Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Nanyin is a musical performing art central to the culture of the people of Minnan in southern Fujian Province along China’s south-eastern coast, and to Minnan populations overseas. The slow, simple and elegant melodies are performed on distinctive instruments such as a bamboo flute called the dongxiao and a crooked-neck lute played horizontally called the pipa, as well as more common wind, string and percussion instruments. Of nanyin’s three components, the first is purely instrumental, the second includes voice, and the third consists of ballads accompanied by the ensemble and sung in Quanzhou dialect, either by a sole singer who also plays clappers or by a group of four who perform in turn. The rich repertoire of songs and scores preserves ancient folk music and poems and has influenced opera, puppet theatre and other performing art traditions. Nanyin is deeply rooted in the social life of the Minnan region. It is performed during spring and autumn ceremonies to worship Meng Chang, the god of music, at weddings and funerals, and during joyful festivities in courtyards, markets and the streets. It is the sound of the motherland for Minnan people in China and throughout South-East Asia.
Decision 4.COM 13.20
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: Nanyin, a performing art integrating singing and instrumental music, has been passed down from generation to generation and constantly recreated by local people, reflecting their perceptions about life and nature and symbolizing their identity and continuity;
- R.2: Inscription of the element on the Representative List would contribute to raising awareness about the value of intangible cultural heritage among the practitioners and communities concerned, and promote respect for cultural diversity, human creativity and intercultural dialogue;
- R.3: The nomination describes various practical safeguarding measures and demonstrates the commitment of the State and the communities concerned;
- R.4: The nomination file was prepared by relevant governmental and non-governmental institutions and submitted with consent letters of communities concerned;
- R.5: The element is inscribed on the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage administered by the Department of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture.
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