9.COM 10.27

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Mali has nominated Coming forth of the masks and puppets in Markala (No. 01004) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The coming forth of the masks and puppets is a ritual festivity practised among the Bambara, Bozo, Marka and Somono communities in Markala, and is characterized by masked dances, drums and songs featuring dancers and puppeteers. Each mask and puppet symbolizes the sacred link between man and nature, with particular animals incarnating specific virtues of society. During the dry season, young neophytes receive knowledge and instruction to ready them for the transition to adulthood. The initiation takes place in a sacred wood next to the Niger River, where the knowledge and skills associated with these ritual practices are transmitted to young boys by their elders. The initiation closes with libations and offerings to protective spirits and occult forces to obtain permission to become trained men, ready to wear the mask and to dance. After the rites, post-harvest celebrations provide a platform for diverse expressions of local cultures, through prayer, music, chants and dances, heralding a period of individual and collective fishing. The ritual illustrates the cohesion, dialogue, tolerance and continuity of the plural cultural identities of the Markala communities and neighbouring villages. It offers a space for festive encounters and exchanges to resolve intra- and intercommunity conflicts, as well as family quarrels and misunderstandings.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List:

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.4:   Communities were actively involved in the nomination process at all stages and members approved the nomination file as submitted and provided their free, prior and informed consent;

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. Inscribes Coming forth of the masks and puppets in Markala on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

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