- Takes note that Czechia has nominated Handmade production of Christmas tree decorations from blown glass beads (no. 01559) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
Handmade production of Christmas tree decorations from blown glass beads refers to handmade Christmas tree decorations that are produced by blowing a heated glass tube inserted in a brass mould shaped into a string of beads called klaustschata and silvered, coloured and hand decorated. The string of beads is then cut into shorter or individual beads, which are threaded onto wires, thus forming ornaments of many forms. Considered as a key cultural element of the Giant and Jizera Mountain regions in North Bohemia, where blown glass beads have been produced since the late eighteenth century, the traditional craft is specialized and technically demanding. The element has been passed down through families for generations. Small production workshops were also bearers of the element, but only one survived the era when the socialist economy was undergoing transformation. The Kulhavý family workshop managed to rescue the knowledge and continues to work with domestic bead makers to safeguard the tradition. Cultural educational institutions, particularly museums, also help transmit the associated knowledge by organizing workshops. The creation of Christmas ornaments such as these appear in folk tales about Krakonoš, the legendary ruler of the mountains.
- 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 production of Christmas decorations from blown glass beads is perceived as a testimony not only to a craft but also to a literary folk tradition. The practice has a long history, constituting the oldest method of decorating Christmas trees in the local area. The know-how and practical skills related to the element are passed down informally through the generations within the family during the manufacturing process. Cultural educational institutions, particularly museums, are involved in the transfer of know-how related to the assembly of ornaments during the Christmas period. The element fosters self-identification, positive inter-generational relationships as well as the individual creativity of its bearers and the wider community.
R.2: The nomination file shows that the inscription of the element would enhance the visibility of intangible cultural heritage at local, national and international levels. The inscription may contribute to establishing international dialogue between producers of decorative elements associated with Christmas decorations. The inscription will strengthen interest in glass-making, which is a very varied area of manufacturing with a rich diversity of materials, as well as in the know-how of the craft and the uses of the artefacts produced. This interest will, in turn, increase the respect for craftspeople working in this area.
R.4: The nomination states that the idea of drafting the nomination arose through the cooperation of the bearers and the Bohemian Paradise Museum (Muzeum Českého ráje) in Turnov, which has long been involved in programmes to inform the public about this tradition. The people responsible for preparing the nomination visited the bearers’ home workshops, to which the bearer communities willingly granted access. There, they documented the individual production processes, the varied nature of the creative work and the family and intergenerational links between the individual manufacturers. The bearers actively expressed their views on the conditions for preserving the element, proposed safeguarding measures and contributed to the drafting of the file through their comments.
R.5: The element was included in The List of Intangible Elements of Traditional Folk Culture of Liberecký Region maintained by the Council of the Liberecký Region and The List of Intangible Elements of Traditional Folk Culture of the Czech Republic maintained by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, both in 2015. Both lists are updated annually, and the listed items are periodically re-examined so as to update the information; this occurs every five years for the former list, and every seven years for the latter.
- Further considers that, on the basis of the information included in the file and the information provided by the submitting State through the dialogue process, the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is satisfied:
R.3: To ensure the viability of the element, the nomination proposes detailed explanations of safeguarding measures at three levels: 1) the Kulhavý family workshop ‘Rautis’; 2) professional institutions; and 3) public administration bodies. The proposed safeguarding measures include activities geared at the transmission, promotion and documentation of the element, as well as the creation of relevant policies. The nomination provides a very specific, detailed explanation of how the communities participated in planning the measures. It also highlights which aspects of the measures were proposed by the communities themselves. The Rautis family workshop, individual craftspersons and regional museums work together to raise awareness about the craft through various initiatives such as exhibitions, craft presentations and public workshops.
Decides to inscribe Handmade production of Christmas tree decorations from blown glass beads on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
Commends the State Party for the submission of an improved file following the decision of the Committee to refer the nomination in 2018;
Encourages the State Party to ensure the primary role of the communities, groups and individuals concerned throughout all stages of the nomination process and to avoid top-down approaches that may unduly influence the traditional and spontaneous organization of intangible cultural heritage;
Recalls the importance of using vocabulary appropriate to the spirit of the Convention and of avoiding expressions such as ‘authentic’ and ‘unique’.