Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 16.COM 8.B.48

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Viet Nam has nominated Art of Xòe dance of the Tai people in Viet Nam (no. 01575) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Xòe is a form of Vietnamese dancing with movements that symbolize human activities in ritual, culture, life and work. It is performed at rituals, weddings, village festivals and community events. There are three main types of xòe: ritual, circle and presentational. The ritual and presentational xòe dances are named after props used during certain performances. For instance, there is scarf xòe, conical hat xòe, fan xòe, bamboo pole xòe, music xòe, stick xòe and flower xòe. But the most popular form is circle xòe, wherein dancers form a circle and perform in harmony. The basic movements include raising and opening the hands, then lowering them and clasping the hands of the adjacent person. The dancers follow rhythmic footsteps, slightly arching the chest and leaning backwards. Although simple, the dance movements symbolize wishes for community health and harmony. The dance is accompanied by various musical instruments, including gourd lutes, mouth organs, drums, gongs, cymbals and reed flutes. The instrumental music blends with the vocals and the jingling of the silver jewellery hanging around the waists of the women. Transmitted from generation to generation within families, dance troupes and schools, the xòe dance has become a symbol of hospitality and an important identity marker for the Tai people in north-western Viet Nam.

  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:  The element is accompanied by music from the gourd lute, shawm, mouth organ, drum, gong, cymbals, reed flute, bamboo pole and rattle. Tai community members share responsibilities and have different roles in organizing performances. Both males and females participate as musicians. The dance is passed on from generation to generation within the community to people of all ages and genders. Children learn from grandparents and parents and ceremony masters pass on knowledge to children, grandchildren, or successors. Tai dance artists and practitioners also teach performing arts troupes as well as high school and college students. The dance reflects Tai cosmological and worldviews and is performed during the lunar new year and spring season celebrations, and during festivals and feasts. The element is open to everyone regardless of age, gender, social status, occupation or ethnicity.

R.2:  At the local level, inscription would create awareness about the significance of the element, as well as about community cultural heritage in general. It will encourage feelings of inter-generational responsibility to transmit and practice the element in contemporary life. At the national level, it will increase awareness about the value and the importance of similar traditions in other regions of Viet Nam. It will also enhance pride in ethnic cultural identity and promote solidarity among the ethnic groups of Viet Nam. Inscription would be an incentive to update policies about cultural expressions. At the international level, the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general would be enhanced. Dialogue among troupes and Tai communities will be enhanced, and the various creative expressions of the element would be highlighted.

R.3:  Safeguarding measures have been largely undertaken by the Tai communities in four provinces, and their efforts have led to the establishment of performing arts troupes and contributed to research and to the publication of books about the element. Masters have passed on knowledge to their students and attempted to revitalize some aspects of the element. The State itself has passed and updated the Cultural Heritage Law that includes a chapter on safeguarding intangible cultural heritage. It has also awarded practitioners with national awards, provided financial support, and coordinated cultural festivals and competitions. A series of measures are proposed and notably includes transmission through formal and informal education, research, inventorying and documentation, all in collaboration with masters and practitioners. Community representatives were involved in drafting the nomination file and in identifying safeguarding measures.

R.4:  The file demonstrates wide community participation in research, documentation and inventorying between 2017 and 2018 and then in the review of the nomination file in 2019, where they recommended revisions. The process included State bodies, namely the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, in collaboration with troupe representatives from the villages, districts and towns in four provinces. Free, prior and informed consent is established and features a wide cross-section of the communities, groups and individuals concerned.

R.5:  The variations of the element were included in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage between 2014 and 2016. The element was also included in the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Cultural Heritage Data Bank at the Viet Nam National Institute of Culture and Arts Studies in 2016. The Data Bank is updated annually based on intangible cultural heritage projects implemented with the participation of the local communities within the Cultural National Target Program.

  1. Decides to inscribe Art of Xòe dance of the Tai people in Viet Nam on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Commends the State Party on the preparation of a well-developed file.