- Takes note that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has nominated Custom of Korean costume in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (no. 01299) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
The element refers to the dress and customary practices related to the traditional Korean costume in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Made from natural fibers such as ramie and silk, the costume is divided into upper and lower parts. The upper part is a jacket for both men and women called Jogori, while the lower part consists of trousers for men (Paji) and a skirt for women (Chima). There are also seasonal overclothes such as an overcoat (Turumagi) and waistcoat (Paeja). The Korean costume is considered as a symbol of national identity that stretches back to ancient times. Once worn in daily life, the traditional costume is now worn on special occasions such as folk holidays, wedding celebrations, and first and sixtieth birthdays. The custom is celebrated in all regions of the country, with Pyongyang being the center of the practice, transmission and dissemination of the element. Knowledge and skills related to the element are mainly passed down through families, though they are also transmitted through the formal education system. Women are the main practitioners. Many cultural events, including the annual Korean Costume Show and ‘Glorious Country’ mass gymnastics and artistic performance, highlight the element.
- Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
R.5: The element was included in the State Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage on 5 December 2012. The State Inventory is maintained by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage and Korea National Heritage Preservation Agency, both of which are under the National Authority for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (NAPCH), and updated every five years. The nomination further states that the updating takes part with the widest possible participation of the relevant organs, organizations, enterprises, groups and individuals.
- Decides that based on the information provided by the State Party 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.4: The nomination was prepared with the participation of representative associations at national and local levels, as well as multi-actors and practitioners of the element, ranging from the elders to children, people from all walks of life, who gave their free, prior and informed consent. The consents were collected both in joint and individual forms. Since the element is practised nationwide, only consents representing each part of the country were attached therefore. Among which, there are two paintings by children showing their feelings when dressed in the costume.
- Further considers that the information included in the file is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity are satisfied:
R.1: According to the nomination, all Koreans are bearers and practitioners of the custom of Korean Costume. The element is presented in a dual manner, both as a national custom governed in a top-down manner and as a custom practised by the general population at large. As presented in the file, the costume seems to constitute a folkloric element that is kept unchanged in order to strengthen national identity, rather than an element of intangible cultural heritage, which, according to the Convention, is dynamic by definition. Furthermore, the nomination does not provide sufficient information on the social and cultural aspects of the element. Additionally, the definition of the element does not include any information about know-how related to traditional crafts, without which the creation of costumes is not possible. Finally, the file emphasizes the role of the element in fostering the cohesion and identity of the Korean nation, without any indication of how it encourages inclusion and integration more broadly.
R.2: The nomination file does not demonstrate how the inscription of the element would contribute to ensuring the visibility and awareness of the significance of intangible cultural heritage in general. Instead, it only discusses how the inscription would impact the element itself at the local, national and international levels. The statement regarding the promotion of respect for cultural diversity and human creativity is mostly limited to the Korean costume itself, and hence does not make a convincing argument for how the inscription would contribute to human creativity and diversity at the global level.
- Also considers that the information included in the file and provided by the State Party to the Committee at its present session, is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is satisfied:
R.3: Past, current and future efforts to ensure the intergenerational transmission of the element are described. Various safeguarding measures are also elaborated, including building a coordination mechanism, carrying out survey and research, establishing workplaces, holding workshops on designing and costume-making with young people, producing documentary films about custom of costume, publishing relevant books, and organizing contest for designs amongst others. Measures will be taken to design and disseminate the costume according to gender, season, age and customary occasions. The collaboration of the Korean Costume Association and twelve local associations, national and local authorities, communities and families, silk workers and designers, researchers and students is demonstrated, testifying to the specific attention given to sustainable materials and modern aesthetic sense. However, the file does not provide sufficient information on how the communities will be involved in the implementation of the safeguarding measures.
Decides to refer the nomination of Custom of Korean costume in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the revised nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle;
Encourages the State Party to ensure the primary role of the communities, groups and individuals concerned throughout the process of inventorying the element;
Reminds the State Party that top-down approaches that may unduly influence the traditional and spontaneous organization of intangible cultural heritage are not in line with the spirit of the Convention and further invites the State Party to avoid top-down approaches in all stages of the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage by ensuring that communities are at the center of all safeguarding efforts.