Decisión del Comité intergubernamental: 18.COM 8.B.36

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen have nominated Arts, skills and practices associated with engraving on metals (gold, silver and copper) (No. 01951) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Engraving on metals such as gold, silver and copper is a centuries-old practice that entails manually cutting words, symbols or geometric patterns including Quran verses or prayers into the surfaces of decorative, utilitarian, religious or ceremonial objects. Engravings can be concave (recessed) or convex (elevated), or the result of a combination of different types of metals, such as gold and silver. Their social and symbolic meanings and functions vary according to the communities concerned. Engraved objects, such as jewelry or household objects, are often presented as traditional gifts for weddings or used in religious rituals and traditional and alternative medicine. For instance, certain types of metals are believed to have healing properties. Engraving on metals is transmitted within families, through observation and hands-on practice. It is also transmitted through workshops organized by training centres, organizations and universities, among others. Publications, cultural events and social media further contribute to the transmission of the related knowledge and skills. Practiced by people of all ages and genders, metal engraving and the use of engraved objects are means of expressing the cultural, religious and geographical identity and the socioeconomic status of the communities concerned.

  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:   This traditional decorative handicraft is closely related to practices, rituals, festivities and traditional craftsmanship. The engravings hold social and symbolic meanings, and are used according to their aesthetic, utilitarian, religious and ritualistic nature. The bearers and practitioners include engravers, owners of workshops and exhibitions, experts and traders of raw materials. The knowledge and skills related to engraving are passed on to new generations in informal family frameworks and through formal education. Civil society organizations such as trade unions also play a role in transmission. The element is associated with the cultural identity of the communities concerned. It is possible to identify the affiliation of people, their religious and geographical belonging, and their social status, through the metal objects they use. The element is also associated with many social occasions and rites of passage. It provides job opportunities and income, and materials are environmentally friendly, thus contributing to sustainability.

R.2:   As a result of inscription, at the local level, youth would become more interested in safeguarding their living heritage. At the national levels, governments would be encouraged to develop legislation and strategies on intangible cultural heritage. At the international level, existing and new collaborations would be advanced and expanded. Dialogue would be enhanced by organizing common activities where ideas can be exchanged, such as competitions, seminars, cultural forums, training workshops, conferences and festivals. Human creativity and respect for cultural diversity would also be promoted, as inscription would foster innovation and artistic expression. Through the involvement of a wide range of practitioners of different backgrounds, inscription would also highlight cultural diversity and the way in which it enriches the element.

R.3:   Past and current safeguarding measures include coordinating training workshops and exhibitions, and promoting, documenting and researching the element. The respective government bodies in the submitting States have supported safeguarding measures by assisting in documentation, inventorying and research, by implementing preservation and protection measures, and through promotional activities. The proposed joint measures include research and documentation activities, awareness-raising, and measures aimed at promoting transmission, protection and preservation. The measures envisioned by individual States include national legislation, tourism measures, tax reductions, soft loans, support of civil society organizations and NGOs, organizing exhibitions and supporting museum collection endeavors. State support includes establishing specialized committees in all the submitting States to follow up on and contribute to the implementation of the measures.

R.4:   Community participation in the nomination process started in Iraq. The idea for a multinational nomination was then proposed to the Conference of Ministers Responsible for Cultural Affairs in the Arab World. Ten states eventually collaborated in the realization of the multinational file, and four coordination meetings were held to this end. Free, prior and informed consent is provided through letters and in the annexed video.

R.5:   The element is listed on the inventories of the respective submitting States. Details of the inventories, such as the organization responsible, the date of inclusion, and the frequency with which the inventories are updated in each of the countries, are provided in the nomination file. Information about how the inventories are updated with the involvement of communities is also provided. Iraq and Morocco update their inventory lists every two years, while Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Tunisia update their inventories every three years. As for Algeria, the inventory list is updated every five years. Mauritania, Palestine and Yemen update their inventory lists whenever necessary to add a new element.

  1. Decides to inscribe Arts, skills and practices associated with engraving on metals (gold, silver and copper) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Reminds the States Parties of the importance of ensuring the widest possible participation of the communities concerned in planning and implementing the proposed safeguarding measures;
  3. Reminds the States Parties of the importance of referring to the appropriate Convention.