more and more attention to the definition of tusi culture. A review of relevant literature shows that this important academic issue， namely the definition of tusi culture within the studies of the tusi system in China， seem to have been drawn mainly from the following two aspects：
1）The problems found within the studies of tusi cultural heritage raise the cognitive problem of tusi culture. Understanding tusi culture from the perspective of cultural heritage is “both an academic issue and an academic method”. Since the end of the 20th century （1996）， there have been notable deficiencies in the research concerning tusi cultural heritage. In short， the research results are mostly a “horizontal display” of tusi heritage resources using a “descriptive” methodology， that is， the researchers conduct a simple classification and introduction of the status of the resources， and their related management classification， but they lack scientific analysis of the regional advantages. “The mode for the protection and development of of tusi cultural heritage is relatively simple， but it is difficult to achieve a balance between protection and development aimed at different cultural categories”. This paper states that the problems existing in the research on tusi cultural heritage， especially the problem of “imbalance between protection and development”， are inseparable from serious weaknesses in the basic theoretical research related to tusi culture.
2）Tusi culture， as an academic term in the research of tusi， is proposed and applied in the process of constructing Chinese tusi studies. Scholars regard “tusi culture as an important research category within the category of tusi studies. It is a research trend that emerged during the period of rapid development of tusi studies. It rose up rapidly during this peak period after which tusi studies experienced downturn period. During the 1990s， tusi studies began to include the content of tusi culture， and then， tusi culture became one of the secondary branches of Tusi studies， holding an equally important position as researching the tusi system， tusi region and social economy. From then on， ‘tusi culture’ became a term with specific meanings.” With the success of the world heritage application in 2015， tusi studies has once again become an important academic topic in the study of the tusi in China. What we should pay attention to is that the general rules constructed by the general systems of modern scientific knowledge remind us that tusi culture and tusi cultural heritage are two highly correlated disciplinary concepts， however， they belong to two concepts with distinct connotations. There is a confusion in the theoretical perspective if we understand， describe and study the characteristics， nature and rules of tusi cultural heritage with the knowledge of the tusi culture.
The concept of tusi cultural heritage is not the same as that of tusi cultural heritage; while the concept of tusi culture is clearly defined， it does not mean that the concept of tusi cultural heritage is also clearly defined. The cultural form of the tusi system in history has become “history” with the end of tusi history. The “cultural heritage” in the concept of tusi cultural heritage is the sum of the material and spiritual wealth inherited from ancestors in the process of human development. It is a heritage transferred to the subsequent cultural legacy with the end of a kind of the cultural form， and includes material， spiritual and psychological content. The form of Chinas tusi culture in history has ended， but the “legacy of its subsequent culture” is still very rich， for examples the Yongshun tusi site ， Tangya tusi city site， and the Bozhou Hailongtun tusi site. In addition， there are place names， sites， folk beliefs and legends associated with tusi culture in the Wuling ethnic areas.
The definition of tusi culture based on the concept of cultural heritage essentially means that the core meaning of “the system of tusi culture” is its cognitive basis， and it is the academic foundation for the study of tusi culture and history in China this cannot be ignored. The interpretation of the outstanding universal value of world heritage found in Chinas tusi culture is a key issue that we cannot avoid when discussing the definition of tusi culture. Just as “tusi culture” and “tusi cultural heritage” are two concepts with different connotations and attributes， so， “tusi cultural value” and “tusi cultural heritage value” should not be taken as being the same. The value orientation of research on “tusi culture” lies in the complete and comprehensive explanation about the real existence of its historical form. And the value orientation of the research of “tusi cultural heritage” lies in the understanding， interpretation and application of its universal value within globalization， as well as in exploring and confirming that the most essential part， as an inheritance of excellent Chinese traditional culture， is still full of vitality in the contemporary era. If “the system of tusi culture” could be regarded as a narrow definition within the connotation of tusi culture， then， the definition of tusi culture based on the concept of cultural heritage could take the narrow definition of the system of tusi culture as an ontological attribute of history and culture. And， as such it can be put into the interpretation of cultural heritage which states that Chinas tusi culture has the outstanding universal value of world heritage， This should be a broadly defining principle regarding the connotation of tusi culture， or the value orientation of a broad definition of tusi culture In his article tusi wenhua yichan de jiazhi nonglian yu biaoda （The Expression of the Value of Tusi Cultural Heritage），Ge Zhengwei interpreted the “highest value” and “core value” of Chinas tusi cultural heritage within world culture that can be confirmed at present time based on the facts of the world heritage application of tusi site. In my opinion， this is based on the disciplinary concept of cultural heritage studies. The elaboration of the outstanding universal value of Chinas tusi culture as part of world heritage is worth an in depth discussion.
Key Words：cultural heritage studies; definition of tusi culture; tusi cultural heritage
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