Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 9.COM 10.45

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Uzbekistan has nominated Askiya, the art of wit (No. 00971) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Askiya is a genre of Uzbek verbal folk art that takes the form of a dialogue between two or more participants, who eloquently debate and exchange witticisms around a particular theme. Bearers and practitioners, mainly men, must master the peculiarities of Uzbek language, and be able to improvise and reason quickly and skilfully, using humour and banter to great effect. The dialogues, although humorous, play an invaluable role in raising awareness of social tendencies and events, drawing attention to important issues through acute observation of daily life. Askiya is often performed in folk celebrations, festivities, family-related rituals and get-togethers organized in cities and villages across Uzbekistan. At present, more than thirty forms of Askiya are known, some professional and some amateur, each with its own distinctive features. Askiya-related knowledge and skills are predominantly transmitted verbally among individuals, groups and communities, based on traditional master-apprentice teaching methods. Askiya promotes humour, ensures simplicity of communication among people, and unites representatives of different communities, irrespective of age and background, around a common event. It also has a strong educational component, using humour to teach people to be more attentive, and to analyse flaws and shortcomings in daily life, thereby nurturing cultural and social development.

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

R.1:   Based on certain rules of respect and involving a diversity of participants, Askiya is passed down from generation to generation in the Ferghana Valley and Tashkent region as a form of social commentary and community identity-building;

R.2:   Inscription of the element on the Representative List could raise awareness of the significance of intangible cultural heritage while promoting dialogue among communities, testifying to human creativity and encouraging mutual respect and good social relations;

R.3:   A wide range of safeguarding measures have been proposed by the submitting State to protect and promote the element, including a legislative framework, a national programme for safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage as well as awareness-raising activities and research;

R.4:   The submitting State demonstrates the active participation of groups of performers, researchers, institutions, funds and governmental organizations in the nomination process at all stages;

R.5:   Under the category of Performance Arts, the element was included in 2013 on the National Intangible Cultural Heritage List that is approved by the Scientific-Methodological Centre for Folk Art under the Ministry of Culture and Sports of Uzbekistan.

  1. Inscribes Askiya, the art of wit on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.