Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 14.COM 10.B.40

The Committee,

  1. Takes note that Ukraine has nominated Tradition of Kosiv painted ceramics (No. 01456) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The tradition of Kosiv painted ceramics – which include dishes, ceremonial items, toys and tiles – arose in the 18th century, reaching its golden age in the mid-19th century. The products are made using local grey clay, watered with a white clay of creamy texture; when dried, they are painted using a metal stick scratching technique to form a graphical contour drawing. They are then fired and painted with metal oxides to produce the traditional green and yellow colors, an indispensable feature of the ceramics. Sometimes, masters add a little cobalt, but not so much as to lose the traditional colouring. During the firing, the green dye spreads to create the watercolour effect, usually called ‘tears’. The main feature of Kosiv ceramics is the figurative design of the ornament. The plot motif expresses the history, life, folklore, beliefs and customs of the Hutsuls, and surrounding flora and fauna. The ceramics are used in everyday life and have a practical and artistic value. Masters work in family workshops and small craft workshops and the practice constitutes an identity marker and sign of affiliation with the community. The Department of Art Ceramics of Kosiv College ensures the continuity of generations of masters and bearers and has a special responsibility for sustaining the tradition, preserving the traditional technological cycle (potter’s wheels, clay, tools and pottery kilns).

  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:   The tradition of Kosiv painted ceramics is part of the intangible cultural heritage of the ethnographic area of Hutsulshchyna. It is recognized as an integral part of the local community, which forms part of the sub-ethnos Hutsuls, relating to different aspects of its social and cultural life. Knowledge and skills related to the element are transmitted informally from generation to generation within the family as well as formally through academic education, museum activities and masterclasses organized through local workshops.

R.2:   The inscription of the tradition of Kosiv painted ceramics would increase the interest in ceramic craftsmanship and promote exchanges between bearers of different elements. It would also foster dialogue between the bearers and the community and enhance creative exchanges between the bearers of the element and masters from other regions of Ukraine and around the world.

R.3:   The viability of Kosiv ceramics has been ensured by the State and the communities concerned in many ways. The proposed safeguarding measures continue and strengthen these previous measures through the following key objectives: developing local policies and strategies; encouraging the artists and stressing the importance of preventing unwanted effects of commercialization and of changing the traditional technology; undertaking research and documentation activities; raising awareness about the element; encouraging intercultural dialogue and introducing assessment and analysis activities. These measures will be supported by the State Party and were defined following many discussions with the bearers of the element.

R.4:   Following the initiative of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine together with the Ivano-Frankivsk Regional State Administration and the Department of Culture of Kosiv District State Administration, the community of bearers has been fully involved in the nomination process since 2013, participating in many workshops and meetings, together with experts, scholars, museum workers and representatives of the authorities.

R.5:   The tradition of Kosiv painted ceramics was inscribed on the National list of the elements of intangible cultural heritage of Ukraine in 2012. This list is regularly updated and supplemented, as was done in 2016. The organization responsible for maintaining the National list is the Ukrainian Center of Cultural Studies of the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine.

3. Decides to inscribe Tradition of Kosiv painted ceramics on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.