Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 16.COM 8.B.43

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Turkey has nominated Hüsn-i Hat, traditional calligraphy in Islamic art in Turkey (no. 01684) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The Hüsn-i hat is the centuries-old Turkish practice of writing letters of Arabic origin in a measured and proportional manner while taking into consideration certain aesthetic values. Traditional tools include a specific type of paper glazed with organic substances, a reed pen, pen knives, a special slab for trimming the reed pen, an inkwell, soot ink and a pen case. Many calligraphers, or hattats, make their own tools, and they play an important role in the transmission of the Hüsn-i hat tradition, passing on their knowledge, craft skills and values through apprenticeships. The Hüsn-i hat can be written on paper or leather. It may also be applied on stone, marble, glass and wood, among others. There are many different styles of Hüsn-i hat, and the practice was traditionally used to write the Koran, hadiths (statements of the Prophet Muhammad) and poetry, as well as for State correspondence, such as imperial edicts and warrants, and on religious and public buildings. In Islam, Hüsn-i hat is seen as a means not only of writing ideas, but of depicting them visually. To this day, Hüsn-i hat is still used in sacred and literary works and on mosques, Turkish baths and temples.

  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:  Hüsn-i hat is the art of writing with letters of Arabic origin by using reed pens and soot ink in a measured and proportional manner while taking aesthetics into consideration. The element is transmitted through apprenticeships and the master does not charge any fees to the apprentice. It is an informal practical training called mashq. Today, the element is still practiced in sacred and literary works, and on religious buildings, monuments, walls, domes and portals in Turkey. The practitioners and bearers are hattats, trainees, artisans and suppliers, all of which include women. The element contributes to the continuity of social memory and cultural identity, and is compatible with human rights.

R.2:  The file demonstrates that inscription would ensure visibility and awareness about the element and about the significance of intangible cultural heritage in general, as well as encourage dialogue and promote human creativity. At the national level, inscription would encourage hattats and related communities to safeguard the element and contribute to the local inventory process. At the international level, inscription would increase awareness among related communities in different regions of the world. It would also facilitate dialogue through seminars, workshops and study visits at the national and international levels. By enabling the diversity of writing shapes, forms and composition resulting in myriad artworks, the element is open to new forms and thus promotes human creativity.

R.3:  The file accounts for past and ongoing initiatives, including training workshops, publications, conferences, seminars, exhibitions and competitions. Since 2010 the Ministry of Culture and Tourism has held Hüsn-i hat courses and trained 1340 people. The proposed safeguarding measures also recognize the role of the traditional method for transmission from master to apprentice. Additional plans include developing materials to stimulate interest among children, using conventional and television mediums to promote the element, issuing writing kits and organizing competitions, exhibitions and continued academic exchanges involving practitioners.

R.4:  The file demonstrates wide community participation in the nomination process, beginning with the inscription of the element in the national inventory through to the preparation of the nomination file. The letters of consent included with the file testify to the broad scope of people involved in the nomination, including producers of the paper, ink and other materials used in the practice of the element. They also include men and women. There is no aspect of the element that is restricted by customary practices.

R.5:  The element was included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage National Inventory of Turkey in 2014. The Intangible Cultural Heritage Commission of Experts meets twice a year to update the national inventories and evaluate the submissions of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Boards. The inventories are updated at least once a year with the approval of the Minister of Culture and Tourism.

  1. Decides to inscribe Hüsn-i Hat, traditional calligraphy in Islamic art in Turkey on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Encourages the State Party to share safeguarding experiences with other States Parties with similar elements.