Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 11.COM 10.B.22

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Mexico has nominated Charrería, equestrian tradition in Mexico (No. 01108) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Charrería is a traditional practice that began among livestock herding communities in Mexico in XVI century. It was initially used to help herders managing livestock from different estates to better coexist. Techniques were then passed on to younger generations within families and with the passing of time charrería moved from rural to urban areas and since then it has received great exposure that has allowed it to grow by having access to large populations. Nowadays, purpose-built charrería associations and schools assist in continuing transmission of the tradition, also considered a sport, by training members of the community, including up to competition level. Performance of various categories of charrería enacted in front of an audience (charreadas) give spectators an opportunity to see livestock herding skills, for example roping and reining using wild mares and bulls. Trained herders demonstrate their abilities on foot or horseback while dressed in traditional costume that features a wide-brimmed hat for a charro (male herder) and a colourful shawl for a charra (female herder). The outfits, as well as equipment required for the practice, like saddles and spurs, are designed and produced by local artisans, forming additional components of the traditional practice. Charrería is considered an important aspect of the identity of bearer communities and their cultural heritage. Practitioners also see the tradition as a way of transferring to younger generations important social values, such as respect and equality for people in the community.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria:

R.1:   Charrería is described as an important element of the cultural heritage and collective identity of the Mexican people. The practice of this equestrian tradition also involves different handicrafts (e.g. leatherworks, silver and iron works and textiles). The horse riding skills are demonstrated at competitions and the file describes formal and informal transmission mechanisms, especially through families. The general public, a national association, specialized schools and the media also contribute to this transmission. Creativity is exemplified by innovative artisans. The file makes mention of ‘charro communities’ which, through dialogue and mutual cooperation integrate social networks that promote solidarity. The element is also said to demonstrate the tight bond between cultural practices, nature and sustainable development;

R.2:   The nomination file explains how inscription of the element would provide an opportunity to show the world how an equestrian cultural tradition invigorates the values of equality, equity and solidarity, thus contributing to increasing the visibility of intangible cultural heritage in general and raising awareness of the importance of its safeguarding, not only at the local, but also at the regional and international levels given the presence of charro communities beyond Mexico, which would also enhance dialogue and promote respect for cultural diversity in those territories;

R.3:   The nomination file demonstrates that past initiatives ensured viability and promotion of the element. These include competitions, research and publications, and the establishment of new charrería schools and benefitted from State support (declarations to define the element as part of the intangible cultural heritage and annual meetings on the practice). The safeguarding measures proposed are detailed and include the creation of a Charrería Conservatory and the establishment of Community Training Centers for the transmission of different handicrafts related to the element. Various government institutions and the communities concerned actively participated in the planning of the proposed safeguarding measures and will take part in their implementation;

R.4:   The communities concerned with the element were involved in the nomination process. Representatives of charro associations and artisans signed declarations of free, prior and informed consent to nominate the element, which are appended to the file. The element is expressed through public events, open to all. There are no restrictions;

R.5:   The element was included in the National Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mexico in 2014. The inventory is maintained by the National Council for Culture and Arts. The inventory was drawn up with the active participation of communities, government, academic institutions, and civil society and is being updated.

  1. Inscribes Charrería, equestrian tradition in Mexico on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
Thanks the delegation of Mexico for the clarifications provided to the Committee on the information included in the file concerning criterion R.2.