Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 10.4

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Azerbaijan has nominated Traditional art and symbolism of Kelaghayi, making and wearing women’s silk headscarves (No. 00669) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Rooted in traditions found along the Great Silk Road, the art of Kelaghayi is concentrated in two locations in the Republic of Azerbaijan: the city of Sheki and the Basgal settlement. Kelaghayi making consists of several stages: fabric weaving, dyeing and woodblock decoration. Weavers choose thin silk threads from sericulture producers and weave fabrics on looms and then boil and dry them to make square-shaped cloths. Using vegetable substances, masters then dye the cloths various colours and decorate them with patterns using wooden stamps, covered with solutions made from rosin, paraffin and solid oil. The colours of headscarves have symbolic meanings and are often tied to specific social occasions, such as weddings, mourning ceremonies, daily activities and celebrations. The art of Kelaghayi making is transmitted through non-formal apprenticeship only, and is primarily a family occupation. Each family has its own stylistic features and patterns of decoration. The traditional practice of making and wearing headscarves is an expression of cultural identity and religious traditions and a symbol of social cohesion, reinforcing the role of women and strengthening the cultural unity of Azerbaijani society.

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

R.1:   Traditional art and symbolism of Kelaghayi are an important component of cultural identity for the communities concerned, involving different groups of craftspeople thereby strengthening social cohesion;

R.2:   Inscription of the element on the Representative List could contribute to enhancing visibility of the intangible cultural heritage and promoting respect for human creativity, particularly as an example of intricate craftsmanship;

R.3:   Building on past activities, proposed safeguarding measures include training, education, raising awareness, research and procurement of raw materials; the nomination demonstrates the commitment of the community and national authorities to ensuring the viability of the tradition as part of sustainable development;

R.4:   The nomination clearly demonstrates the close involvement, in each step of its preparation, by the communities concerned, who provided their free, prior and informed consent;

R.5:   With active participation of the communities concerned, the element was included in 2010 in the Azerbaijani Register of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, established by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism; the inventory is updated regularly by the Documentation and Inventory Board.

  1. Inscribes Traditional art and symbolism of Kelaghayi, making and wearing women’s silk headscarveson the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.