Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 10.38

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Saudi Arabia has nominated Alardhah Alnajdiyah, Saudi Arabia dance, drumming and poetry (No. 01013) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Alardhah Alnajdiyah is a performing art combining, poetry, drumming and a traditional war dance, practised throughout Saudi Arabia. Its former function was to gather people and motivate them to defend their country in the face of risks as well as to celebrate victories. Nowadays, folklore groups perform Alardhah Alnajdiyah during festivals, weddings and social events. During the performance, a ‘warmonger’ with a loud, sonorous and strong voice encourages poets to compose and recite verses that aim to inspire unity, enthusiasm and courage among the crowd. The poet is carried on the shoulders of the people for the recitation, which is accompanied by drumming and dances. If the poet fails, he gets down and another poet is raised up. The chanters hold a flag and swords during the chanting, while the drummers beat in rhythm. The dance movements of Alardhah, the drum patterns and traditional dress all follow specific traditions, which practitioners maintain and pass on to younger generations through training and participation.

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

R.5:   The element is included in the local inventory of intangible cultural heritage maintained by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information set up in 2009.

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

R.1:   Additional information is needed to identify clearly the nature and scope of the element, the contours of its communities, the roles of the different practitioners and the current social functions and cultural meanings of the element, beyond its staged representations;

R.2:   Given the nomination’s lack of clarity, information is needed to demonstrate how inscription of the element on the Representative List could contribute to the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general and raise awareness of its significance;

R.3:   The nomination does not explain the safeguarding measures in concrete terms or demonstrate that they are oriented to safeguarding Alardhah and not heritage in general; further information is necessary to understand if they will effectively help to ensure the viability of the nominated element once its nature and scope are more clearly identified; demonstration of the involvement and contribution of national institutions is also needed;

R.4:   Although several practitioners granted their free, prior and informed consent for the inscription of Alardhah, the participatory process for the preparation of the nomination is not clearly described; further information is necessary to clarify issues related to the communities indicated in the form and their free, prior and informed consent to the nomination.

  1. Decides to refer the nomination of Alardhah Alnajdiyah, Saudi Arabia dance, drumming and poetry to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle;
  2. Invites the State Party, when reformulating its nomination, to exercise the utmost care to highlight the contribution of the element to social cohesion and dialogue.