Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 11.COM 10.b.34

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Turkey has nominated Traditional craftsmanship of Çini-making (No. 01058) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Çini are traditional, handmade glazed tiles and ceramics made in Turkey featuring colourful motifs of plants, animals and geometric patterns often found on facades of buildings and in homes throughout the country. Producing çini involves a series of processes. The clay is first shaped, lined, dried and fired in ovens specifically for çini making. Designs representing local customs and beliefs are then drilled on paper and transferred to the surface with coal dust. Outer contours of the patterns are hand-drawn, the surface dyed in various colours and then the work is glazed and fired. Çini-making workshops involve craftspeople, supervisors and apprentices. Each craftsperson has a specific role – shaping, designing and dyeing, polishing and undercoating or firing. Practitioners consider çini-making as an outlet for self‑expression, development and healing, as well as a means of maintaining an art form that is a symbolic aspect of Turkey’s cultural identity, strengthening links from the past to the present providing continuity. Çini-making is not confined to workshop spaces. The tradition is also practised in the home, public education centres, vocation schools and universities throughout the country where neither age, gender nor ethnicity are barriers to knowledge sharing, transmission and skills development.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria:

R.1:   The file describes the element’s cultural function in transmitting to following generations aesthetic and technical patterns, perceptions about nature and the universe, and thus cultural continuity and a sense of identity. The submitting State also describes the social functions of the element in respect to social and personal attitudes, skills and values. The bearers and practitioners are mostly çini craftspeople and trainers, whose knowledge and skills are transmitted through master-apprentice/parent-child relations and increasingly, through formal education institutions. They respect important traditional norms and technological procedures while enhancing the element through their creativity. Çini-making is shown to be all inclusive across cultures, religions, age and gender while making its practitioners patient, creative and respectful of others. The element is compatible with existing human rights instruments and requirements for sustainable development;

R.2:   Given similar craftsmanship in other cultural contexts, the file describes how inscription of the element would contribute to the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general, as well as to engagement across different communities, practitioners and researchers at international level. Awareness for particular communities that share this element with other regions in Turkey would also be enhanced. Çini-making is an example of aesthetic dynamism and human creativity. Its inscription would thus promote respect for human creativity, and encourage çini craftspeople to safeguard and improve their traditional knowledge and skills against industrial production and imported products;

R.3:   Several initiatives have been undertaken in the past by communities concerned to safeguard the element and ensure its viability, although these have not always had the desired results. The proposed safeguarding measures are mostly presented as part of a ‘Strategic Plan for Safeguarding and Monitoring of Çini-Making’ and include ensuring sustainable development in çini-making centres, raising national awareness, promoting research and publications, and encouraging creativity and dialogue. These will involve a variety of stakeholders, including state institutions, demonstrating the support and deep commitment of the local community and the submitting State. This plan is well elaborated and thematically structured, and includes the production of an annual assessment and impact analysis report;

R.4:   The submitting State has provided sufficient information on community participation by a wide range of çini craftspeople, representatives from non-governmental organizations, academicians, folklore researchers and others in the nomination process from its inception to final submission, including the use of electronic means to reach a wider audience. The submitting State explains how consent of the parties concerned was obtained and indicates that there are no customary practices governing access to the element. Representatives of these groups gave their free, prior and informed consent to nominate the element, through personalized letters;

R.5:   The element was included in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Turkey in 2010 and updated in 2013, under the management of the Ministry for Culture and Tourism. The inventorying process involved local communities, through local Boards for Intangible Cultural Heritage.

  1. Inscribes Traditional craftsmanship of Çini-making on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.