Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, female traditional interior wall decoration in Asir, Saudi Arabia


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Inscribed in 2017 (12.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© 2016 by Ahma Alsheme, Saudi Arabia

Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, a traditionally female interior wall decoration, is an ancient art form considered as a key element of the identity of the region of Asir. It is a spontaneous art technique carried out largely by women today in the community that involves decorating the interior walls of their houses, specifically rooms for visiting guests. Women invite female relatives of various age groups to help them in their homes, thereby transmitting this knowledge from generation to generation. The base is usually white gypsum and the patterns consist of icons of geometric shapes and symbols. In the past, only women practised the element, but nowadays male and female artists, designers, interior designers and architects practise it, including on other surfaces. The art enhances social bonding and solidarity among the community and has a therapeutic effect on its practitioners. The application of the art in most households ensures its viability within the community, and local individuals have created galleries within their houses in order to safeguard it. Observation and practice are the key methods for transmitting the practice from one generation to the next, and societies, NGOs and individuals all play a key role in safeguarding, promoting and transmitting the related knowledge and skills.