Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 10.20

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the Islamic Republic of Iran has nominated Bārān Khāhi, rain-seeking rituals of Kaburān village, Tafresh (No. 00586) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Bārān Khāhi is enacted by shepherds in Kaburān village, Tafresh. Performed originally to attract rains, the rituals, also known as ‘Kuse-gardi’, now have diverse functions, including welcoming the New Year and spring and seeking blessings for the village. The tradition involves three to five male performers and two musicians, robed in costumes and masks, who wend their way through the village, dancing and singing melodies that include requests for blessings and abundance. The lead shepherd, known as Kuse, pretends to be a billy-goat or ram, wearing two horns, bells, a shepherd’s felt and a mask made of animal skin. Kuse’s wife wears ordinary women’s dress and other players wear similar clothing to Kuse. As they proceed through the village the players receive foodstuffs, agricultural products and money. Kuse-gardi is usually performed in midwinter, traditionally the period of drought, and helps the shepherds to secure their living. The shepherds of Kaburān are the main practitioners and bearers of the tradition, and ensure its transmission through the direct participation of children, many of whom are trained in the knowledge and skills by their mothers. The village regards Kuse-gardi as an integral part of its culture and a fundamental part of its identity.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List:

R.1:   Handed down informally from generation to generation, Bārān Khāhi rain-seeking rituals serve as a marker of identity for the village and entire region and strengthen cultural continuity for the community as a whole;

R.2:   Inscription of the element on the Representative List could contribute to raising awareness and to encouraging intercultural dialogue through attention to rain-seeking practices in other arid regions and to other ritual practices bringing human beings closer to nature.

  1. Further decides that the information included in the file is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List are satisfied:

R.3:   Several safeguarding measures focus on the promotion of Bārān Khāhi as a decontextualized performance or tourist attraction and additional information is required to demonstrate the suitability and adequacy of such measures for enhancing the viability of the element as a ritual practice for its community;

R.4:   More information is necessary to determine whether the element has been nominated following the widest possible participation of the community concerned;

R.5:   Information is required to clarify the relation between the evidence of the element’s inclusion in the National Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in February 2014 and the evidence of its inclusion in 2010, when the nomination was initially submitted.

  1. Decides to refer the nomination of Bārān Khāhi, rain-seeking rituals of Kaburān village, Tafresh to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle.