Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 15.COM 8.B.17

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Turkey and Uzbekistan have nominated Art of miniature (no. 01598) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The miniature is a type of two-dimensional artwork that involves the design and creation of small paintings on books, papier-mâché, rugs, textiles, walls, ceramics and other items using raw materials such as gold, silver and various organic substances. Historically, the miniature was exemplified by book painting in which the text was supported visually, but the element has evolved and can also be observed in architecture and as an adornment in public spaces. The patterns of the miniature represent beliefs, worldviews and lifestyles in a pictorial fashion and also gained a new character through the Islamic influence. While there are stylistic differences between them, the art of miniature as practised by the submitting States Parties shares crucial features. In all cases, it is a traditional craft typically transmitted through mentor-apprentice relationships (non-formal education) and considered as an integral part of each society’s social and cultural identity. The miniature displays a specific type of perspective in which the size of the figures changes according to their importance - a key difference from realistic and naturalistic styles. Though it has existed for centuries, it continues to develop and thus strengthens the bonds between past and present. Traditional painting principles and techniques are preserved, but artists also bring individual creativity into the process.

  1. 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 element combines traditional and contemporary interpretations. The bearers and practitioners comprise miniature artists, apprentices, art associations and societies and people dealing with miniatures as either a professional or personal activity, regardless of age, gender or background. The file highlights the positive social impacts for practitioners, particularly disadvantaged groups. The communities consider the element to be an integral part of their traditional culture, identity and lifestyle and there is a strong focus on the social and cultural dimensions of the tradition (for instance as an adornment in public spaces or as a means to communicate cultural messages).

R.2:   The nomination states that the inscription will not only enhance the visibility of elements related to traditional arts at the national level, but will also inspire communities and non-governmental organizations working at the national level in each of the submitting States to propose consolidated national safeguarding efforts for the intangible cultural heritage present in different localities. The nomination further states that the inscription will encourage joint efforts to identify, inventory and safeguard other forms of shared living heritage present across borders not only within the submitting States but also further afield.

R.3:   Different measures such as training, research, exhibitions and promotional activities are outlined as measures to ensure the viability of the element by its bearers. The States Parties support the safeguarding measures in different ways, such as by implementing various projects, organizing seminars, establishing responsible bodies, publishing a book and providing training and funding. There are five major safeguarding measures proposed, centering on: transmission and viability; visibility and awareness-raising; international cooperation; academic activities and documentation; and training programmers to enhance the practice. The States Parties will support these measures by allocating funding and human resources and by assigning different activities to relevant organizations. The communities, groups, associations, non-governmental organizations and individuals concerned were involved in the formulation of the safeguarding measures, mostly at the late stage of the preparation process.

R.4:   The nomination file includes evidence of the participation of the communities, groups and individuals concerned in each of the submitting States in the nomination process. Moreover, a collaborative network involving entities from all the submitting States was established during the preparation of the multinational nomination. The file includes documents attesting to the free, prior and informed consent of the practitioners, bearers, academicians, non-governmental organizations and local authorities.

R.5:   The art of miniature was included on inventories of intangible cultural heritage in each of the submitting States. These inventories are maintained by relevant authorities in each submitting State and were drawn up with the participation of local communities, groups, non-governmental organizations and individual miniature artists and practitioners. The updates to the inventories vary in the different submitting States.

  1. Decides to inscribe Art of miniature on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;

  2. Invites the States Parties to concentrate on the present status, cultural and social meanings of the element, avoiding focusing too much on its historical development or providing an exhaustive description of its technical characteristics;

  3. Reminds the States Parties of the importance of ensuring the most active possible participation of the communities concerned throughout the process of formulating the safeguarding measures;

  4. Further reminds the States Parties that updating is an important part of the inventorying process and further invites them to include detailed information in their next periodic report on the implementation of the Convention at the national level concerning the periodicity of updating in accordance with Article 12.1 of the Convention.