- Takes note that the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Syrian Arab Republic have nominated Crafting and playing the Oud (no. 01569) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
The Oud is a pear-shaped, stringed musical instrument with a history dating back over 1500 years. To produce the instrument’s melodic and harmonic tones, a player stops the frets with the fingers of one hand and plucks the strings with the other. While there are differences among Ouds such as size and number of strings, the instrument has a strong presence in the Middle East and is considered as a popular shared tradition. Ouds can be decorated with various patterns. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the main centers of the element are Khuzestan-Bushehr, Hormozgan, Tehran, Kurdistan provinces and major cities such as Shiraz. In the Syrian Arab Republic , Ouds are mainly crafted in Damascus and Aleppo, though Oud musicians are spread out all across the country. Ouds can be played solo or in ensembles. In the Islamic Republic of Iran, they are also played during some ritual and folklore ceremonies. In the Syrian Arab Republic , they are often played at events such as weddings, festivals and family gatherings. Traditionally, the Oud was included in a woman’s bridal dowry. In both countries, the instrument is an important part of the communities’ identity. Knowledge of how to craft and play the instrument is passed down through master-apprentice relationships, through families and in formal training.
- 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.2: The States Parties have clearly explained how the inscription of the element would contribute to ensuring the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general. The ideas presented in the file range from raising local awareness about the Convention to generating insight into the many roles the different stakeholders involved can play in safeguarding intangible cultural heritage and fostering international cooperation around shared heritage. The inscription could raise awareness about living heritage being a tool for international cooperation and for building links between communities across state borders.
R.3: Both States Parties have demonstrated the past and current efforts to safeguard the element by describing the initiatives undertaken to produce documentation and publications, hold musical events and training classes, organize seminars and conferences, and teach the skills of crafting Oud. These initiatives were open to participants of all genders. Although there is a slight disparity between the information provided by the two States, as well as a lack of joint measures, the two States Parties have presented a series of measures to be implemented after the inscription of the element, as well as the actions to be carried out by each of the bodies concerned.
R.5: In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the element was included in the Iranian National Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2019. In the Syrian Arab Republic, it was included in the National Inventory for Syrian Intangible Cultural Heritage elements in 2017. The former inventory is updated every one to three years by the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, and the latter every two years by the Ministry of Culture of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syria Trust for Development.
- Further considers that the information included in the file is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity are satisfied:
R.1: The nomination file includes two different descriptions from each of the two States, which makes it difficult to evaluate Crafting and playing the Oud as one element of intangible cultural heritage. The file lacks information on the knowledge and techniques associated with the making and interpretation of the Oud, as a shared practice of intangible cultural heritage in both States Parties concerned. Moreover, the descriptions concentrate on the musical instrument itself, lacking information about the social and cultural functions of the element.
R.4: The file does not sufficiently demonstrate how the communities concerned participated in the preparation of the nomination. There is also an imbalance between the information provided by the two countries: while in the Syrian Arab Republic a notable process was accomplished with the communities, with many letters of consent being included from the practitioners, members of the community, school representatives and many others, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is unclear how the members of the organizations concerned – who are also limited in number – participated in the nomination process.
Decides to refer the nomination of Crafting and playing the Oud to the submitting States Parties and invites them to resubmit the revised nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle;
Reminds the States Parties of the importance of ensuring the most active possible participation of the communities concerned throughout the process of formulating the safeguarding measures;
Encourages the States Parties, when submitting nomination files in the future, to avoid standardized letters of consent.