Setting Moon and Rising Nationalism: Lugou Bridge as Monument and Memory
International Journal of Heritage Studies
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This paper examines Beijing’s Lugou Bridge (Marco Polo Bridge) in terms of monument and memory. With 800 years of history to its credit, this structure carries with it a select set of textual memories passed down from one dynasty to the next, and finally into the 20th century when its traditional associations of architectural and natural beauty were supplemented by its modern association with the beginning of the Anti‐Japanese War of Resistance (Second World War in China). With the opening of Sino‐Japanese diplomacy in the 1970s, the Chinese authorities began to accredit further significance to the bridge as a site of Chinese indignation over Japan’s perceived refusal to take responsibility for its wartime aggression. This point was driven home most forcefully through the construction of the Anti‐Japanese War Memorial Hall in 1985, and the continuing use of the site as a tool of diplomacy. Lugou Bridge, therefore, serves to demonstrate how political authority and cultural nationalism are constructed through the continuing appropriation of monumental artefacts and traditions.