- Takes note that Serbia has nominated Zlakusa pottery making, hand-wheel pottery making in the village of Zlakusa (no. 01466) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
Zlakusa pottery making, hand-wheel pottery making in the village of Zlakusa relates to the knowledge and skills involved in making unglazed vessels for thermic food processing. Used in households and restaurants across Serbia, Zlakusa pottery is made of clay and calcite and the wheel is run exclusively by hand. The process takes seven to ten days, and includes the preparation of clay paste, shaping, decoration, finishing, drying and baking. The finished vessels are decorated with geometrical ornaments made with wooden or metal tools, and handles are added to some vessels. Nowadays, traditional shapes, pots, bread-making and meat-frying pans and small pans for the kitchen oven have been adjusted to the modern way of preparing and serving food. The related knowledge and skills are mainly transmitted through direct participation and work alongside experienced craftspeople within the community. Demonstrations at the Zlakusa Festival and classes held at the Arts School in Užice provide another key mode of transmission. Zlakusa pottery is often presented at fairs and festivals throughout Serbia and the vessels are widely used during important family and community events. It is claimed that some dishes prepared in Zlakusa earthenware on an open fire have a unique taste. Moreover, the pottery is closely associated with the village of Zlakusa and its environs due to its close link with the natural environment, which provides the raw material.
- 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: Zlakusa pottery making, hand-wheel pottery making in the village of Zlakusa has been transmitted through the generations in the village of Zlakusa in Serbia. The practice was predominantly male until a few decades ago, but for the past two decades it has evolved to include female practitioners as well. The knowledge and skills relating to the manufacture of pottery are still mainly transmitted by direct participation and work alongside experienced craftsmen within the community. The functions of the element are mainly linked to local identity, social events and rituals and food-related practices, and it also serves as a source of livelihood for the families involved. The element contributes to the preservation of the environment and to raising awareness of the importance of environmental safeguarding in the interests of sustainable development.
R.2: The inscription of Zlakusa pottery on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity would raise awareness of the importance of safeguarding the knowledge and skills of this craft as a practice of living heritage. Thanks to the characteristics of the element, bearers of the tradition are able to enter into dialogue with different types of users in relation to nutritionist, gastronomic and tourist needs. Pottery making is an individual creative act that enables craftspersons to make their own creative contributions within the inherited shapes and manufacturing and decorating techniques. Among the communities, the development of different techniques with a view to safeguarding the existing variations is helping to promote cultural diversity.
R.3: The safeguarding measures seem to be pertinent and, in many cases, the continuation of past and current measures. To prevent any negative effects resulting from the inscription, the Potters Association has established a close cooperation with institutions responsible for the safeguarding of cultural heritage, such as the Centre for the Intangible Cultural Heritage at the Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade and Open Air Museum ‘Staro selo’ in Sirogojno. The local authorities in Užice are also involved in the safeguarding activities. The State Party supports research, educational, cultural and media institutions and non-governmental organizations that safeguard Zlakusa pottery making as an element of living heritage. The local community initiated a dialogue with representatives of professional institutions and the local authorities in order to define the relevant safeguarding measures.
R.4: The State Party has described the participatory approach applied to ensure community and group participation in the nomination process. Various consultations were held to guarantee the inclusiveness and diversity of the participants in the nomination process. Different letters of consent are attached to express the free, prior and informed consent to the nomination of the individuals concerned. These include letters of consent from the Potters Association in Zlakusa as well as from cultural and educational institutions involved in safeguarding the element, local associations and organizations. They also include letters of support from the local government, cultural institutions and organizations, as well as letters of support from individuals, in which they express their readiness to preserve and transmit Zlakusa pottery making.
R.5: The element was included in the National Register of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Serbia in 2012. In cooperation with the local communities, the Centre for the Intangible Cultural Heritage updates the information and documentation about the elements inscribed in the National Register. New elements are added to the National Register at least once a year based on the decisions made by the National Committee for the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Decides to inscribe Zlakusa pottery making, hand-wheel pottery making in the village of Zlakusa on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
Invites the State Party to ensure that safeguarding measures adequately address the potential negative impact of the over-commercialization of the element, keeping in mind that all safeguarding measures should be aimed at enhancing the viability of the element;
Encourages the State Party to place a greater focus on the coordination of the individual safeguarding measures;
Reminds the State Party that updating is an important part of the inventorying process and further invites it to include detailed information in its next periodic report on the implementation of the Convention at the national level concerning the periodicity of updating of the National Register of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Serbia, in accordance with Article 12.1 of the Convention.