Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 10.8

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Brazil has nominated Capoeira circle (No. 00892) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian cultural practice – simultaneously a fight and a dance – that can be interpreted as a tradition, a sport and even an art form. Capoeira players form a circle at the centre of which two players engage with one another. The movements require great bodily dexterity. The other players around the circle sing, chant, clap and play percussive instruments. Capoeira circles are formed by a group of people of any gender, and comprise a master, counter-master and disciples. The master is the bearer and guardian of the knowledge of the circle, and is expected to teach the repertoire and to maintain the group’s cohesion and its observance to a ritual code. The master usually plays a single string percussion instrument, starts the chants, and leads the game’s timing and rhythm. All participants are expected to know how to make and play the instrument, sing a shared repertoire of chants, improvise songs, know and respect the codes of ethics and conduct, and perform the movements, steps and strikes. The capoeira circle is a place where knowledge and skills are learned by observation and imitation. It also functions as an affirmation of mutual respect between communities, groups and individuals and promotes social integration and the memory of resistance to historical oppression.

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

R.1:   A celebration born out of resistance against all forms of oppression, the capoeira circle is a ritualized space where dances and songs are performed and transmitted from master to disciples both by training and imitation; it provides a sense of companionship and identity to an ever-expanding community in Brazil and elsewhere;

R.2:   Inscription of the element on the Representative List could contribute to awareness of the significance of the intangible cultural heritage as a means to resist oppression and discrimination, while promoting dialogue between individuals of different ethnicities, social classes, ages, genders and nationalities and testifying to human creativity;

R.3:   A comprehensive set of safeguarding measures is proposed that includes ensuring visibility and promoting the cultural and symbolic aspects of the capoeira circle, identifying the concerned masters, practitioners and researchers, creating and consolidating groups for the collective safeguarding of the element, and ensuring the adequate use of the element in school curricula; safeguarding measures will be implemented by the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN) with the participation of the communities concerned ;

R.4:   The nomination process built on the national process of recognition of the capoeira circle as cultural heritage of Brazil with the active participation of a large number of actors; free, prior and informed consent was obtained from many bearers as evidenced by the numerous signed declarations collected through both face-to-face meetings and an on-line campaign;

R.5:   In 2008, the capoeira circle was included in the Book of Expressive Forms and received official recognition as ‘Cultural Heritage of Brazil’; the inventorying process involved the active participation of bearers and was coordinated by the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN) that is also in charge of updating the inventoried information at least every ten years.

  1. Inscribes Capoeira circle on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.