The main body for safeguarding Peru’s intangible cultural heritage is the Dirección de Patrimonio Inmaterial Contemporáneo (DPIC, Directorate of Contemporary Intangible Heritage) under Peru’s Ministry of Culture, which is responsible for the identification, documentation, research, safeguarding, promotion, awareness raising, transmission and revitalization of intangible cultural heritage in all its aspects. This office was originally created in 2003 as the Dirección de Registro y Estudio de la Cultura del Perú Contemporáneo (Directorate of Registry and Study of Contemporary Peru’s Culture), within the former Instituto Nacional de Cultura (National Institute of Culture). This Institute was absorbed into the Ministry of Culture in 2010. Its main functions are: (1) Updating the registration and study of existing intangible cultural heritage manifestations and organizing a general inventory; (2) Promoting the study of and research into elements of the country’s intangible cultural heritage; (3) Promoting the dissemination of knowledge of cultural elements so that they may be useful for cultural safeguarding purposes by the regions, groups and communities; (4) Coordinating with universities and research centres for the promotion of culture, to create, enrich and enhance a wide network of research and information on intangible cultural heritage; (5) Proposing and coordinating the endorsement of contracts or technical or financial cooperation agreements, both national and international, for the conduct of research and training in the corresponding areas, subject to law; (6) Proposing and consulting on the declaration of elements of Peruvian intangible cultural heritage as part of the nation’s cultural heritage.
Other responsible bodies at the national level include: (1) the Vice-Ministry of Interculturalism, which formulates policies for the social integration of the diversity of cultural practices and ancestral knowledge of Peru’s indigenous population, and promotes intercultural awareness and appreciation of Peru’s multicultural diversity; (2) the Dirección General de Educación Intercultural, Bilingüe y Rural (General Directorate of Intercultural, Bilingual and Rural Education) of the Ministry of Education, which is responsible for regulating and guiding the national policy of intercultural, bilingual and rural education of the national education systems; (3) the Dirección de Invenciones y Nuevas Tecnologias (Directorate of Inventions and New Technologies) of the Instituto Nacional de Defensa de la Competencia y Protección de la Propiedad Intelectual (INDECOPI, the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property), which safeguards the collective knowledge of indigenous peoples linked to biological resources; and (4) the Dirección Nacional de Artesanía del Ministerio de Comercio Exterior y Turismo (National Directorate of Crafts at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism), which is responsible for implementing the policies concerning the development of the handicraft sector, formulating and monitoring regulatory standards, and facilitating the development of investment and the competitiveness of the craft sector in the local and international markets.
The main institution for training in intangible cultural heritage safeguarding in Peru is the Centro Regional para la Salvaguardia del Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial de América Latina (CRESPIAL, Regional Centre for the Safeguarding of ICH in Latin America), a Category 2 Centre under the auspices of UNESCO. Its work includes supporting national capacities in the field of intangible cultural heritage and it has provided training workshops in intangible cultural heritage to cultural institutions, officials from the public sector and civil society in general in various regions of the country. The main focus of these is on the design of participatory methodologies for the registration of intangible cultural heritage expressions. In addition, the Escuela Nacional Superior de Folklore José María Arguedas (José María Arguedas National College of Folk Arts) trains school teachers of Peruvian folk music and folk dances, and the Peruvian National Commission for UNESCO has provided training in the identification and safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage elements to Peru’s network of schools associated with UNESCO.
For documentation, the National College of Folk Arts José María Arguedas holds an archive with folk music recordings. The library of the National Museum of Peruvian Culture holds a large number of archives and collections from scholars of Peruvian culture folklore, which is available to researchers and the general public. The DPIC also has a photographic and audio-visual archive which is available to members of the communities and organizations with whom they were developed, as well as to state and private institutions, independent researchers and members of the public. Various other institutions (governmental, academic, foreign and non-governmental organizations) study and document intangible cultural heritage elements: the French Institute of Andean Studies; the Institute of Peruvian Studies; the Professional School of Tourism and Hotel Management, at the Universidad San Martín de Porres; the Catholic University of Peru’s Editorial Fund; the Editorial Fund of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos; and the Centre of Peru’s Indigenous Cultures (CHIRAPAQ), a non-governmental organization that works to strengthen the identity of indigenous peoples.
The DPIC is responsible for inventorying intangible cultural heritage. This takes the form of the following two inventories: (1) the Qhapaq Ñan Programme Ethnographic Database and (2) the Declarations of Elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage as Cultural Heritage of the Nation (‘Declarations of Cultural Heritage’). The former is the result of an ethnographic survey conducted between 2003 and 2008 as part of a national programme to survey archaeological and geographic sites associated with the old Incan imperial road system. It is stored on a digital database managed by the DPIC and is periodically updated when in-depth studies of intangible cultural heritage are carried out.
The latter constitutes the primary on-going inventory of intangible cultural heritage. It is aimed at registering heritage on a national representative list that covers intangible cultural heritage practices, representations, expressions and knowledge, as well as tangible items and cultural spaces associated with them, which communities, groups and individuals acknowledge as part of their cultural heritage. A key criterion for inclusion is the request for inscription from bearers and their communities. The intangible cultural heritage should also form part of a verifiable longstanding tradition that is actively engaged in the community’s rituals or everyday life. Special attention is given to intangible cultural heritage whose viability is threatened by external factors. A participatory system has been developed to prepare this inventory, whereby each Declaration is supported by a technical dossier prepared by the bearer community and submitted to the Ministry of Culture. The dossier is endorsed by the bearers and performers of the specific item by means of a document that states their informed consent and approval for its nomination. Non-governmental organizations dedicated to specific elements of intangible cultural heritage (e.g. foodways, an Andean stringed instrument, Afro-Peruvian heritage) are also involved in the identification and inventorying of intangible cultural heritage.
As a means of promoting the function of intangible cultural heritage in society, an important legal development in 2002 was the adoption of a law that recognizes the right and prerogative of indigenous peoples to make decisions concerning their traditional knowledge linked to biological resources (such as knowledge or techniques for collecting and preparing medicinal plants) and the use of this knowledge for the benefit of indigenous peoples. It prohibits granting patents to inventions based on the collective knowledge of Peruvian indigenous peoples, without noting this knowledge as a background.
One of the various measures to ensure the recognition of, respect for and enhancement of intangible cultural heritage is the presentation of the Distinguished Recognition of Praiseworthy Personality of Peruvian Culture, which was awarded to 53 institutions and/or individuals for their contributions to the practice and safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. Other promotional activities have included screening documentaries on TV Perú to all regions of the country and staging 32 temporary exhibitions on intangible cultural heritage in various spaces and institutions. The National Museum of Peruvian Culture also regularly holds exhibitions related to Peruvian popular traditions and folk arts and to the works of leading Peruvian folk artists.
As far as educational initiatives are concerned, the General Direction of Intercultural, Bilingual and Rural Education (Ministry of Education) has developed a national language and culture programme to establish a flexible pedagogy that responds to the country’s cultural diversity. It includes the development of educationally, culturally and linguistically relevant material used at all levels of formal education. It trains teachers in intercultural education, the inclusion of traditional knowledge and the dynamics of non-formal transmission in schools. The Ministry of Culture has published and distributed an educational kit on national cultural heritage to public schools around the country aimed at high-school students. The kit includes a course book and teacher’s guide for each main field of cultural heritage, including intangible cultural heritage.
The key initiative for bilateral, sub-regional, regional and international cooperation is the establishment in Peru of CRESPIAL by 13 Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela). CRESPIAL has organized coordination meetings for its members to share experiences in the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage in each member country. These meetings have provided an opportunity to compare the various identification and safeguarding processes and to establish procedures that could be applied in other regions. CRESPIAL has also prepared a series of publications that examine the intangible cultural heritage of the countries of the region. In addition to providing a regional vision of the problems relating to intangible cultural heritage, these publications also serve as a basis for the States’ development of projects, plans and policies to safeguard intangible cultural heritage.
Peru reports here on four elements on the Representative List: the Oral heritage and cultural manifestations of the Zápara people (incorporated in 2008, with Ecuador, after having been proclaimed a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2001); Taquile and its textile art (also incorporated in 2008, after having been proclaimed a Masterpiece in 2005); the Scissors dance (2010); and Huaconada, a ritual dance of Mito (2010). In the case of the Huaconada, inscription standards have been established for the manufacture and sale of the wooden masks used for the dance, ensuring recognition of the craftspersons who made them and that a fair price is obtained for them. With the Scissors dance, inscription raised awareness of intangible cultural heritage, especially in places where pre-Hispanic and colonial tangible heritage is so prominent that it seems to overshadow the intangible cultural legacy. Inscription of Taquile has motivated the community to introduce safeguarding measures (an inventory of traditional garments, the registration practices related to their textile art etc.). Inscription of the Zápara element has increased the visibility of the different ethnic groups that inhabit the Amazon tropical forest and highlighted the importance of safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage of the Amazon aboriginal peoples of that region, who face multiple threats.