Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 18.COM 8.B.13

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Uzbekistan has nominated Ceramic arts in Uzbekistan (No. 01989) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Ceramic art is one of the oldest forms of applied art in Uzbekistan, where deposits of loess clay, including pottery clay, can be found. The practice is used to create large household items, both glazed and unglazed, used in the everyday life of rural populations, such as large containers for storing food and water, tandoor ovens, jugs and toys. Traditionally, the knowledge related to creating ceramic art was transmitted informally within families, from father to son and from grandfather to grandson. Today, an increasing number of potters are now willing to transmit this knowledge to youth from the community and to their daughters and spouses, thereby increasing production. New potters are trained first by observation, then involvement in different stages of the process and finally by working on their own. The practice is also transmitted through community art circles, universities, colleges and art schools, as well as at festivals, craft fairs and exhibitions. In addition to its historical and functional significance and artistic value, Uzbek ceramic art contributes to the enrichment of cultural diversity and human creativity. The production and sale of ceramics are also a source of livelihood and a key part of the social and economic life of the communities concerned.

  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:   All the stages of the pottery-making process, including the preparation, shaping and drying of the clay and the decoration and firing of the ceramic, are performed by people of all genders. Knowledge is transmitted from generation to generation, from expert to apprentice, from father to son or from grandfather to grandson, with an increasing number of women becoming involved. The production and sale of ceramics for food preparation are an important aspect of the social and economic life of the community. The sale of the end products contributes significantly to the family income of bearers. The element is an expression of spirituality and a reflection of the social class in which it is created and used.

R.2:   Locally, inscription would increase public interest in the importance and prestige of ceramic art. It would expand cooperation, understanding and respect, and open new relations in cultural and social spheres for the local people of Uzbekistan. Inscription would support the implementation of activities related to the safeguarding and transmission of the element, such as national research projects, expeditions, fairs and competitions. It would further promote large-scale cultural exchange programmes between local communities and with communities in foreign countries. Additionally, it would promote the development of foreign cultural relations, based on peace, friendship and mutual respect. Local and international dialogue between schools and communities would be enhanced. Inscription would also foster respect for cultural diversity by highlighting the traditions of the communities in the region who share cultural and artistic practices, irrespective of geographical differences.

R.4:   The preparation of the nomination file began in November 2021. A working group was created, consisting of the communities concerned, and of individuals and groups of ceramic workers. The file describes the various online and in-person meetings that were held and that involved the communities concerned. A team was established from among the specialists of the Institute of Art and Culture of the Ministry of Culture to shoot the annexed video and photos. All the necessary information and letters of consent from bearers, NGOs and communities were collected during the nomination process. Various letters of consent are provided and attached in the nomination file.

R.5:   The element was included in the ‘National ICH Inventory of the Republic of Uzbekistan’ in December 2008. The inventory is maintained by the Republican Scientific-Methodological Centre for Organization of Cultural Institutions Activity under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Regional departments of the Ministry of Culture, Academy of Arts and local community bearers play a vital role in identifying, defining and collecting data on all elements of intangible cultural heritage in Uzbekistan. Research conducted by expert ceramic workers and art historians contributes to the identification and defining of the element in the regions. New elements are added to the inventory every year, and updates take place regularly, coordinated by the Scientific-Methodological Council of the Ministry of Culture.

  1. Further considers that, from the information included in the file, and the information provided by the submitting State through the dialogue process, the nomination satisfies the following criterion for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.3:   Past and current safeguarding measures include organizing seminars, exhibitions, trainings and workshops; reviving ceramic schools; and conducting scientific research and promotion activities. It is worth noting the establishment of a ceramic studio for the provision of scientific, methodological and practical assistance. Furthermore, the agency and participation of bearers and practitioners of the element in planning and implementing these measures is sufficiently elaborated upon. Safeguarding measures were launched by State institutions, NGOs and civil society associations. The measures are divided into five areas: (a) transmission through formal and non-formal education; (b) identification, documentation and research; (c) preservation and protection; (d) promotion and enhancement; and (e) revitalization. Several State bodies will be involved in implementing the measures.

  1. Decides to inscribe Ceramic arts in Uzbekistan on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Reminds the State Party to pay specific attention to the linguistic quality of files submitted in the future;
  3. Encourages the State Party, when submitting nomination files in the future, to provide more detailed explanations on the social functions and cultural meanings of the element;
  4. Further reminds the State Party of the importance of ensuring the widest possible participation of the communities concerned in planning and implementing safeguarding measures.