Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 16.COM 8.B.30

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Palestine has nominated the art of embroidery in Palestine, practices, skills, knowledge and rituals (no. 01722) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The art of traditional embroidery is widespread in Palestine. Originally made and worn in rural areas, the practice is now common in all of Palestine and among members of the diaspora. Women’s village clothing usually consists of a long dress, trousers, a jacket, a headdress and a veil. Each of these garments is embroidered with a variety of symbols including birds, trees and flowers. The choice of colours and designs indicates the woman’s regional identity and marital and economic status. On the main garment, the loose-fitting dress called a thob, the chest, sleeves and cuffs are covered with embroidery. Embroidered, vertical panels run down the dress from the waist. The embroidery is sewn with silk thread on wool, linen or cotton. Embroidery is a social and intergenerational practice, as women gather in each other’s homes to practise embroidery and sewing, often with their daughters. Many women embroider as a hobby, and some produce and sell embroidered pieces to supplement their family’s income, either on their own or in collaboration with other women. These groups gather in each other’s homes or in community centres, where they may also market their work. The practice is transmitted from mother to daughter and through formal training courses.

  1. Considers that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:  It is the practice of applying embroidery on the traditional attire worn by women in the villages as well as on sheets and bedspreads. Embroideries include a variety of symbols and figures such as birds, trees and flowers. It is practiced by women of all ages and the associated knowledge and skills are passed within families from grandmothers and mothers to daughters. The practice is also transmitted formally through organized training courses and art education classes in schools. The practice of the element enhances the relationship between generations and is featured at weddings and during events such as the parade to the Church of the Nativity.

R.2:  At the local and national levels, there will be greater awareness and knowledge about the Convention and about how traditional cultural expressions and practices impact community and individual identity. Inscription will also encourage identification and safeguarding measures for intangible cultural heritage among Palestinian communities. At the international level, inscription will bring increased recognition to intangible cultural heritage involving women. Given that embroidery is a common element in many communities around the world, there will be increased opportunity for dialogue. The practice of the element itself is a creative one, and respect for cultural diversity will be enhanced given the social and cultural aspects associated with the element.

R.3:  The element has been safeguarded through bazaars, exhibitions and through its study and research. Individual women and their families have also been responsible for the element’s safeguarding. Furthermore, the Anata Cultural Centre and Teraze Museum have undertaken documentation and study of the element. School curricula teach about embroidery and its importance, and the element is also taught in extracurricular programmes. Embroidery is featured on particular national days as well. Several measures are outlined for safeguarding, including a focus on income generation and sustainable development, research, documentation and publication. The file sufficiently explains the role of communities in the proposal and in implementing the proposed safeguarding measures.

R.4:  The file demonstrates broad participation of communities, groups and individuals in the preparation of the file and the nomination process that began in 2016. It establishes joint collaboration among State ministries, non-governmental organizations and community representatives. Free, prior and informed consent is also ascertained by the information provided in the file. There are no customary rights governing the access.

R.5:  The element has been included in the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List since 2018 and is administered by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Department of the Palestinian Ministry of Culture/National Heritage Registry Department. The element was proposed by craftswomen from local communities and charities concerned with protecting the craft. The Heritage List was created in 2016 with 18 heritage elements and is updated every two years. In 2017 and 2019, the List was updated and five other heritage elements were included.

  1. Decides to inscribe the art of embroidery in Palestine, practices, skills, knowledge and rituals on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Reminds the State Party on the need to establish a clear process for involving the relevant communities, groups and individuals in the updating of inventories;
  3. Commends the State Party on ensuring the widest possible involvement of communities, including the women from refugee camps in the nomination process.