Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 15.COM 8.B.37

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey have nominated Traditional intelligence and strategy game: Togyzqumalaq, Toguz Korgool, Mangala/Göçürme (no. 01597) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Traditional intelligence and strategy game: Togyzqumalaq, Toguz Korgool, Mangala/Göçürme is a traditional game which can be played on special boards or improvised ones such as pits on the ground. The game can be played with pellets made of stone, wood, metal and bone, nuts, or seeds, which are distributed across the pits; the player who gathers the most pellets wins the game. There are several variations of the game. For example, the board can have two, three, four, six or nine pits arranged in order according to the number of players, and the duration varies according to the number of players. In the submitting States, the element is linked to other traditional crafts such as wood and stone carving and jewellery making. Wood and stone carving masters and jewellers make elaborately decorated boards and pellets as well as practical ones, reflecting traditional worldviews and their artistic creativity. The game improves players’ cognitive, motor and social skills and strategic and creative thinking, and teaches them to be patient and considerate. It is transmitted both informally and through formal education. Recently, the communities concerned have also developed mobile device applications for learning and/or playing the game, which provide a new way of transmitting related skills and increasing the visibility of the practice among younger generations.

  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 contributes to creating an environment of sharing and provides an opportunity for people to socialize. In all three submitting States, transmission mostly occurs informally; the bearers (players, teachers and apprentices) are of all ages and genders and are widely spread throughout the population, grouped together in federations and clubs. The element is perceived as part of the historical and cultural identity of the communities concerned, as an expression of cultural continuity and knowledge transmission, and as a way of improving practitioners’ cognitive skills. Moreover, the link with natural elements helps raise awareness about environmental protection.

R.2:   The inscription of the element would facilitate cultural communication, enhance social ties between rural and urban communities and highlight the importance of acknowledging cultural diversity in relation to intangible cultural heritage. As such, it would help raise awareness about intangible cultural heritage in general at the local level. The submitting States have demonstrated that the communities concerned have developed a rich variety of types of game, playing styles and strategies. This variety fosters respect for human creativity and cultural diversity among the practitioners. The element is also an example of a sophisticated intellectual game invented and mastered by the communities concerned. The inscription would also promote craftsmanship in relation to the game board and pellets.

R.4:   The submitting States have demonstrated that the bearers, practitioners and relevant non-governmental organizations were involved in the inventorying process and shared opinions and ideas about the safeguarding of the element. They used the international tournaments as a platform for communicating with community members from other States. In the attached written statements, the letters of consent from women and students attest to the roles of people of different ages and genders.

  1. Decides that based on the information provided by the States Parties to the Committee at its present session, the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity are satisfied:

R.3: The past and current safeguarding measures include projects, activities, training programmes, the publication of books, and others. In all three States, several organizations play an active role in safeguarding the game. The submitting States also collaborate in safeguarding the element both at the national and international levels. The submitting States consistently structured common safeguarding measures with a clear engagement of concerned communities. They express the explicit participation of concerned communities in determining safeguarding measures. The submitting State Parties also indicate monitoring and evaluation effects of the possible inscription of the element and its unexpected results.

R.5:   The element has been included in an inventory of intangible cultural heritage in all three submitting States maintained by the relevant authorities including the periodicity of updating. In Kazakhstan, the element was included in the National List of the ICH of Kazakhstan in 2013. This list is updated upon receipt of an official proposal submitted by any person or agency responsible for scientific research in the field of cultural heritage. In the Kyrgyz Republic, the element was included in the ICH National Inventory of the Kyrgyz Republic in 2008. This inventory is updated every three years. It has been updated in 2011, 2012 and 2015. In Turkey, the element was registered in 2014 and updated in 2019. The local meeting for updating this inventory is held twice a year. These inventories were drawn up with the participation of local communities, non-governmental organizations and practitioners. In Kazakhstan the inventory was prepared with the participation of state agencies, researchers and ICH practitioners, the Kyrgyz Republic highlighted the active participation of communities of traditional game practitioners, and Turkey emphasized the non-governmental organizations in Ankara and Istanbul, where the elements are more intensely practised.

  1. Decides to inscribe Traditional intelligence and strategy game: Togyzqumalaq, Toguz Korgool, Mangala/Göçürme on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;

  2. Reminds the States Parties that updating is an important part of the inventorying process and 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 of the national inventories in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkey, in accordance with Article 12.1 of the Convention;

  3. Encourages the States Parties to place a greater focus on the implementation of the safeguarding measures to deal with the possible unintended results of the inscription of the element and further encourages them, when submitting multinational nomination files in the future, to provide balanced information for each individual State concerned.