Periodic reporting on the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

The Convention provides in Article 29 that States Parties shall submit to the Committee reports on the legislative, regulatory and other measures taken for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage in their territories. Current page presents the periodic reports and deadlines of a country: Mongolia (see overview on all States Parties).

Periodic reporting on the implementation of the Convention allows States Parties to assess their implementation of the Convention, evaluate their capacities for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage, report on their inventories of intangible cultural heritage and update the status of elements inscribed on the Representative List.

When elements are inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, the submitting State Party commits itself to take safeguarding measures aimed at strengthening the viability of the heritage concerned. Four years after inscription, the State Party reports to the Committee on the current situation of the element, the effectiveness of the safeguarding measures it has implemented, and the challenges it has encountered.


On the implementation of the Convention

Each State Party submits its periodic report to the Committee by 15 December of the sixth year following the year in which it deposited its instrument of ratification.

Report submitted on 15/12/2017 and examined by the Committee in 2018

Overview

Since Mongolia joined the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2005, a total of 13 elements of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) has been inscribed in the UNESCO’s List. The Government of Mongolia has been implemented short, mid-term and long-term safeguarding measures towards protection, inheritance and dissemination of these heritages to strengthen the sustainable viability.

  • 2014 Law on the Protection of the Cultural Heritage was amended and Safeguard of Intangible Cultural Heritage and promotion of bearers was reflected in it in order to safeguard, inherit and disseminate intangible cultural heritage and create an enabling legal environment for the protection of rights of bearer of intangible cultural heritage and for the protection, inheritance and dissemination of intangible cultural heritage. In addition, procedures related to the safeguard of the intangible cultural heritage was developed and adopted within the framework of the Law. For instance, “Procedure for the investigation and research of intangible cultural heritage” with the Decree A151 of the Minister of Education, Culture and Science on 30th of April, 2015 and “Honoring Procedure for the bearers who have contributed to the promotion and dissemination of the intangible cultural heritage at the national and worldwide level” with the Resolution No.145 of the Government of Mongolia on the 7th of March, 2016 were adopted respectively.
  • Provided support in the process of educating youth and children about intangible cultural heritage and disseminating it as a national pride, and urging them to cultivate awareness of respecting and honoring the intangible cultural heritage and developing mass movement through the formal and informal training.
  • During the reporting period, about 10 mid-term and long-term National Programmes related to the ICH have been implemented in order to protect, inherit, disseminate the intangible cultural heritage and promote the cultural diversity. Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports is developing “National Comprehensive Programme of Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage2018-2025” with the aim of further protecting the rights of bearers of intangible cultural heritage and intangible cultural heritage in Mongolia and continuing the efforts to further strengthen the capacity of existence and ensure participation.
  • Since 2010, registration and information, documentation of intangible cultural heritage and its bearers have been updated annually and the state integrated registration and information database have been made available to the public in an accountable and accessible manner.

Following elements which were inscribed in the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity have been included in this report:

  • Urtiin Duu, traditional folk long song (2008)
  • Traditional music of the Morin Khuur (horse-headed fiddle) (2008)
  • Naadam, Mongolian traditional festival (2010)
  • Mongolian traditional art of Khöömei (2010)
  • Falconry (2010)
  • Traditional craftsmanship of the Mongol Ger and its associated customs (2013)
  • Mongolian knuckle-bone shooting (2014)

Report submitted on 15/12/2011 and examined by the Committee in 2012

Overview

Overall cultural policy making is in the hands of the Culture and Arts Department of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The main national body charged with the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage is the Centre of Cultural Heritage (CCH) of the same Ministry, within which the Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Division was established in 2008. The Centre began life as an non-governmental organization, but was brought within the government in 2008. This unit is responsible at the national level for: the safeguarding, promotion and documentation (audio-video) of intangible cultural heritage; the identification and registration of intangible cultural heritage bearers and helping them transmit their skills and knowledge to the next generation; and the establishment and improvement of the consolidated registration and information database and its archival management. The National Committee for Selecting and Designating Intangible Cultural Heritage and its Bearers (2009) is the body that regulates issues related to research into and the identification of the original forms of intangible cultural heritage elements existing in the Mongolian territory, the official recognition of intangible cultural heritage bearers and safeguarding and documentation measures.
The Mongolian State University of Culture and Arts provides training for professionals in the fields of cultural study, cultural administration and cultural heritage, both within the Research Institute of Culture and Arts and the College of Music and Dance. The aforementioned National Committee for Intangible Cultural Heritage supports bearers in the transmission of intangible cultural heritage, among its other activities. Heritage education and training activities are regularly conducted by the government and cultural and scientific organizations at the national, regional and international levels.
For intangible cultural heritage documentation, the non-governmental organization that is the predecessor of the CCH, the National Centre of Intangible Cultural Heritage, undertook a project on ‘Documentation of the Oral and Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mongolia with Audio and Video Recordings’. This provided the groundwork for establishing a database and archive for oral and intangible cultural heritage. The Tuguldur Audio and Video Records Studio was established in 2009 as a unit of the CCH, with responsibility for documenting music, songs and other intangible cultural heritage. Moreover, there are 30 non-governmental organizations and other civil society groups that are actively engaged in safeguarding and promoting intangible cultural heritage and the encouragement of such organizations is a government policy. They are also involved in the documentation of intangible cultural heritage. In terms of public access to documentary materials, the CCH produces reference books, catalogues, seasonal newsletters, documentary films and training videos, and distributes them to interested individuals, non-governmental organizations, cultural institutions and schools. The Centre aims to establish a dedicated intangible cultural heritage database that is accessible online.
The inventorying of intangible cultural heritage is carried out in the context of the Consolidated Intangible Cultural Heritage Registration and Information System (also referred to as the National Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory System) under the Centre for Cultural Heritage. The system is made up of three lists: (1) a National Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (accompanied by a tentative list of intangible cultural heritage to be added to the National Representative List); (2) a National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding; and (3) a National List of Designated Intangible Cultural Heritage Bearers Possessing a High Level of Skills and Knowledge. Elements selected for the first two lists should satisfy the following criteria: (1) the element should be demonstrated as a valuable asset for its community, group or individuals and recognized as part of their cultural heritage, providing them with a sense of identity and continuity, and serving as an invaluable source of interaction or sharing with others; (2) the element should maintain its authenticity and hold the characteristics of rareness and uniqueness; (3) the environment should be closely associated with and maintain the distinctiveness of the traditional livelihood, environment, folk customs and manners of that locality and community; (4) the element should demonstrate its significance for human creativity; and (5) special attention should be given to those elements under threat of disappearance (the last criterion being of particular importance for the second list). For the list of intangible cultural heritage bearers, those who are designated should: (1) be recognized and acknowledged as a highly-skilled culture bearer in their community; (2) possess high-level skills in relation to the original forms of the intangible cultural heritage element, including the distinct characteristics, techniques, repertoire and school; (3) possess the intangible cultural heritage element in connection with his/her livelihood and traditional customs and rituals; and (4) be experienced in training and transmitting his/her knowledge and skills and have the ability to conduct training.
The soums and districts are responsible for the first stage of building intangible cultural heritage inventories at the local level. The provincial and city registration and information database is then created on the basis of this information by the Provincial Departments of Education and Culture and the City Departments of Culture and Arts. Updating occurs annually over three cycles: locally-placed applications from communities, groups or individuals; evaluation at the provincial level; elaboration and consolidation at the national level; and then selection and designation by the National Committee for Selecting and Designating Intangible Cultural Heritage and its Bearers. Representatives from relevant non-governmental organizations, communities and groups are also members of the National Committee for Selecting and Designating Intangible Cultural Heritage and its Bearers and so participate fully in decision-making processes for identifying, selecting and designating intangible cultural heritage elements and their bearers.
The main policy document governing the safeguarding process is the State Cultural Policy of Mongolia, adopted in 1996, which is aimed at defending national culture against absorption by another culture or disappearance. It contains measures that protect intangible cultural heritage bearers and their freedom to create and safeguard their heritage and to respect ethnic and cultural diversity in the country. It aims to encourage educational institutions to establish activities for youth and children that instil them with a love and respect for traditional culture and knowledge. The 2008 ‘Endorsement of the Millennium Development Goals-based Comprehensive National Development Strategy’ calls for State support for the safeguarding and restoration of the tangible and intangible heritage of Mongolian traditional culture. Moreover, complementing the list of intangible cultural heritage bearers, the honours of State Leading Folk Artist and State Honoured Cultural Activist are awarded in special cases.
With regard to education, a general policy has been established to integrate the teaching of intangible cultural heritage into school curricula. As a result, information on Mongolian gers (traditional dwellings), the morin khuur (horse-headed fiddle), the long song, Khuumei (throat singing), the bii biyelgee folk dance, traditional costume, the Naadam Festival, the Lunar Month Festival, traditional greeting customs, traditional customs associated with animal husbandry and traditional knowledge of protecting nature are all being added to the curriculum for 6-8-year-old pupils. Education for the protection of natural spaces and places of memory whose existence is necessary for expressing intangible cultural heritage has also been addressed in connection with traditional customs of worshipping sacred sites through a project entitled ‘Safeguarding the Diversity of Ecological and Cultural Heritage through the Tradition of Worshipping the Sacred Sites’.
Non-formal means of transmission of intangible cultural heritage have traditionally been strong in Mongolia and the main mode is through the traditional method of home-tutoring apprenticeship training. The latter is based on the techniques of performance and lead-training, requiring genuine effort and creativity from apprentices. The government is now seeking to support elder trainers by including them in the system of allowances and local authorities are attempting to support and promote such non-formal training. The other means of non-formal transmission is through training conducted at local Cultural Centres, in schools, kindergartens and other public or private organizations. Since a large percentage of the population lives in or migrates to urban areas, experimental research and observational activities are being conducted to further establish and improve other means of non-formal transmission methods such as clubs, common interest groups, joint exhibitions and performances etc.
Bilateral, sub-regional, regional and international cooperation takes the form of cultural exchange agreements with other countries for the exchange of exhibitions and festivals, mostly in the fields of folk performing arts and traditional craftsmanship. Cultural exchange is also arranged by organizing Mongolian cultural days in other countries and vice versa, demonstrating a belief in the importance of intercultural dialogue in this area of heritage. Mongolia cooperates with the International Institute for the Study of Nomadic Civilizations (IISNC), which is working to develop a network among professional centres and scientific institutes at the national and regional levels.
Mongolia reports here on five elements on the Representative List: the traditional music of the Morin Khuur (incorporated in 2008, after being declared a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2003); Urtiin Duu, a traditional folk long song (also incorporated in 2008, after having been declared a Masterpiece in 2005; jointly nominated by Mongolia and China); Falconry, a living human heritage (2010, a multinational inscription); the Mongolian traditional art of Khöömei (2010); and Naadam, a Mongolian traditional festival (2010). A major safeguarding effort is the national Morin Khuur and Urtiin Duu programme (2005-2014), which is aimed at identifying heritage bearers, studying the two traditions and providing an environment to foster youth transmission. Traditional festivals and events that serve in the transmission of the element are being revived and reintroduced. In 2011, 999 young morin khuur players, 108 long-song singers and 600 throat singers (Khőőmei) from Zavkhan Province gathered in Ulaanbaatar. Since the inscription of the Falconry element, an Eagle Festival is now held both in the countryside and in the capital.
Providing training to trainers in the practice of intangible cultural heritage is also an important safeguarding strategy in Mongolia to ensure transmission. There are a growing number of both formal and informal training activities in wrestling and archery in schools and the number of young people taking part in these traditional skills is on the increase. The Mongolian Archery Federation has also established training courses and clubs in aimags and soums. In higher education, the Culture and Arts University has initiated a class in long songs with the music and Dance School, training over 30 singers over the last six years. The Mongolian National University of Culture and Arts opened enrolment to students for Khőőmei in 2008 and one positive outcome of this has been that the social value of Khőőmei performers has increased. Within the framework of a multinational listed element (Urtiin Duu), Mongolia has established a Joint Administrative Committee with China to regulate the collaborative safeguarding activities of Urtiin Duu.

On Urgent Safeguarding List elements

Reports on each element inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List are submitted by the State Party on 15 December of the fourth year following the year in which the element was inscribed, and every fourth year thereafter.

Traditional music of the Tsuur, inscribed in 2009

To access the description of this element, the original nomination file (form, consent of communities, photos and video) and the decision of inscription, please consult dedicated webpage.

A report will be due by 15/12/2021

Report submitted on 15/12/2017 and examined by the Committee in 2018

Overview

soon available

Report submitted on 15/12/2013 and examined by the Committee in 2014

Overview

The traditional music of the Tsuur forms an important part of the Uriankhai Mongolian’s relationship with their natural environment and a critical element in assuring their survival within it. Tsuur music is based on a blending of sounds created simultaneously by both the musical instrument and the human throat. As mentioned in the report, by the time of its inscription, the Tsuur tradition had faded as a consequence of neglect and an antagonism towards folk customs, leaving many localities with no Tsuur performers and no families possessing a Tsuur. The art’s continuing high level of vulnerability is compounded by the fact that the forty known pieces preserved among the Uriankhai Mongolians are transmitted exclusively through oral tradition. The State reports that the impacts of urban living and the consequent loss of cultural contexts for its practice and transmission also render the element vulnerable.

Effectiveness of the safeguarding activities

In the report submitted by the State Party, it is mentioned that the safeguarding measures undertaken are managing to bring Tsuur music back from endangerment and to restore it, including the tradition of making the instruments, training, studying, promoting its music and providing a sustainable framework. According to the reporting State, community understanding and awareness of the Tsuur music tradition have been improved and its social value has increased. It explains that a three-year National Safeguarding Plan of the Traditional Music of the Tsuur was adopted only in January 2014 with the aim of revitalizing, safeguarding and transmitting Tsuur music. A traditional apprenticeship method has been established and a database created from materials gathered during a field survey, to be enriched and improved annually, even beyond the completion of the Safeguarding Plan. Mongolia states that a significant improvement was achieved in Tsuur performers’ skills, their repertoire has been enriched and some forgotten tunes and melodies revived. It is recognized by the reporting State that important challenges remain in terms of the limited number of active practitioners as well as human and financial resources for safeguarding actions, given that the budget was reported to be insufficient to accomplish all the planned activities.

Community participation

In its report, Mongolia mentions that safeguarding measures were elaborated with participation of the Tsuur performers and associations and their recommendations have been reflected in the Safeguarding Plan. The ‘Hunnu tsuur players’ Union’, consisting of active members of the Uriankhai tribe, traditional musical instrument researchers, music teachers, academics and cultural leaders has played an important role in protecting the Tsuur music repertory. A few craftspeople of Tsuur musical instruments and teenagers who are learning to play the instrument have joined the community and in the report this is considered to favour future development of this component.

Mongolia explains that a commission comprising governmental and non-governmental organizations, community, practitioners, bearers and individuals was established in 2012 to work on the national activity reports for the different measures taking by Mongolia to safeguard and protect the element. During the process of preparation of the report, the community, practitioners and individuals assisted and provided information about their contribution to safeguarding the element. A number of bearers, groups and NGOs were actively involved in preparing the report.

Viability and current risks

The Altai Uriankhai Tsuur music came to the edge of vanishing by the end of the twentieth century. In the report it is stated that Tsuur music started to attract popular attention after its inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding and the number of the people who practise, inherit and study this musical tradition has increased each year since inscription. Over the last four years, Tsuur music has spread out from the bearer community to the regional level where folk musicians and students now play it, promoting its sustainability and future viability. However, recovering the tradition of wooden Tsuur requires both time and effort. In addition, Mongolia points out that since playing Tsuur demands the dual action of vocal chords and a particular blowing technique, not everyone can learn it and this requires hard study with a teacher’s instruction.

Mongol Biyelgee, Mongolian traditional folk dance, inscribed in 2009

To access the description of this element, the original nomination file (form, consent of communities, photos and video) and the decision of inscription, please consult dedicated webpage.

A report will be due by 15/12/2021

Report submitted on 15/12/2017 and examined by the Committee in 2018

Overview

soon available

Report submitted on 15/12/2013 and examined by the Committee in 2014

Overview

The Mongol Biyelgee is performed by dancers from different ethnic groups in two provinces of Mongolia, embodying the nomadic way of life. Typically confined to the small space inside the ger (nomadic dwelling), dances are performed while half sitting or cross-legged with hand, shoulder and leg movements. The State reports that, although this folk dance was almost extinct at the time of inscription, the urgent safeguarding measures taken have succeeded in preventing its disappearance and there is now a much better awareness of it, demonstrated by the fact that even younger people have been attracted to study and practise this art. Despite this, according to Mongolia, it is not yet fully viable and the advanced ages of bearers, urbanization, its environmental context and poorly adapted apprenticeship systems all pose challenges to its sustainability.

Effectiveness of the safeguarding activities

In the report it is explained that a National Safeguarding Plan of the ‘Traditional folk dance: Biyelgee’ (2009-2014) was implemented and included: a field survey focused on the current state of the dance, its repertoire and associated customs and rituals; organized training and apprenticeship programmes; the establishment of several organizations that have as main objectives to develop and safeguard the local specificity of Biyelgee and offer legal protection to practitioners; and the production and publication of promotional materials such as a documentary film, a catalogue and several books. A national competition and a ‘talents workshop’ were organized by local NGOs. Since 2009, 31 professional dancers have graduated with degrees in Biyelgee from higher education institutions. The report mentions that a body connected to traditional knowledge including traditional costume-making and the craftsmanship of musical instruments has been also established.

According to Mongolia, there is now better awareness and younger people have been attracted to study and practise this art. The involvement, initiative and participation of local government, the public and State organizations in protection and transmission activities are increasing. The Biyelgee is now developing alongside other related aspects of heritage such as embroidery, craft skills, and music etc. Professional and apprentice training and the number of practitioners have greatly increased, as highlighted in the report.

Community participation

It is noted that during the implementation of the national safeguarding plan, relevant non-governmental organizations, communities and practitioners were involved actively. National artists and volunteers gathered together to create sustainable cultural activities and established several associations to this end. From the report it seems that the Biyelgee practising communities are actively involved today in the safeguarding activities for the element. Cultural associations are also reported to be deeply involved, undertaking activities such as restoring some forgotten arts of Biyelgee, transmitting it to the next generation, holding apprenticeship workshops, organizing festivals and Biyelgee performances during the national feast of Naadam, and researching its ethnic diversity, associated customs, vocabulary and method of transmission.

Concerning participation in the preparation of the report, the community, practitioners and individuals assisted and provided information about their contribution to the activity and some communities and associations sent written reports of their local activities. In particular, Mongolia explains that a Commission was set up in 2012 comprising governmental and non-governmental organizations, community members, practitioners, bearers and other individuals to prepare national activity reports on the different measures taken to safeguard and protect this element.

Viability and current risks

Since the inscription of the element on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, bearers and communities are reported to be more sensitive to transmit their knowledge, local and governmental organizations are more involved in its development projects and public participation has increased. However, Mongolia acknowledges that some challenges remain. For example, 50 years ago this cultural heritage was transferred from herders’ households to the concert podium: it would be necessary to revitalize its performance in its original context associated with herder’s customs and traditions. According to the reporting State it would be important to safeguard and develop Biyelgee in both environments. At the same time, the report cites the importance of avoiding that Biyelgee be used in its contemporary forms primarily to entertain tourists and generate revenues.

Mongol Tuuli, Mongolian epic, inscribed in 2009

To access the description of this element, the original nomination file (form, consent of communities, photos and video) and the decision of inscription, please consult dedicated webpage.

A report will be due by 15/12/2021

Report submitted on 15/12/2017 and examined by the Committee in 2018

Overview

soon available

Report submitted on 15/12/2013 and examined by the Committee in 2014

Overview

The Mongol Tuuli is a living oral tradition comprising heroic epics, crucial for the cultural identity of the Mongolian people and for the historical continuity of their nomadic lifestyle. Epics are performed during many social and public events, including state affairs, weddings, a child’s first haircut, the traditional naadam festival and the worship of sacred sites. The Mongolian epic plays an important role in the traditional education of younger people. During the seven decades of the Mongolian People’s Republic (1924-1992), the traditional nomadic lifestyle and traditional culture were suppressed and, following this, Mongolia experienced rapid urbanization against a backdrop of increasing globalization. In the report it is mentioned that due to the aforementioned political, social and demographic factors, the Mongolian epic had lost its traditional place in the culture, and interest decreased correspondingly among the general public. The number and distribution of epic performances diminished drastically as a result.

Effectiveness of the safeguarding activities

It is reported that inscription led to developing a systematic approach to safeguarding through the adoption of the National Safeguarding Plan of the Mongolian Epic (2011). It emphasizes training young performers in order to sustain inter-generational transmission, while strengthening the status accorded to epics and their performers, and revitalizing the traditional ritual contexts of performance. According to Mongolia, the number of people registered at the national level as epic storytellers through a field study and inventorying has risen from 7 in 2009 to 20 in 2013; their repertory includes now around 30 epics (long and short).

The number of practitioners, researchers and people with an interest in and practising epic storytelling has increased as mentioned in the report. Public awareness of the epic art is also increased and storytellers have been encouraged by public recognition and organizing festivals, competitions, etc. Additionally, the report explains that their repertoire and skills have been recorded and assessed. A new academic discipline was created and a database of the epic performers was established and will be updated annually. The reporting State explains that folk rituals and customs associated to the Mongolian epic have been revived, some forgotten epics revitalized and traditional techniques, methods, skills and rituals relative to the narration of epic acquired. However, from the report it seems important to create sustainable financial support in order to continue and improve the training activities.

Community participation

The storytellers are reported to be active in most of the safeguarding activities set out in the safeguarding plan, in particular, in training the next generation by teaching them and in keeping the traditional form of epics. They also participate often in national festivals and competitions. Cultural associations (such as the lkh Hogsuu and Aitan Huree Associations in Oirad and Urianhai, respectively) organize traditional art and sports festival competitions. In the report it is explained that the Mongol Epic NGO has programmes aimed at keeping, protecting and transmitting the tradition. Through the local government administrations and cultural centres in each region, the Mongol Tuuli Association has the main responsibility for ensuring the viability of the epic at the local levels and has established a centralized framework for safeguarding the epic and ensuring its viability.

According to the report, epic performers, relevant State bodies, the Mongolian National Commission for UNESCO and the Mongol Tuuli Association have all had direct involvement and support for the implementation of the National Safeguarding Plan of the Mongolian Epic. The performers and concerned NGOs have played an important role in restoring apprenticeship training and conducting training for trainer-bearers. Mongolia states that a commission was set up in 2012 comprising governmental and non-governmental organizations, community members, practitioners, bearers and other individuals to prepare national activity reports on the different measures taken to safeguard and protect the several Mongolian elements inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. In particular, the Mongol Tuuli Association and five renowned storytellers were involved in preparing the report submitted.

Viability and current risks

According to the reporting State, at the time of inscription, the Mongol Tuuli was at severe risk because of its shrinking social sphere, changing socio-economic conditions and the weakening of nomadic practices, the difficulties for younger people in mastering the complex poetic language, and the increasing popularity of mass entertainment. Despite the aforementioned challenges, Mongolian epic performers are reported to continue to attach great importance to performing the epic within traditional contexts and in sacred settings, and endeavour to transmit performing techniques to the younger generation in the manner learned from their ancestors. As underlined in the report, the viability of the Mongolian epic stories depends, in part, on which form they take since they are divided into several traditional genres according to the way of telling and the rules governing this: more than half of all storytellers belong to a single tradition while some other traditions have only a few storytellers and this renders them vulnerable to disappearance.

In the report it is stated that the epic is still at severe risk today also because of the increasing popularity of mass entertainment media among youth. It seems therefore necessary to stabilize and improve current measures for epic storytelling and secure sustainable financial support for them. Although Mongolia reported on concrete achievements as a result of the safeguarding plan, it recognizes that it is important that it receive continued financial support.

Folk long song performance technique of Limbe performances - circular breathing, inscribed in 2011

To access the description of this element, the original nomination file (form, consent of communities, photos and video) and the decision of inscription, please consult dedicated webpage.

A report will be due by 15/12/2023

Report submitted in 2019 and to be examined by the Committee in 2020

Report submitted on 15/12/2015 and examined by the Committee in 2016

Overview

The Limbe is an ancient musical wind instrument, mostly made of hardwood and bamboo. Communities in Mongolia have developed the traditional technique known as ‘circular breathing’ to play it. This technique, originally developed by ancient craftspeople (silver- and goldsmiths), is closely linked with traditional folk songs, the nomadic identity of Mongolians and the vast steppe. A family tradition, the technique forms an important part of their cultural heritage. It has significant social and cultural functions and is performed during rituals associated with life events (weddings, festive events, the first cutting of a child’s hair etc.), as well as at the Naadam Festival.
Effectiveness of the safeguarding plan. Safeguarding activities for the element can be divided into four broad categories. The first category consists of a field study that was conducted on the current state of Limbe, its repertoire and associated customs/rituals. A registration-information database has also been created. A second category of safeguarding activities is mainly aimed at transmission: this has included the training of 60 higher education students by nine trainer-performers in a formal education setting, covering the circular breathing technique and the training of 10 students by a master using traditional apprenticeship methods. The third category is focused on scientific meetings and research on the circular breathing technique that occurred during 2012-14 resulting in the distribution of 400 tutorial manuals with DVDs to libraries and higher education institutions. The fourth category of awareness-raising and promotional activities includes the inscription of two bearers on the national Living Human Treasure List, participation of Limbe performers in international and national folk music competitions and overseas concerts, and a public performance by Limbe students.
The report states that the Limbe technique has for now escaped from vanishing completely, which is a major achievement, although further efforts are needed to establish a firm foundation for its future viability. This will include developing an appropriate legal framework and sustainable financial support. Since inscription, bearers and their communities have become more aware of the need to transmit their skills and know-how and this has allowed for a step-by-step approach in the safeguarding strategy development. The results of the safeguarding plan include a two-fold increase in the number of Limbe performers/trainees; improvements in methods of safeguarding (e.g. teaching, studying and researching, and disseminating and sustaining the element); organization of local Limbe competitions; and greater awareness of the element and its significance among the bearer community and general public. The total budget for the activities reported by Mongolia was US$23,650. Budgetary sources include the state budget, local government and the non-governmental sector. It is stressed in the report that the budget available was not sufficient to undertake all the activities planned and some have been postponed as a result.
Community participation. Bearer communities are actively involved in developing safeguarding activities aimed at safeguarding the technique (and its repertoire) and protecting, promoting, teaching and transmitting it. This involvement includes conducting research studies. The safeguarding activities described in the report were also developed in coordination with non-governmental organizations. The Mongolian Association of Limbe Performers (established in 2007) plays a central role, undertaking a range of safeguarding activities (e.g. identification, revitalization, research, transmission, supporting bearers and developing associated crafts skills). The government established a commission for drafting reports on national activities for safeguarding elements inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, which includes members from governmental and non-governmental organizations, communities, performers and individuals. During preparation of the report, the cultural community, practitioners and some individuals have provided their assistance and information about their activities.
Viability and current risks. The element’s survival has been mostly due to the efforts of a few masters and their apprentices, some of whom are the founders of the Mongolian Association of Limbe Performers which plays a central role in the element’s continued transmission and performance. The number of performers/trainees has doubled over the past four years thanks to the efforts of these trainer-performers and the long-term viability of the element has thus been increased. However, several threats to this exist, including increased urbanization, a decrease in the number of traditional folklore groups and performers, changes to the traditional repertoire and the introduction of non-traditional methods into the training system. In the report it is suggested that in order to ensure future viability, a favourable legal and financial framework to protect the bearers is essential, which includes providing a system of incentives.

Mongolian calligraphy, inscribed in 2013

To access the description of this element, the original nomination file (form, consent of communities, photos and video) and the decision of inscription, please consult dedicated webpage.

A report will be due by 15/12/2021

Report submitted on 15/12/2017 and examined by the Committee in 2018

Overview

soon available

Mongolian traditional practices of worshipping the sacred sites, inscribed in 2017

To access the description of this element, the original nomination file (form, consent of communities, photos and video) and the decision of inscription, please consult dedicated webpage.

A report will be due by 15/12/2021

Coaxing ritual for camels, inscribed in 2015

To access the description of this element, the original nomination file (form, consent of communities, photos and video) and the decision of inscription, please consult dedicated webpage.

A report will be due by 15/12/2023

Report submitted in 2019 and to be examined by the Committee in 2020

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