Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 8.COM 8.19

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Kyrgyzstan has nominated Kyrgyz epic trilogy: Manas, Semetey, Seytek (No. 00876) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The Kyrgyz epic trilogy of Manas, Semetey and Seytek describes the unification of scattered tribes into one nation. The trilogy expresses the historical memory of the Kyrgyz people and survives thanks to a community of epic tellers, both women and men, of all ages. Narrators accept their calling after experiencing a prophetic dream, understood to be a sign from the heroes of the epic. During recitals they enter into a near-trance state and use special forms of narration, rhythm, tone and gestures to recreate the epic’s historical atmosphere. Continuous narration of the trilogy may last up to thirteen hours. Performances are held on various public occasions, from village events to national celebrations and holidays. Epic storytellers also provide moral and spiritual support to local communities and individuals during social events, conflicts or disasters. They consider the trilogy a cultural heritage for which they take personal responsibility. The trilogy helps young people to understand their own history and culture, the natural environment and the peoples of the world; it also provides them with a sense of identity. As a component of formal education, it promotes ideas of tolerance and multiculturalism. Transmission occurs orally from master to apprentice through non-formal education.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List:

R.1:   Passed down from generation to generation, providing a sense of identity and transmitting values of mutual respect, the epic trilogy embodies the social memory of the Kyrgyz people;

R.2:   Its inscription on the Representative List could contribute to raising awareness of the significance of the intangible cultural heritage through promoting dialogue among practitioners of oral heritage, in particular epic storytellers worldwide;

R.3:   Current efforts to safeguard and promote the epic trilogy will be complemented by measures that include documentation, research, formal education at all levels and support from the government to research institutions, as well as adoption of legal measures;

R.4:   Together with researchers and other actors, the community participated actively in the preparation of the nomination at all stages, and provided its free, prior and informed consent to the nomination;

R.5:   With the active participation of the community of epic tellers, researchers, non-governmental organizations and officials, the epic trilogy was included in 2008 in the Intangible Cultural Heritage National Inventory maintained and updated by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

  1. Inscribes Kyrgyz epic trilogy: Manas, Semetey, Seytek on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.