- Takes note that Oman has nominated Al ‘azi, elegy, processional march and poetry for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, described as follows:
Al ‘azi is a genre of sung poetry performed in the northern regions of the Sultanate of Oman that constitutes one of the major expressions of Omani cultural and musical identity. During processional marches, the poet brandishes a sword and sings and recites improvised poems in a Bedouin dialect or in Arabic. The poems describe the inner life of the tribe including events marking their internal history and relationships with other tribes. The tribe, sheikhs and particular historical moments are eulogized, while the poet also leads and conducts a group of men who shout phrases including short prayers and mottoes. Tribal patriarchs and tribal leaders express their pleasure and delight and display their own performing skills to encourage continuation of the practice. Al ‘azi is composed for and performed during social occasions to remind people of important ethical issues and to demonstrate pride in one’s tribal family, friend, and oneself. It is sung and performed with a scrupulous respect for the poetic form. Al ‘azi has long been regarded as the heritage, practice and collective memory of the tribal Bedouin communities of the Omani desert. At present it is practised by over a hundred ensembles and is transmitted among family and tribal groups.
- Decides that, from the information provided in nomination file 00371, Al ‘azi, elegy, processional march and poetry satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List, as follows:
R.3: Safeguarding measures that include documention, awareness raising and training were elaborated in order to encourage the practice and transmission of Al ‘azi;
R.4: During their participation in the elaboration of the nomination, leading practitioners and groups of Al’azi provided evidence of their free, prior and informed consent;
R.5: Al ‘azi is included in the Oman Heritage Representative List Directory maintained by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Division of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.
- Further decides that the information provided in nomination file 00371, Al ‘azi, elegy, processional march and poetry, is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the criteria for inscription on the Representative List are satisfied, as follows:
R.1: Although the nomination affirms that Al ‘azi provides Omani communities with a sense of identity, additional information would be needed on its current modes of transmission and on how it is recreated by communities;
R.2: Although the nomination describes how inscription of Al ‘azi on the Representative List could contribute to its own visibility, it does not sufficiently demonstrate how it would increase awareness of the significance of the intangible cultural heritage more broadly.
- Decides to refer the nomination of Al ‘azi, elegy, processional march and poetry to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the nomination in a subsequent cycle, providing the additional information specified with regard to criteria R.1 and R.2.