Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 10.29

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Mongolia has nominated Mongolian knuckle-bone shooting (No. 00959) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Mongolians revere certain parts of bones of their domestic livestock and use them in religious rites, plays and traditional games. One such popular team-based game is knuckle-bone shooting. Teams of six to eight players flick thirty domino-like marble tablets on a smooth wooden surface towards a target of sheep knuckle-bones, aiming to knock them into a target zone, while shooters sing traditional knuckle-bone shooting melodies and songs. Each shooter possesses individually crafted shooting tools and instruments, and wears costumes embossed with distinguished characteristics depending on their rank and merits. Team members are tied by close bonds and follow ethical rules of mutual respect and dignity. The rituals, knowledge, skills, technique and expertise associated with knuckle-bone shooting, as well as the craftsmanship of tools, accessories and equipment, are transmitted through apprenticeship. Knuckle-bone shooting provides a favourable environment in which each member contributes to the team’s success, social well-being and development by supporting and learning from others. The tradition brings team members from different backgrounds closer together, encourages their interaction and respect towards elders and one another, and improves their social cohesion.

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

R.1:   Knuckle-bone shooting unites players with strong ties based on mutual respect and respect towards masters who transmit their knowledge and skills to apprentices within each team; practitioners recognize it as part of their cultural heritage that provides them with a sense of identity and continuity while strengthening social cohesion;

R.2:   Inscription of knuckle-bone shooting on the Representative List could contribute to ensuring awareness of the significance of intangible cultural heritage for ethics education and social cohesion, while promoting intergenerational dialogue and reflecting the diversity of groups that practise it across Mongolia;

R.3:   Elaborated with particular attention to the proposals from community members, safeguarding measures within a five-year plan include research at the national level and systematization of the information collected, creation of products for domestic and foreign tourists, organization of regional and national championships and construction of a National Palace for knuckle-bone shooting as well as the integration of the traditional game in the general education curriculum;

R.4:   The multi-year nomination process allowed for many discussions and consultations between practitioners and concerned governmental and non-governmental institutions; the Mongolian Association of Knuckle-bone Shooting collected expressions of free, prior and informed consent from shooters of different ages;

R.5:   The element was included in the National Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2005 and re-approved by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism in 2008; the List and any relevant information are updated every year.

  1. Inscribes Mongolian knuckle-bone shooting on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.