Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 10.33

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Oman and the United Arab Emirates have nominated Al-Ayyala, a traditional performing art of the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates (No. 01012) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Al-Ayyala is a popular and expressive cultural performance practised in north-western Oman and throughout the United Arab Emirates. Al-Ayyala involves chanted poetry, drum music and dance, and simulates a battle scene. Two rows of about twenty men face each other, carrying thin bamboo sticks to signify spears or swords. Between the rows musicians play large and small drums, tambourines and brass cymbals. The rows of men move their heads and sticks synchronously with the drum rhythm and chant poetic lyrics, while other performers move around the rows holding swords or guns, which they occasionally hurl to the sky and catch. In the United Arab Emirates, girls wearing traditional dresses stand at the front, tossing their long hair from side to side. The melody has seven tones in an irregular repeated pattern, and the chanted poetry varies according to the occasion. Al-Ayyala is performed during weddings and other festive occasions in both the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates. Performers come from diverse backgrounds and age groups. The lead performer is usually an inherited role and is responsible for training others performers. Al-Ayyala is inclusive of all ages, genders and social classes.

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

R.1:   Transmitted from one generation to another, Al-Ayyala is composed by dance, sung poetry and drum music and is practised by rural and urban groups; its constitutes a symbol of identity, while strengthening social cohesion and reinforcing cultural continuity;

R.2:   Inscription of the element on the Representative List could contribute to the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage and awareness of its significance not only within the two submitting States, but also in other countries where it or similar forms are practised;

R.3:   Safeguarding measures include research and data collection, education and raising awareness through media, festivals and competitions as well as financial support from institutions involved in intangible cultural heritage;

R.4:   Performance groups and individuals, non-governmental organizations, municipalities, and ministries in both countries participated in the nomination process, and communities provided their free, prior and informed consent;

R.5:   Al-Ayyala musical tradition is included since 2011 in the Oman Heritage Representative List maintained by the Oman Centre for Traditional Music and the National Inventory List managed by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Division of the Ministry of Heritage and Culture; it has also been included since 2009 in the Intangible Cultural Heritage Inventory of the Abu Dhabi Emirate updated by the Intangible Heritage Department of the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.

  1. Inscribes Al-Ayyala, a traditional performing art of the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.