Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 13.COM 10.b.32

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Slovenia has nominated Bobbin lacemaking in Slovenia (No. 01378) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Bobbin lacemaking in Slovenia is a handicraft skill of making lace by crossing and twisting thread wound on special wooden sticks known as bobbins. Using locally recognizable patterns with local names, bobbin lacemakers make lace in bands or in finished shapes. The bobbin lacemaking process follows a specific pattern: a drawing on paper is attached to a cylinder pillow in a wicker basket or on a wooden base. The lace is used to adorn clothing and fashion accessories, church and home textiles and representative spaces, but bobbin lacemaking also serves as an inspiration for artistic creations in fields such as the contemporary visual arts, design, architecture and culinary design. It is the creative expression of all those involved in the process, including the pattern designer and the bobbin lacemaker. Bobbin lacemaking has notable therapeutic functions, and is an ecologically clean and sustainability-oriented activity. There are around 120 bobbin lacemaking societies, sections and groups in Slovenia today, which include trained bobbin lacemakers and those who are still learning. Bearers mostly comprise women, and the knowledge and skills related to the practice are most frequently passed down from grandmothers to grandchildren: the socializing of female bobbin lacemakers in neighbourhood communities is also key for transmitting related knowledge and skills.

  1. Decides 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:   Bobbin lacemaking significantly contributes to the identity of many local communities in Slovenia. It connects family members from different generations, neighbours and local bobbin lacemaking societies, and fosters creative cooperation between lace makers and pattern designers. The wide use of bobbin lace in home and religious textiles, fashion and visual arts attests to its popularity and significance for local communities.

R.2:   Bobbin lacemaking is practised in many countries worldwide. While the technology could be the same in other locations, the patterns and designs are always different and specific to local traditions, contributing to cultural diversity and testifying to human creativity. The inscription of bobbin lacemaking in Slovenia could substantially promote dialogue among different communities of bobbin lace makers worldwide and promote networking and joint projects. The element also highlights the capacity of intangible cultural heritage to fuse tradition and innovation and inspire different art genres, as it is permanently reinterpreted in contemporary fashion, design and visual arts.

R.3:   The file demonstrates that safeguarding measures have been undertaken to safeguard and promote the element. The practice is well-documented and safeguarded by the Ethnographic Museum and several other museums, schools and societies. The proposed safeguarding plan, which draws on the existing safeguarding system, promotes sustainable development and the use of natural local materials. All the related institutions are devoted to the constant transmission of the element and the completed and planned activities ensure the community-based safeguarding of the practice in the future.

R.4:   The nomination was supported and approved by a large network of individuals, communities, schools and associations, whose consent has been demonstrated. A working group consisting of tradition bearers, museum experts and representatives of the Ministry of Culture prepared the nomination file in close collaboration with the communities in the field.

R.5:   Bobbin lacemaking in Slovenia has been included in the Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage twice, in 2013 and 2015, as it joins two traditions – ‘Idrija lace’ and ‘Slovene lace’. The Register of Intangible Cultural Heritage is maintained by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia; the Slovene Ethnographic Museum coordinated the inclusion of the element in the inventory with the active participation of the practitioners.

  1. Inscribes Bobbin lacemaking in Slovenia on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.