UNESCO adds Palestinian embroidery, calligraphy & more to its list
A number of art forms, from Palestinian embroidery to Aleppo music, are added to the Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
UNESCO has added a series of art to Intangible Cultural Heritage, including Arabic calligraphy, Al-Qudoud al-Halabiya - or traditional Aleppo music - Palestinian embroidery, Iraqi waterwheel craft skills, and Bahraini art.
This decision came after the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage meetings which began on December 13 and end on December 18, 2021.
The committee, composed of 24 elected state representatives took into consideration 55 applications for art "candidates," which include 45 applications for joining the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, 5 requests for inclusion in the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, and 5 proposals for the inclusion for the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices.
On its official website, UNESCO wrote that "Arabic calligraphy is the artistic practice of handwriting Arabic script in a fluid manner to convey harmony, grace, and beauty," also saying, "The fluidity of Arabic script offers infinite possibilities, even within a single word, as letters can be stretched and transformed in numerous ways to create different motifs."
Addressing the techniques of calligraphy, it was written that "Traditional techniques use natural materials, such as reeds and bamboo stems for the Qalam, or writing instrument. A mixture of honey, black soot, and saffron is used for the ink, and the paper is handmade and treated with starch, egg white, and alum."
🔴 BREAKING— UNESCO 🏛️ #Education #Sciences #Culture 🇺🇳😷 (@UNESCO) December 14, 2021
New inscription on the #IntangibleHeritage list: Arabic calligraphy: knowledge, skills and practices.
Congratulations 🇸🇦 - 🇩🇿 - 🇧🇭 - 🇪🇬 - 🇮🇶 - 🇯🇴 - 🇰🇼 - 🇱🇧 - 🇲🇷 - 🇲🇦 - 🇴🇲 - 🇵🇸 - 🇸🇩 - 🇹🇳 - 🇦🇪 - 🇾🇪! 👏
ℹ️ https://t.co/Gth22Prdqm #LivingHeritage pic.twitter.com/jayJ86Tnfk
As the number of calligraphers declines, UNESCO's announcement comes to strengthen the position of the art of Arabic calligraphy and preserve it as a heritage and cultural symbol in the Arab and Islamic worlds. To counter this decline, 16 Muslim or Muslim-majority countries had jointly sought to include calligraphy on this list.
As for the Aleppo music, or Al-Qudoud al-Halabiya, UNESCO explained that "Al-Qudoud al-Halabiya is a form of traditional music from Aleppo with a fixed melody. Sung for religious and entertainment purposes, the lyrics vary according to the type of event. Well-versed singers can improvise lyrics according to what is happening around them."
The music form is also a symbol of resilience as "Qudoud is a vital part of Aleppan culture and is viewed as a source of resilience, particularly during war."
As for the Palestinian embroidery, which is a quintessential part of Palestinian culture, UNESCO said "each of these garments is embroidered with a variety of symbols including birds, trees, and flowers. The choice of colors and designs indicates the woman’s regional identity and marital and economic status."
🔴 BREAKING— UNESCO 🏛️ #Education #Sciences #Culture 🇺🇳😷 (@UNESCO) December 15, 2021
The art of embroidery in Palestine, practices, skills, knowledge and rituals, has just been inscribed on the #IntangibleHeritage list.
Congratulations #Palestine 🇵🇸! 👏
ℹ️https://t.co/MAFqWve4X0 #LivingHeritage pic.twitter.com/H6kOnlwKum
Furthermore, "embroidery is sewn with silk thread on wool, linen or cotton. Embroidery is a social and intergenerational practice, as women gather in each other’s homes to practice embroidery and sewing, often with their daughters."
The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity today includes 492 elements and aims to highlight and raise awareness of cultural practices and skills of local communities.
As for the number of items included today in the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, 67 items are included; the list includes living heritage items that are in danger of extinction.