Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 10.36

The Committee

  1. Takes note that the Republic of Korea has nominated Nongak, community band music, dance and rituals in the Republic of Korea (No. 00717) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Nongak is a popular performing art derived from communal rites and rustic entertainments. It has evolved into a representative performing art of the Republic of Korea, combining a percussion ensemble and sometimes wind instruments, parading, dancing, drama and acrobatic feats. Local Nongak performers clad in colourful costumes perform their music and dance during community events with various purposes, such as appeasing gods, chasing evil spirits, praying for a rich harvest in spring then celebrating it during autumn festivals and fund-raising for community projects. There are distinctive regional styles of Nongak, generally divided among five cultural centres. Within each area, differences exist from one village to another in band composition, performing style, rhythm and costumes. Dancing includes choreographic formations and streamer dances while actors wearing masks and peculiar outfits also perform funny skits. Acrobatics include dish spinning and miming antics by child dancers carried on the shoulders of adult performers. The public becomes familiar with Nongak through observation and participation in its performances, while community groups and educational institutions play an important role in teaching and transmitting the different components. Nongak helps to enhance solidarity and cooperation in the community and establishes a sense of shared identity among community members.

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

R.1:   Nongak is a multifunctional and multiform element performed on various festive occasions throughout the year; characterized by vitality and creativity, it has been integrated into contemporary culture and people’s everyday life in line with the evolution and modernization of society, providing its performers and participants with a sense of identity;

R.2:   Its inscription on the Representative List could promote greater visibility of the intangible cultural heritage as a testimony to human creativity and a contribution to cultural diversity; it could also facilitate dialogue between different communities of practitioners at the national and international level;

R.3:   Proposed safeguarding measures are characterized by cooperation between the State and the communities concerned and are oriented towards raising awareness, support in the organization of Nongak performances, documentation, but also the prevention of possible negative consequences of commercialization and touristic exploitation that might be created by its inscription on the Representative List;

R.4:   The nomination was prepared following wide and active involvement of the communities and groups of experts, and the communities’ free, prior and informed consent is demonstrated;

R.5:   A number of regional variations of Nongak have been designated as ‘Important Intangible Cultural Heritage’ by local governments and six representative versions are included in the State Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage maintained by the Cultural Heritage Administration.

  1. Inscribes Nongak, community band music, dance and rituals in the Republic of Korea on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.