14.COM 10.B.23

The Committee,

  1. Takes note that Mexico and Spain have nominated Artisanal talavera of Puebla and Tlaxcala (Mexico) and ceramics of Talavera de la Reina and El Puente del Arzobispo (Spain) making process (No. 01462) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The processes of making the artisanal talavera of Puebla and Tlaxcala (Mexico) and ceramics of Talavera de la Reina and El Puente del Arzobispo (Spain) are identified with two communities in both Mexico and Spain. The ceramics have domestic, decorative and architectural uses. Despite changes over time and the developments ceramics have undergone in both countries – including due to the use of electric potter’s wheels nowadays – the artisanal making processes, including making techniques, enameling and decoration, retain the same pattern as in the sixteenth century. Related knowledge and skills include preparing the clay, making the earthenware using a potter’s wheel or cast, decorating, preparing enamels and pigments and managing the kiln, which requires great expertise. Some ceramists carry out the whole process, while others specialize in specific tasks. Related knowledge – including raw material extraction, material processing, decoration and firing techniques – is mostly borne by master earthenware artisans and ceramists, who have developed their skills over time and transmit them to the next generations through oral transmission in their artisanal workshops or in the family setting. Every workshop has its own identity, as reflected in the detail of the shapes, decorations, colours and enamels of the pieces, and the production of ceramics remains a key identity symbol in both countries.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   The artisanal Talavera ceramic-making processes have maintained a historical continuity that has turned the production of this type of ceramics into an identity symbol for Puebla and Tlaxcala in Mexico, and for Talavera de la Reina and El Puente del Arzobispo in Spain. As a result, the lexicon related to the production of the ceramics has developed and become prevalent, acting as a bond between the two countries. Nowadays, in each territory, the element helps foster a sense of unity and strengthens ties to the community.

R.2:   The inscription of the element would raise awareness of the value of intangible heritage at the local levels, increase artisans’ sense of pride, bring about a reassessment of their ancestral knowledge within their communities and increase younger generations’ interest in intangible cultural heritage. Moreover, the inscription would help create a new space for dialogue and dynamics of international cooperation around intangible cultural heritage in which other nations could participate. The inscription would also serve as a reminder to the international community of the importance and survival of artisanal knowledge and help increase its visibility.

R.4:   In Mexico, the nomination file was prepared with the participation of representatives of the bearers and actors concerned with the practice, such as academics, experts, governmental authorities and entrepreneurs. In Spain, from the beginning of the process, the nomination was developed through a citizen project that was devised at the communities’ own initiative. The information required to prepare the nomination was gathered from inhabitants of the bearer centres, scholars, entrepreneurs, political groups and the media.

R.5:   The Talavera ceramic-making processes are included in the national inventories of both countries. They were included in the Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mexico in 2018 and in the General Registry of Assets of Cultural Interest of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of Spain in 2015. There are clear indications about the updating of both inventories and about how the communities participated in the process.

  1. Further considers that based on the information provided by the States Parties to the Committee at its present session, the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is satisfied:

R.3: Bearer communities in both countries have actively participated in the safeguarding of the traditional artisanal practice through different kind of measures with the support of local and national government authorities. Among them, the experience shown in the file regarding the linkage established between intangible cultural heritage and industrial property, may provide elements that could contribute to a better safeguarding of these artisan practices worldwide and to avoid the improper cultural appropriation by external actors. Mexico and Spain have underlined the importance of this tradition for both countries, and have created experience exchange spaces to enhance the joint work which could lead in the future towards common safeguarding measures.

  1. Decides to inscribe the Artisanal talavera of Puebla and Tlaxcala (Mexico) and ceramics of Talavera de la Reina and El Puente del Arzobispo (Spain) making process on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Reminds the States Parties that the primary objective of the Convention is to safeguard intangible cultural heritage and invites them to take measures to adequately manage the commercialization of the element and mitigate its possible negative impacts.

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