- Takes note that Oman and the United Arab Emirates have nominated Al-Ayyala, a traditional performing art of the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
Al-Ayyala is a popular and traditional heritage practised in communities throughout western Oman and the United Arab Emirates. It involves dance, chanting and drum music. It is performed by two facing rows of twenty or more men, simulating a battle scene, with performers carrying thin bamboo sticks to signify spears or swords. The rows alternate movements signifying victory or defeat, chant poetic lyrics, and move their heads and sticks synchronous with the drum rhythm. Drummers, musicians and other performers circle between the rows, some holding swords or guns, which are hurled into the air and caught. In the United Arab Emirates, girls wearing traditional colourful dresses toss their long hair from side to side, signifying faith in their protectors. The chanted lyrics draw on the Nabati poetry tradition and vary according to occasion. Al-Ayyala is a festive and cultural celebration of identity and history, strongly linked to local communities, and as such is performed during religious and national festivals and weddings. It also plays an important integrative role in social and cultural functions within and between the two nation states. Transmission is encouraged by voluntary and spontaneous audience participation with spectators of all ages joining in, reinforced by formal training sessions.
- Decides that, from the information provided in file 00740, the nomination satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List, as follows:
R.1: Passed down from generation to generation, Al-Ayyala dance, poetry and music is performed in everyday life as well as in specific social celebrations, serving as a symbol of identity, cementing social cohesion and reinforcing cultural continuity;
R.2: Inscription of Al-Ayyala on the Representative List could contribute to the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage and awareness of its significance not only within the two submitting States, but also in other countries where it is practised;
R.3: Safeguarding measures include research and data collection, education and awareness raising through media, festivals and competitions as well as financial support from institutions involved in intangible cultural heritage;
- Further decides that the information provided in the file is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the criteria for inscription on the Representative List are satisfied, as follows:
R.4: Although several practitioners participated in the nomination process of Al-Ayyala and granted their free, prior, and informed consent for its inscription, more information is required regarding the possible existence of customary practices restricting access to the practice; the information should refer specifically to this nomination, avoiding formulations used in another nomination submitted by the same States Parties;
R.5: Although Al-Ayyala appears to be included in inventories in both submitting States, evidence of the inclusion of the element in the Oman Heritage Representative List is needed, together with information to demonstrate that both inventories have been drawn up with the participation of communities, groups and relevant non-governmental organizations and are regularly updated, in conformity with Articles 11 and 12 of the Convention;
- Decides to refer the nomination of Al-Ayyala, a traditional performing art of the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates to the submitting States Parties and invites them to resubmit the nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle.