Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 7.COM 11.14

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Greece has nominated the know-how of cultivating mastic on the island of Chios for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Mastic is an aromatic resin cultivated for its properties and multiple uses from the pistacia lentiscus shrub, a local specialty of the island of Chios in the Aegean Sea. Cultivation is a year-round family occupation in twenty-four mastic villages, undertaken by men and women of all ages. Men prune the shrubs and clean and level the surrounding ground. Between July and September they incise the bark of the trunk and main branches with an iron tool to allow the sap to escape. Once the mastic solidifies for harvesting, women clean and select ‘tears’ (pieces of mastic), which are then washed with seawater and placed in wooden boxes in a cool place. Traditional cultivation relies upon mutual assistance practices that provide an opportunity to recount old tales and stories and renew social ties and networks. Mastic culture remains a living tradition thanks to the persistence of older farmers in using traditional methods and the active involvement of young people, introduced to the techniques through oral apprenticeship from experienced producers. Cultivators establish an intimate relationship with their own mastic trees, through which they attain personal recognition within the community. The collective of cultivators also invents culinary, medical and cosmetic recipes using mastic, while preserving its traditional secrets.

  1. Decides that, from the information provided in file 00741, the nomination satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List, as follows:

R.1:   Passed down from generation to generation among the people of Chios, the knowledge associated with the cultivation, extraction and collection of mastic constitutes an important part of rural life that promotes values of social cohesion and solidarity;

R.2:   Its inscription on the Representative List could contribute to the visibility of intangible cultural heritage and the system of mutual assistance and labour exchange in particular, thereby strengthening social links and encouraging dialogue while stimulating creativity;

R.3:   The proposed safeguarding measures aim at ensuring the viability and sustainability of the know-how of cultivating mastic;

R.4:   The nomination was prepared with the participation of local authorities as well as bearers and practitioners of mastic cultivation who gave their free, prior and informed consent for inscription of the element.

  1. Further decides that the information provided in the file is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the criteria for inscription on the Representative List are satisfied, as follows:

R.5:   The submitting State should provide further information to demonstrate that the nominated element is included in an inventory of the intangible cultural heritage drawn up with the participation of communities, groups and relevant non-governmental organizations and is regularly updated, in conformity with Articles 11 and 12 of the Convention.

  1. Decides to refer the nomination of the know-how of cultivating mastic on the island of Chios to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle;
  2. Recommends the State Party to give consideration to additional safeguarding policies aimed at mitigating damages to the trees.