- Takes note that Tajikistan has nominated Traditional knowledge and skills of production of the atlas and adras fabrics (No. 01484) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
Atlas and adras are two kinds of traditional woven fabrics produced in Tajikistan. Atlas is made from silk threads, and adras is woven with silk and cotton threads, but the technique of creating both cloths is similar. There are many steps in the process, from gathering cocoons and collecting cotton, to spinning, wrapping, dyeing and weaving the threads by hand. Dresses prepared from atlas and adras cloths are widely used by women and girls during celebrations, in the workplace, in schools and at home. Traditionally, the knowledge and skills related to the production of the atlas and adras are transmitted within families or in production centres. It takes three to five months to acquire the weaving skills. During this period, students practise the weaving of simple fabrics with elementary ornaments. The practice can also be transmitted formally in schools and colleges, and through participation in atlas and adras festivals. The fabrics are popular cloths among Tajik women, who consider them as part of their cultural identity. Women usually wear clothes made from atlas and adras in official ceremonies, festivals, traditional holidays, social gatherings and events. The transmission of the element to younger generations promotes unity and collaboration among people from different regions.
- 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 bearers and practitioners are mainly women, and comprise three categories: (a) expert weavers who work from home; (b) weavers that are engaged in centres; and (c) professional workers. The first two learn the skills through informal transmission, whereas professional workers acquire the skills through formal education. The knowledge and skills associated with the element are transmitted by expert weavers and through official teaching programmes in schools and colleges. Wearing clothes made from atlas and adras fabrics is an expression of Tajik women’s cultural identity. The patterns, ornaments and colours have symbolic meanings, expressing peoples’ hopes and wishes. The element contributes to the planting of silk trees and the development of cotton-growing in the country. As a source of livelihood, it also contributes to poverty reduction and provides employment opportunities for women.
R.2: The nomination file illustrates how inscription of the element will contribute to visibility of the element and increase the number of weavers and innovative designs. It demonstrates how these goals will be achieved at the local, national and international levels through preservation, awareness-raising and transmission. Inscription will promote dialogue and knowledge-sharing among individuals, groups and communities. Human creativity and respect for cultural diversity is shown through the different designs.
R.3: Past and current safeguarding measures include organizing workshops for young practitioners, a festival dedicated to the fabrics, and a museum of traditional silk fabrics with over 6000 kinds of traditional fabrics in its care. State efforts include listing the element in the national inventory of intangible heritage, establishing a school to contribute to the revitalization of the craft, and organizing a festival on silk fabrics and clothes. The State provides tax exemptions and has developed a ‘State Program on development of the field of silk-worm and silk threads in the Republic of Tajikistan for the years 2020-2024’ to help secure the necessary raw materials. Proposed safeguarding measures address four areas: (a) documentation and research (including several studies and publications); (b) development (including developing new work places, increasing cotton production and enhancing the international and national markets for selling the fabrics and clothes); (c) visibility and awareness-raising (via festivals, films and State television); and (d) transmission (via formal teaching and the involvement of experts).
R.4: The plan to nominate the element took root in 2014, and the element and its practitioners were subsequently inventoried. The nomination file was prepared in 2017. The Research Institute of Culture and Information played an important role, with a group of researchers taking the lead in developing the file. A working group was established, including the communities, groups and individuals concerned. Seven meetings were held to discuss and prepare the different aspects of the nomination file. The consent letters provided attest to free, prior and informed consent from practitioners and relevant organizations.
R.5: Since 2014, the element has been included in the National Inventory List of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which is managed by the Research Institute of Culture and Information. The Institute holds meetings and conducts field work to identify and define intangible cultural heritage. The element is identified in thirty-four communities and represented by 330 weavers. An expert group advised on the inclusion of the element in the inventory. The inventory is updated every two years, and the process includes adding and revising existing information with the participation and consent of communities.
- Decides to inscribe Traditional knowledge and skills of production of the atlas and adras fabrics on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
- Reminds the State Party of the importance of ensuring the most active possible participation of the communities concerned in every aspect of the safeguarding measures.