Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 17.COM 7.B.37

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Türkiye, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have nominated Sericulture and traditional production of silk for weaving (No. 01890) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

In sericulture and the traditional production of silk for weaving, farmers care for the silkworms through their entire lifecycle, growing the mulberry trees that provide leaves upon which the worms feed and produce silkworm eggs. The fibres are reeled from the cocoons, spun into silk threads, cleaned and dyed. The threads are then used to create various types of craft products, including fabrics, carpets, rugs and curtains. Silk products are highly valued by all social and cultural classes, and people use them for special occasions such as weddings, funerals and family gatherings. Deeply rooted in the traditions of the Great Silk Road, the practice is an expression of cultural identity and centuries-old traditions. It is also viewed as a symbol of social cohesion, as the silk trade contributed to the exchange of culture and science within and across the countries concerned.

  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:   Sericulture and traditional production of silk for weaving involves a series of practices that include traditional knowledge, practices, skills and crafts of the communities concerned related to growing mulberry trees, breeding silkworms and producing silk threads for weaving and other purposes. The main bearers are sericulture farmers and craftspeople involved in silk weaving. Museums, NGOs, the private sector, researchers and public audiences are involved in safeguarding the element. The knowledge and skills are transmitted through master-apprentice relations and between family members. Institutions, universities and NGOs ensure the formal transmission of the element by organizing courses, workshops and seminars and implementing other safeguarding measures, including documentation, promotion and research. The file describes the various social functions and cultural meanings of the element, such as ensuring social cohesion, given the use of silk by all social and cultural classes of people, and explains that silk production is part of cultural identity and represents interaction with nature. The element is also associated with legends, songs and proverbs, among others.

R.2:   At the local level, inscription will serve to popularize the element among local communities and encourage local administrations and municipalities to develop strategies and frameworks for sustaining the element. At the national level, inscription will contribute to the safeguarding of other types of similar intangible cultural heritage and raise awareness about the importance of intangible cultural heritage. At the international level, inscription of the element, which is linked to the Silk Road culture, will encourage researchers from the submitting States to carry out joint research projects on silk culture. It will also encourage more communication between stakeholders from the submitting States and greater dialogue among the communities, groups and individuals concerned, motivating them to organize joint activities to share their traditional knowledge and experiences.

R.5:   The element was included on the inventories of the submitting States between 2014 to 2021. The details of the organizations involved in maintaining the respective inventories and the frequencies of updating of the inventories are provided in the file. The inventories are updated with the involvement of communities, NGOs, experts, craftsmen and other stakeholders.

  1. Further considers that, from the information included in the file and the information provided by the submitting States Parties through the dialogue process, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.3:   The file explains the past and current safeguarding efforts by the communities of each submitting State. These include efforts to provide training, documentation efforts, the establishment of cooperative unions, etc. The States Parties' efforts include the provision of financial incentives, tax benefits, documentation efforts and other forms of support. Safeguarding measures were proposed by each submitting State to 1) support the continued practice, transmission and viability of the element; 2) enhance the visibility and awareness of the element; 3) international cooperation; and 4) academic and documentation measures. The file and the dialogue process explained how each of the submitting States engaged their respective communities in the planning and implementation of the proposed safeguarding measures.

R.4:   The communities in each State participated in the multinational nomination process in cooperation with the local State authorities. Each submitting State involved their respective practitioners, bearers, community members and NGOs, through visits, meetings, online meetings or working groups. Letters of consent were provided in the form of written letters, from associations, bearers, companies, local communities, and Governmental Institutions. The responses to the dialogue process explained how the nomination was prepared jointly among the submitting States, such as the meetings and discussions among the submitting States, including the online meetings that involved the participation of the bearers, practitioners and related NGOs. The dialogue responses also explain that the communities were involved in providing photos, videos, letters of consent, etc. In addition, the responses to the dialogue process clarified how the communities in each submitting State were informed about the multinational nomination.

  1. Decides to inscribe Sericulture and traditional production of silk for weaving on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Encourages the States Parties, when submitting future multinational nomination files, to ensure that the communities concerned have full understanding of the multinational nature of the nomination, and to provide evidence of the communities' consent to the multinational nomination;
  3. Further encourages the States Parties, when submitting future nomination files, to provide details of proposed safeguarding measures and elaborations on the role of communities in planning and implementing the proposed measures.