Thirty-three elements inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
© Andrej Brence, 2011
Jeju (Republic of Korea), 07 December - The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage meeting in Jeju until 9 December, inscribed thirty-three new elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The Representative List includes forms of expression that testify to the diversity of the intangible heritage and raise awareness of its importance.
The titles of the newly inscribed elements below (in chronological order of inscription) lead to web pages with information, pictures and videos:
Al-Qatt Al-Asin, a female traditional interior wall decoration, is an art technique carried out by women in the community that involves decorating the interior walls, specifically in rooms for visiting guests. Nowadays, male and female artists, designers and architects also practise the element. The art enhances social bonding and solidarity among the female community, and its application in most households ensures its viability. Observation and practice are the key methods for transmitting knowledge and skills relating to the element.
Kochari is a traditional dance that is widely performed during holidays, festive celebrations and family ceremonies. It is open to all participants and provides a sense of shared identity, solidarity and mutual respect. Non-formal transmission occurs within families and from older to younger people, while methods of formal transmission include educational programmes in youth arts centres, regular dance classes held and institutional initiatives. Experienced practitioners play a key role in efforts to safeguard the element and ensure its viability.
The Dolma tradition relates to the preparation of the traditional meal ‘dolma’, which consists of small fillings wrapped in fresh or pre-cooked leaves or stuffed in fruits and vegetables. The meal is enjoyed on special occasions and gatherings, within families and local communities. The practice expresses solidarity, respect and hospitality. Communities are actively involved in safeguarding its viability through awareness-raising activities and it is transmitted primarily within families and vocational and apprenticeship schools.
Shital Pati is the traditional art of making a handcrafted mat by weaving together strips of a green cane known as ‘Murta’. It is used by people all over Bangladesh as a sitting mat, bedspread or prayer mat. Shital Pati is a major source of livelihood that reinforces family bonding and empowers communities. The craft is primarily transmitted from generation to generation within the family, and Shital Pati communities are increasingly being organized into cooperatives to ensure its effective safeguarding and transmission.
During the ritual journeys in La Paz during Alasita, participants procure ‘good luck’ miniatures associated with Ekeko, the city’s beneficient god of fertility; this is followed by their consecration with Andean ritualists or their blessing by the Catholic Church. The practice promotes social cohesion and intergenerational transmission. Alasita rituals are primarily transmitted naturally within the family, and efforts to safeguard the practice, primarily by civil society, have been continuous. Museum exhibitions have increased awareness of the practice, and municipal contests encourage the production of the miniatures.
Konjic woodcarving is an artistic craft with a long tradition in the Konjic municipality. The woodcarvings – which include furniture, sophisticated interiors and small decorative objects – stand out for their recognizable hand-carved motifs and overall visual identity. The craft is a key part of the local community’s culture that forges a sense of community and belonging. It is primarily transmitted inter-generationally within the family and through on-the-job training in family-run woodcarving workshops, which train apprentice woodcarvers and help popularize the craft.
Cultural Practices Associated to the 1st of March comprise traditions to celebrate the beginning of spring. The main practice consists of wearing a red and white thread to ensure the safe, harmonious passage from winter to spring. All members of the communities concerned participate, and the practice contributes to social cohesion, interaction with nature, intergenerational exchange and creativity. Transmission is spontaneous and occurs through informal learning in families, neighbourhoods and workshops, as well as through dedicated school and museum programmes.
Zaouli is a popular music and dance practised by the Guro communities of Côte d’Ivoire. A homage to feminine beauty, Zaouli is inspired by two masks: the Blou and the Djela. The practice combines sculpture, weaving, music and dance. Zaouli conveys the cultural identity of its bearers and promotes social cohesion and environmental preservation. Transmission occurs during musical performances and learning sessions and the viability of the practice is ensured, for example, through regular performances organized by the communities, as well as inter-village dance competitions and festivals.
Punto is the poetry and music of Cuban peasants, consisting of a tune or melody over which a person sings an improvised or learned stanza, based on a rhyming scheme. Punto is an essential element of Cuban cultural heritage that promotes dialogue and expresses the identity of the communities concerned. Knowledge and skills are transmitted primarily through imitation and via a teaching program involving workshops delivered by bearers and practitioners of the element in Houses of Culture across the country.
Kazakh Traditional Assyk Games are an ancient tradition in Kazakhstan; each player has their own set of Assyks, traditionally made out of a sheep bone, and a ‘Saka’ dyed in bright colours. The community of practitioners mainly comprises children aged between 4 and 18, but young people and adults are also involved. The game is a good model for positive collaboration, social inclusiveness and a sense of friendship, and is primarily transmitted through observation from older boys to younger ones.
The Craftmanship of Estremoz Clay Figures dates back to the 17th century and involves a process lasting several days. The clay figures are dressed in regional attires of Alentejo or religious clothing and follow specific themes; the very characteristic aesthetic features of the figures make them immediately identifiable, and the craft is strongly attached to the region. Artisans ensure the viability and recognition of their craft through non-formal workshops and pedagogical initiatives, as well as through local, national and international fairs.
Organ craftsmanship and music has shaped Germany’s musical and instrument-making landscape for centuries, and there are a diverse number of traditions around constructing and playing the organ. The highly specialized knowledge and skills of organ makers are significant markers of group identity and organ music constitutes a universal language that fosters interreligious understanding. Knowledge and skills related to the element are transmitted through a direct teacher-pupil experience as well as in vocational schools, universities, and organ construction workshops.
Rebetiko is a musical and cultural expression directly linked to song and dance that initially spread among urban working-class populations. Rebetiko songs are now a standardized repertoire in social occasions, containing invaluable references to the customs and traditions of a particular way of life. Rebetiko is transmitted orally, as well as by the media and in music schools, conservatories and universities, and musicians and enthusiasts continue to play a key role in keeping the practice alive.
Kumbh Mela, the festival of the sacred Pitcher, is a peaceful congregation of pilgrims during which participants bathe or take a dip in a sacred river. The congregation includes ascetics, saints, sadhus, aspirants-kalpavasis and visitors. The tradition plays a central spiritual role in the country, encapsulating a diverse range of cultural customs. Knowledge and skills relating to Kumbh Mela are mainly imparted through the teacher-student relationship, but transmission and safeguarding are also ensured through oral traditions and religious and historical texts.
Pinisi, or the Art of Boatbuilding in South Sulawesi, refers to the famed ‘Sulawesi schooner’ and represents the epitome of the Archipelago’s indigenous sailing craft. Today, boatbuilding centres are located at Tana Beru, Bira and Batu Licin, where shipbuilding and sailing are central to the community’s social, economic and cultural fabric. Knowledge and skills are transmitted from generation to generation both within and outside of the family circle, and local shipwrights are engaged in active marketing initiatives to safeguard the practice.
Chogān is a horse-riding game traditionally played in royal courts and urban fields and accompanied by music and storytelling. In Chogān, two rider teams compete and the aim is to pass the ball through the opposing team’s goal post using a wooden stick. Chogān has a strong connection to the identity and history of its bearers and practitioners. It is transmitted informally within the family sphere, as well as by dedicated associations through training and support for local masters.
The art of crafting and playing Kamantcheh/Kamancha (‘little bow’), a bowed string instrument, has existed for over 1,000 years. In the Islamic Republic of Iran and Azerbaijan, it is a major element of classical and folkloric music, and performances occupy a central place in many gatherings. Kamantcheh is both a key source of earning a living and a strong part of the communities’ living heritage. Knowledge relating to the art of crafting and playing Kamantcheh is transmitted both within families and in musical institutions.
Uilleann Piping is a musical practice in which a particular type of bagpipe (known as ‘uilleann’, ‘Irish’ or ‘union’ pipes) is used to play traditional music. Bearers and practitioners include participants of all ages, dispersed throughout the world. Uilleann Piping offers an important way of socializing, providing a sense of rootedness and connection to the past. Knowledge and skills are transmitted using both long-established and modern practices, and the practice is primarily safeguarded through the efforts of the group Na Piorabairi Uilleann.
The art of the Neapolitan ‘Pizzaiuolo’ is a culinary practice consisting of four different phases relating to the preparation of the dough and its baking in a wood-fired oven. The practice originates in Naples, where around 3,000 Pizzaiuoli now live and perform, and plays a key role in fostering social gatherings and intergenerational exchange. Knowledge and skills related to the element are primarily transmitted in the ‘bottega’ of the Pizzaiuolo, where young apprentices can observe their master at work.
Kok boru, a horse game, is a synthesis of traditional practices, performances and the game. The game is played by two teams on horseback, who compete by trying to score as many ‘ulaks’ (a mould in modern-day games) into their opponents’ goal as possible. The element is an expression of the cultural and historic tradition of its practitioners and unites communities regardless of social status. Related knowledge and skills are primarily transmitted through demonstration, as well as during festive and social events.
Nsima, the Culinary Tradition of Malawi, is a compound name for the culinary and dietary tradition of Malawians as well as a single component of this tradition, a form of thick porridge prepared with maize flour. Nsima is prepared through an elaborate process requiring specific knowledge, and eating it is a communal tradition in families. Communities safeguard the element through continued practice, publications, festivals and revitalization activities, and knowledge is transmitted both informally and through on-the-job training and education.
Sega Tambour of Rodrigues Island is a vibrant performance of music, song and dance performed all over Rodrigues Island. With its origins in defiance and resilience, it is an important means of conflict resolution that fosters socialization and consolidates bonds. Recognised as a symbol of the history of the Rodriguan community, Sega Tambour is safeguarded through the efforts of numerous groups established since the 1970s. Knowledge and skills are transmitted through imitation and observation, and through apprenticeship with experienced craftspeople.
The craft of the miller operating windmills and watermills involves the knowledge and skills necessary to operate a mill and maintain it in a good state of repair. Millers now also play a key role in transmitting the related cultural history. Mills, and therefore the miller’s craft, play a significant social and cultural role in Dutch society. Various safeguarding measures are undertaken, and the Guild of Volunteer Millers, established in 1972, offers training and ongoing support to anyone interested in the craft.
The artisanal process of obtaining the plant fibres for weaving talcos, crinejas and pintas to make pinta’o hats is a manual process using plants and swamp mud. Participants either plant, process the raw materials, weave or create the braids used to make the hat, which is part of regional outfits worn throughout the country. The processes and techniques are passed down from generation to generation and numerous efforts to safeguard the element are in place, including the organization of artisanal markets, fairs and contests.
The Traditional System of Corongo’s Water Judges is an organizational method developed by the people of Corongo in Northern Peru. The system, which dates back to pre-Inca times, is primarily aimed at supplying water fairly and sustainably, through proper land stewardship, thereby ensuring the existence of these two resources for future generations. The functions, significance and values of the system are transmitted within the family and public spheres, as well as across all school levels through dances connected with the system.
Kolo is a traditional, collective folk dance performed by dancers interlinked to form a chain, usually moving in a circle holding hands. It is performed to the accompaniment of music during private and public gatherings and plays an integrative social role, involving all members of the local community. Performances at key events for the lives of individuals and communities make this element very present and sustainable, and bearers and local communities ensure its visibility through fairs, festivals and competitions.
The Multipart Singing of Horehronie involves a variable solo melody of pre-singing and more static choir answers. The singing culminates in intertwined parallel melodies with rich variations. Bearers and practitioners are inhabitants of the villages in question as well as the broader public, and the singing is perceived as a characteristic local phenomenon. The practice is transmitted from generation to generation and through informal education, and bearers endorse the element by practising it and using it in regular cross-generational exchange.
Door-to-door rounds of Kurenti is a Shrovetide custom practised from Candlemas to Ash Wednesday. Groups of Kurenti and one or more devils run from house to house and jump around the owners brandishing wooden sticks and ringing bells. Kindergartens and schools help safeguard the practice, and some formal educational courses and informal workshops help maintain respect for the tradition. Related knowledge and skills are mainly transmitted within the family, but museums and schools also play a key role in this regard.
Basel Carnival is the largest carnival in Switzerland. Starting on the Monday following Ash Wednesday, the carnival includes parades, concerts and lantern exhibitions, and can be compared to a huge satirical magazine. The carnival promotes tolerance through social criticism and fosters social cohesion. Transmission occurs informally in families, while the ‘cliques’ also play an important role throughout the year, with several having a section dedicated to encouraging the next generation. The carnival has been successfully safeguarded over past decades thanks to measures taken by the communities.
The Spring Celebration Hıdrellez takes place annually on 6 May, which is recognized as Spring Day or the awakening of nature. To mark the occasion, various ceremonies and rituals connected with nature are performed, guaranteeing the wellbeing of the family and community and protecting livestock and crops. The rituals provide the community with a deep sense of cultural belonging and the viability of the tradition is ensured primarily through the annual performance of the celebration and the organization of related events.
The Kushtdepdi rite of singing and dancing is a performing art involving creative poeticizing focused on good feelings and wishes. It is performed during ceremonies and national celebrations and involves singing with vocal improvisation and dancing with movements of the hands, gestures and footsteps. The bearers and practitioners are actively involved in safeguarding the practice through performances and the compilation of introductory teaching resources. The knowledge and skills are traditionally transmitted from master singers to amateurs through informal training.
The art of Bài Chòi in Central Viet Nam is a diverse art combining music, poetry, acting, painting and literature. Bài Chòi is an important form of culture and recreation whose bearers and practitioners include artists, performers, card-making artists and hut-making artists. Performers and their families play a major role in safeguarding the practice, and numerous dedicated groups exist. Most performers learn their skills within the family but specialist artists also transmit their knowledge in clubs, schools and associations.
The khaen music of the Lao people is played with a mouth organ that resembles panpipes, but made with bamboo tubes of varying lengths. It is integral to Lao life and promotes family and social cohesion. Families play an important role in transmitting the art and associations exist in many communities where young people can learn the related skills. To maintain the practice, several local communities and groups have taken up various initiatives to safeguard it through formal and non-formal education.
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