Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 14.COM 10.B.38

The Committee,

  1. Takes note that Turkey has nominated Traditional Turkish archery (No. 01367) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Traditional Turkish archery encompasses principles, rituals and social practices, the craftsmanship of traditional equipment, archery disciplines and shooting techniques that have evolved over the centuries. In traditional Turkish archery, there are different types of disciplines practised on foot and horseback. Bearers and practitioners train individually or collectively to improve their skills, carry out individual shootings and take part in competitions and festive events. The craftsmanship of traditional archery equipment is a key component of the element. The equipment is made with raw materials such as trees grown under certain climatic conditions at high altitudes, organic glues, horns, tendons, silk and leather. Craftspeople must therefore have advanced knowledge of nature, including plants, animals and the climate. Archery equipment is generally decorated with calligraphy, ornaments and marquetry. Craftspeople engaged in the craftsmanship of traditional archery equipment also play an important role in safeguarding the element, with the related skills being transmitted from master to apprentice or through self-learning. In recent years, there has been a remarkable increase in the number of female archers and trainees, as well as a significant increase in the number of non-governmental organizations involved in archery in various regions of Turkey. Bearers and practitioners ensure the continued viability of the element by adopting it to fit contemporary conditions.

  1. 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:   Traditional Turkish archery is an important element of the cultural life in Turkey. While serving educational and cultural functions, it also has social and religious meanings. It includes not only the game itself but many other traditions such as craftsmanship or religious beliefs and is practised intensely in many provinces of the country. The practice is considered as part of Turkish historical and cultural identity and strengthens the sense of cultural continuity.

R.2:   The inscription of the traditional Turkish archery would raise awareness of intangible cultural heritage in general and of the importance of safeguarding it among numerous individuals and non-governmental organizations engaged in the sport both nationally and worldwide. Archery is interconnected with several other domains of intangible cultural heritage, the custodians of which would also benefit from better understanding concepts related to intangible cultural heritage. Following the inscription of the element, its practitioners would have more opportunities to meet and exchange their knowledge and experience. The development of new creative projects and designs for the craftsmanship of archery equipment would testify to the resourcefulness and creativity of archery craftspersons.

R.3:   The State Party and communities concerned have undertaken many safeguarding measures that ensure the viability of the element. The proposed ‘Strategic Plan for the Safeguarding of Traditional Turkish Archery’ strengthens these measures. The plan has clearly defined goals and objectives developed with the participation of the many bearers and actors related to the safeguarding of the element. These measures include: strengthening the capacity of the element; raising awareness of the element at the local, national and international levels; increasing the number of scientific studies and publications; contributing to the respect for cultural diversity and the development of dialogue through the element; and ensuring the safeguarding of traditional archery craftsmanship.

R.4:   The State Party has undertaken a lengthy work with the communities since the inclusion of traditional Turkish archery on the Intangible Cultural Heritage National Inventory in 2014. Since then, a large group of non-governmental organizations and bearers have been called upon to participate in the process as a whole, through the definition of the safeguarding plan and the preparation of the nomination file. Many letters have been included that testify to the diverse range of actors and provinces involved in this process.

R.5:   Traditional Turkish archery was included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage National Inventory of Turkey in 2014 and in 2018 many new provinces were added to the process. It is updated every two years and has a clear mechanism to ensure the participation of the communities. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism – General Directorate of Research and Training, the Intangible Cultural Heritage Commission of Experts and the Intangible Cultural Heritage Boards in Provinces are responsible for maintaining and updating the inventory.

  1. Decides to inscribe Traditional Turkish archery on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Congratulates the State Party for submitting an exemplary nomination file and commends it for delivering a video which reflects all the key aspects of the element and allows viewers to understand the element in detail.