The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has inscribed four new elements on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

The following elements were inscribed Tuesday:

Earthenware pottery-making skills in Botswana’s Kgatleng District

altWomen of the Bakgatla ba Kgafela community of Botswana practice earthenware pottery-making skills using clay soil, weathered sandstone and other materials to make pots of different forms, designs and styles that relate to the traditional rituals and beliefs of the community. Pots are used for storing beer, fermenting sorghum meal, fetching water, cooking, ancestral worship and traditional healing rituals. The practice is at risk of extinction because of the decreasing number of master potters, low prices for finished goods and the increasing use of mass-produced containers.

Noken multifunctional knotted or woven bag, handcraft of the people of Papua (Indonesia)

Noken is a knotted net or woven bag handmade from wood fibre or leaves by communities in Papua and West Papua Provinces of Indonesia. It is used for carrying produce, catch, firewood, babies or small animals as well as for shopping and for storing things in the home. Noken may also be worn or given as peace offerings. The number of people making and using Noken is diminishing, however, in the face of competition from factory-made bags and problems obtaining raw materials.

Ala-kiyiz and Shyrdak, art of Kyrgyz traditional felt carpets (Kyrgyzstan)

altTraditional felt carpets represent one of the foremost arts of the Kyrgyz people. The knowledge, skills, diversity, ornamentation and ceremonies involved provide Kyrgyz people with a sense of identity and continuity. Their creation is a communal enterprise led by older women in rural, mountainous areas, but the tradition is in danger of disappearing. The number of practitioners is diminishing and the lack of governmental safeguarding, the disinterest of the younger generation, the dominance of cheap synthetic carpets, and the poor quality and low availability of raw materials are exacerbating the situation.

Bigwala, gourd trumpet music and dance of the Busoga Kingdom in Uganda

The Basoga people of Uganda traditionally practice Bigwala music and dance during royal celebrations and social occasions. A set of five or more monotone gourd trumpets are blown in combination, accompanied by drum players, singers and dancers. Song lyrics narrate the history of the Basoga people, focusing in particular on their king. At present, there are only four remaining older master bearers with skills in Bigwala performance. As a result, Bigwala is performed infrequently and faces a real threat to its survival.

The inscription of elements on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding helps mobilize international cooperation and assistance keep them alive.

The session of the Committee, chaired by Arley Gill (Granada), continues until 7 December. It is still to examine nominations for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

© by Urmat Osmoev