Yan Xinfa 闫新法 (born in 1952) began taking photographs in 1974. Since then he has created two major body of artworks (People and Emperor’s tomb) that tackle with Chinese inhabitants and the relationship with their cultural landscape. Emperor’s tomb (2004-2005) is a series of black and white photographs, in which a sense of tranquillity and timelessness pervades the atmosphere. This series does not only offer a contemporary gaze at archaeological remains, it also reinterprets Chinese daily life within and nearby the mausoleum. Perhaps the fact that Yan works as a professional photographer at Henan Museum - one of the oldest museums in China founded in 1927 – explains why he has been able to be so close to this region’s inhabitants and cultural remains. Yan’s photographs reflect the impulse to preserve: archiving both contemporary common land and ancient imperial tomb enables him to salvage China’s cultural heritage and collective memory. In between desacralization and sanctification of an ancient sacred site now re-appropriated by its local population.