Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 17.COM 7.B.31

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Iran have nominated Turkmen-style needlework art (No. 01876) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Turkmen-style needlework is a decorative applied art used on the national dress of people of all genders and ages in Turkmenistan and Iran. In both countries, Turkmen-style needlework begins with the preparation of thin silk threads that are intertwined in three layers and twisted into a single thread, then straightened with a large needle. This unique technique gives the thread a shine. For the most common needlework style, a series of loops are created by piercing the fabric with a thin needle and holding the previous loop with the thumb of the other hand. There are also other needlework styles that vary according to the region. There is no age limit, and young girls traditionally learn the needlework from their mothers and grandmothers. In rural areas, the patterns used reveal the territorial identity of the needlewomen. They are also used to symbolize love, friendship, nature and strength. The needlework is used on wedding clothes, in clothing for funerals and cultural events, and as decorative parts of ordinary clothing, such as scarves, coats, pants, shawls and accessories.

  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:   Turkmen-style needlework is a form of decorative applied art, combining the skills of creative work on different types of fabric. The bearers and practitioners include women and girls with knowledge of the element. While most of the needle workers in both countries are women, men are involved in other related jobs, such as the making of needlework tools. Sericulturists of both genders are also highlighted as practitioners associated with the element. The element's social functions and cultural meaning are related to its use in wedding dresses and clothing for brides and grooms, and in objects used in funerals, social gatherings and cultural events. The element is also linked to the history and traditions of the submitting States. The element is transmitted through informal and formal learning. Informal learning takes place in the form of communication between older and younger generations, usually within families. Formal learning includes the presentation of information in scientific publications and journals, literature, visual aids and video materials, studies at institutes/academies. The element does not conflict with human rights. It promotes mutual respect between communities and contributes to sustainable development.

R.2:   At the local level, inscription will contribute to wider practice of the element and encourage local needlewomen to create new patterns of needlework. At the national level, inscription will increase awareness of intangible cultural heritage in general and of the element itself, highlighting the skills, styles and designs associated with different parts of the country. At the international level, inscription will introduce this style of needleworking to other needlework practices around the world, and may encourage individuals from other geographic regions to become interested in the element. Inscription will promote dialogue between different communities, local organizations and scholars, as well as between the bearers and the practitioners of other intangible cultural heritage fields in the country, such as oral habits and traditions. It will also contribute to a better understanding of this art, and encourage people to appreciate its diversity.

R.3:   The file explains that a safeguarding plan for the element was developed, with joint measures between the two submitting States in addition to measures that are specific to each country. These measures include efforts to encourage knowledge transmission, research, documentation, education, publications, awareness-raising and promotional efforts. The communities of both submitting States participated in developing the proposed safeguarding measures and will be involved in their implementation. In addition, the role of the States Parties in implementing the proposed safeguarding measures is explained in the file.

R.4:   The file explains that both submitting States involved the bearers and practitioners in various stages of the nomination process. In Turkmenistan, representatives of local societies were involved in gathering consent letters and preparing photos and other audio-visual materials. In Iran, practitioners from different provinces were involved in contributing to and preparing the nomination file and in providing audio-visual materials such as videos and photos. The file includes consent letters from the element's practitioners, associations and groups in both countries.

R.5:   In Turkmenistan, the element is included in the National Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which is maintained by the Department of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan. The inventorying of the element was initiated by the communities themselves, and representatives of the communities concerned from all provinces organized a workgroup to discuss the element and provide data for the inventorying process. The inventory in Turkmenistan is updated annually. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the element is included on the Iranian National Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory. Bearers and practitioners provided content for the national inventorying file and letters of consent were submitted by communities around Iran. Iran's inventory is updated on a three-year basis.

  1. Decides to inscribe Turkmen-style needlework art on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Commends the States Parties for jointly implementing past and current safeguarding measures since 2006 and for developing joint safeguarding measures to be implemented following inscription of the element.