7.COM 11.20

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Mali has nominated the coming forth of the masks and puppets in Markala for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The coming forth of the masks and puppets is an important event in Markala, Mali, and neighbouring villages. The tradition takes place in the public square during the dry season. Invisible under a blanket of grass, masked performers and puppet manipulators dance on stage in traditional dress to the rhythm of drumbeats and sing in chorus. The tradition celebrates the end of harvest, greets the period of individual and collective fishing, and strengthens social cohesion. Each mask and puppet symbolizes the sacred bond between humankind and nature through the representation of an animal embodying social virtues. The set of ritual practices, knowledge and know-how related to the fabrication of the masks, and the dances, music rhythms and songs are transmitted through annual initiation ceremonies of novices in the sacred groves on the banks of the Niger River. The initiation ends with libations and offerings to the guardian spirits and occult forces to obtain blessings for their smooth transition to manhood. The coming forth of the masks and puppets in Markala embodies a set of constantly recreated cultural practices that perpetuate shared social values and knowledge related to the universe.

  1. Decides that, from the information provided in file 00739, the nomination satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List, as follows:

R.1    Coming forth of the masks and puppets in Markala demonstrates high level of artistic expressions combining craftsmanship of masks and puppets as well as music, dance and songs;

R.2:   As a practice that brings diverse communities together, inscription of the coming forth of masks and puppets on the Representative List could contribute to the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage and enhance dialogue and respect for cultural diversity;

R.3:   Past, on-going and planned safeguarding measures focusing on transmission, data collection, research and education demonstrate the combined efforts and commitment of the State and the communities to protect and promote this element;

R.5:   The coming forth of the masks and puppets in Markala is included in the general inventory of the cultural heritage of Mali, compiled and updated with the participation of communities and maintained by the Ministry of Culture.

  1. Further decides that the information provided in the file is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the criteria for inscription on the Representative List are satisfied, as follows:

R.4:   Although the nomination reflects the active participation of the Markala communities and includes evidence of their free, prior and informed consent, the State is requested to clarify the measures that will be taken to ensure respect for customary practices that restrict access to certain parts of the element.

  1. Decides to refer the nomination coming forth of the masks and puppets in Markala to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle.

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