Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 12.COM 11.B.35

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Viet Nam has nominated the art of Bài Chòi in Central Viet Nam (No. 01222) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The art of Bài Chòi in Central Viet Nam is a diverse art combining music, poetry, acting, painting and literature. It takes two main forms: ‘Bài Chòi games’ and ‘Bài Chòi performance’. Bài Chòi games involve a card game played in bamboo huts during the Lunar New Year. In Bai Choi performances, male and female Hieu artists perform on a rattan mat, either moving from place to place or in private occasions for families. The bearers and practitioners of the art of Bài Chòi are Hieu artists, solo Bài Chòi performers, card-making folk artists and hut-making folk artists. The art of Bài Chòi is an important form of culture and recreation within village communities. Performers and their families play a major role in safeguarding the practice by teaching song repertoires, singing skills, performance techniques and card-making methods to younger generations. Together with communities, these performers have set up nearly 90 Bài Chòi teams, groups and clubs to practise and transmit the art form, which attracts wide community participation. Most performers of the art learn their skills within the family and the skills are mainly transmitted orally, but artists specializing in Bài Chòi also transmit knowledge and skills in clubs, schools and associations.

  1. Decides 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:   The art of Bài Chòi is an important cultural practice within the village communities, providing entertainment as well as a context for socializing and enjoying the arts. Bài Chòi stories include lessons on morality, compassion, as well as love for the village, and for the communities concerned, the element provides an aesthetic platform to express their feelings, knowledge and life experiences. The distinctive roles of the bearers are indicated. As a community element, the transmission of the practice occurs mostly within the family, and to some degree in clubs and schools. The element is gender inclusive and promotes mutual respect among communities.

R.2:   The inscription of the art of Bài Chòi would encourage dialogue among communities, groups and individuals. It would also create opportunities for exchange and the sharing of experience between performers, thereby enriching knowledge and skills related to the practice of the art form. The inscription may also strengthen the cohesion between individual performers, groups and clubs associated with the practice and with other cultural traditions through activities and festivals. Moreover, it would raise awareness of the diversity of intangible cultural heritage, as the element combines multiple domains of cultural expressions.

R.3:   The file provides a clear, sufficiently detailed description of the past and current efforts to safeguard the element and ensure its viability by communities, groups and clubs, with the support of the government. Such efforts include the organization of Bài Chòi festivals and performances and teaching the related song repertories, singing skills, performance techniques, hut- and card-making methods and playing techniques. Through the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the local authorities, the State Party will provide financial, legal and human resources to support the implementation of the measures, in cooperation with members of the community and artists. Businesses and banks contributed funds for the workshops and festivals. Institutional support is focused on the practice and transmission of the element, as well as cataloguing, documentation and revitalization measures since it is still threatened, mainly due to the difficulties in its transmission. Incentive policies for artists have been introduced and a formal education curriculum has been designed in order to attract younger generations. The local and national media are committed to raising awareness about the value of the element, and most of the practitioners volunteer to partake in its dissemination.

R.4:   The community actively contributed ideas for cataloguing the element, filled in inventory forms and participated in all stages of the preparation of the nomination file. Individuals and representatives of Bài Chòi groups and clubs signed to demonstrate their free, prior, informed consent to the nomination, which is also expressed in the audio and video recordings of interviews conducted in regions that practice Bài Chòi. The Department of Cultural Heritage of Vietnam and the Vietnamese Institute of Musicology were entrusted with the consultation process through national and international meetings and conferences held in 2014 and 2015. There are no customary practices that govern or restrict access to the element.

R.5:   The element was included on the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam in 2013-2014. The inventory is held in the intangible cultural heritage management information system archive of the Department of Cultural Heritage of Viet Nam. The Departments of Culture, Sports and Tourism in the nine provinces are responsible for cooperating with communities to update information about the element every year. The Vietnamese Institute for Musicology manages the database on the art of Bài Chòi and updates it every year.

  1. Inscribes the art of Bài Chòi in Central Viet Nam on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.