Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 13.COM 10.B.36

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Tajikistan has nominated Chakan, embroidery art in the Republic of Tajikistan (No. 01397) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The art of Chakan embroidery is the practice of sewing ornaments, images of flowers and symbolic drawings with colourful threads on cotton or silk fabrics. The tradition is widespread among women and girls in Tajikistan. Chakan embroidery is used to decorate clothing and household items such as women’s shirts, headscarves, curtains, pillows, bedspreads and coverlets for cradles. The embroidery features symbolic depictions and mythological images relating to the surrounding nature and cosmos, which express people’s wishes and hopes. The practice involves selecting the textile and threads, drawing ornaments, creating needlepoint images and sewing clothes. In the past, the threads were prepared from cotton and silk fibres and coloured with natural paints made with plants and minerals: nowadays, Chakan dressmakers use fabric threads for needlework. In the Khatlon region, the Chakan shirt is an important bridal dress. Grooms wear a ‘tāqi’ (the national skullcap featuring Chakan embroidery), and Tajik women and girls wear the Chakan dress during traditional festivals and holidays. The embroidered products are an expression of beauty, elegance and the unity of humans and nature. The young generation learn the art from their mothers, grandmothers and older sisters, and transmission also occurs in groups through the so-called ‘ustod-shogird’ (master-student) method. Individual craftswomen sell their products in bazaars and through dress shops, providing an important way of earning.

  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:   Chakan embroidery is practised by individual seamstresses in their homes or in neighbourhood and women’s groups. In both cases, the production relies on collaboration between family or group members, thereby strengthening social cohesion and bonds among people. Chakan dresses are worn with a sense of pride by local communities. The production of Chakan embroidery and textiles provides Tajik women with an important source of income and contributes to the sustainable development of local communities.

R.3:   The State Party has demonstrated that measures have been developed to safeguard and promote Chakan embroidery art and strengthen its viability. The safeguarding measures were prepared by community members, craftswomen and cultural experts, and focus on documenting the contemporary state of the element, raising awareness through festivals, competitions and exhibitions, enhancing transmission within the existing educational system and improving the working conditions of the craftspeople, including through the establishment of dedicated Art Houses.

R.4:   The nomination process is described in detail, demonstrating the active participation of many different stakeholders, including organizations led by tradition bearers and community members. As the community of practitioners is very large, representative groups provided their consent and expressed their willingness to safeguard the element. There are no gender, ethnic, religious or other restrictions concerning the creation and use of Chakan embroidery, whose products are widely used by Tajik people of both genders and freely sold to tourists.

R.5:   The element was included in the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2014. The inventory is managed by the Research Institute of Culture and Information and is updated once every two years. The inclusion of Chakan embroidery art was preceded by extensive research into the element involving craftspeople, communities and NGOs.

  1. Takes note that the information included in the file was not coherent enough to allow the Committee to determine whether criterion R.2 for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is satisfied but further decides that, on the basis of the information provided by the submitting State to the Committee at its present session concerning how the inscription of Chakan could serve to raise the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general and how it would promote cultural diversity and human creativity, the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is satisfied:

R.2:   Inscription of Chakan would raise public awareness and visibility of the element at local, national and global levels by supporting artisanry and traditional handcrafts, promoting traditional mode of transmission from master to apprentice ‘ustod-shogird’ (master – apprentice), embracing family values and closer interaction of youth with elders, raising the role of women in society and improving their employment opportunities, popularization of folk festivals and ritual weddings. Inscription of the element on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity would serve as a source of inspiration for textile artists, interior and fashion designers, enhance close affiliation of the element with nature and family, thus popularizing ethical fashion and ecologically sustainable lifestyle.

  1. Inscribes Chakan, embroidery art in the Republic of Tajikistan on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.