Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 12.COM 11.B.6

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Bosnia and Herzegovina has nominated Konjic woodcarving (No. 01288) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Konjic woodcarving is an artistic craft with a long tradition in the Konjic municipality. The woodcarvings – which include furniture, sophisticated interiors and small decorative objects – stand out for their recognizable hand-carved motifs and overall visual identity. The woodcarving is a constitutive part of the local community’s culture, a measure of the beauty and amenity of home interiors, and a tradition that forges a sense of community and belonging. The practice not only plays a very important role at the community level in Konjic, however, but also countrywide and in diaspora communities. It is an economically viable, socially inclusive and ecologically sustainable craft practised by different ethnic and confessional groups, which serves as an instrument of dialogue and cooperation. The craft is widespread among Konjic inhabitants, both as an occupation and as a hobby, and while the main bearers are trained craftspeople who work in woodcarving workshops, bearers who practise the craft at home are equally important. The owners of family-run woodcarving workshops are most responsible for safeguarding the element, training apprentice woodcarvers and popularizing the craft. Knowledge and skills are transmitted primarily through on-the-job training of novices in the practising workshops, as well as through intergenerational transmission within the family.

  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:   Konjic woodcarving serves a social function by reinforcing the cultural identity of the communities concerned, providing them with a sense of continuity and belonging and even serving as a catalyst of social cohesion. It is a powerful symbol of traditional interior design in both public and private spaces. The element also supports the sustainable use of natural resources. The description of the practice of the element and related knowledge is clear and coherent. It is a vivid element practised by men and women alike, with no age restrictions, which is transmitted informally through intergenerational and intragenerational workshops. Woodcarvers have developed a rich repertoire of patterns and motifs that reflect a particular aesthetic taste and local style, conveying a distinctive way of life and a traditional urban dwelling culture.

R.2:   The inscription of the element would contribute to the reinstatement of traditional crafts as a socially inclusive and viable economic sector in the post-industrial world. It would also serve as a testimony that the practice of heritage traditions based on collaboration between different generations, genders, ethnic groups and religions would encourage other communities to safeguard their intangible cultural heritage. The element crosses ethnic, confessional, generational and gender boundaries. It also greatly contributes to fostering dialogue and encourages a sense of shared history and cultural cohesion in a society in need of post-conflict reconciliation.

R.3:   To ensure the viability of the element, representatives of Konjic woodcarvers have begun undertaking various activities such as research, documentation and seminars on the craft, novice training, the introduction of the element into school curricula, the recruitment of professional designers for workshops, the design of tourist brochures and the presentation of ideas pertaining to the 2003 Convention. The Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of the the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton and the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sports provide financial support for Konjic woodcarving-related projects. Konjic woodcarving is also supported by the town municipality. The Law on the Protection of the Cultural and Historical Heritage of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton provides adequate protection measures. The organization of a forum of practitioners is planned, with the objective of monitoring the development of the element after its inscription. There are regional and international cooperative projects supporting the practice and the craftspeople participate by presenting their products at fairs and festivals.

R.4:   The communities, groups and individuals concerned have participated actively in preparing the nomination of the element at all stages, paying attention to the role of gender, in collaboration with various non-governmental organizations, business actors, museums, institutions of higher education, and local, cantonal and federal governments who gave their free, prior and informed consent to the nomination. There are no restrictions concerning access to the element. Highly personalized letters of consent are provided, including from the bearers running family workshops. There is also evidence of support from community representatives of various social and professional statuses.

R.5:   Konjic woodcarving was included in the Preliminary Open List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2012 by the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sports. This ministry has assumed responsibility for the implementation of the 2003 Convention in the Federation, including through the establishment and maintenance of an inventory. A large number of local bearers, inheritors and various stakeholders participated throughout the entire nomination process and that of updating the inventory. The inventory was last updated in 2016.

  1. Inscribes Konjic woodcarving on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Commends the State Party for the improved file following the referral of this nomination in 2015.