Traditional manufacturing of children’s wooden toys in Hrvatsko Zagorje
Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Traditional manufacturing of children’s wooden toys in Hrvatsko Zagorje
Villagers along the pilgrimage route to the Marian shrine of Our Lady of the Snow in Marija Bistrica in Hrvatsko Zagorje in northern Croatia developed a technique for traditional manufacturing of children’s wooden toys that has now been handed down for generations. The men in a family take soft willow, lime, beech and maple wood from the region and dry, hew, cut and carve it using traditional tools; the women then apply ecologically-friendly paint in improvisational floral or geometric patterns, painting ‘from imagination’. The whistles, horses, cars, tiny furniture, spinning dancers, jumping horses and flapping birds produced today are almost identical to those made more than a century ago – though no two toys are precisely the same, thanks to the handcrafted production process. Popular among both locals and tourists, these toys are sold in parish fairs, markets and specialty shops around the world. They have also evolved with the times and, in addition to the traditional shapes such as horses and carts, new ones representing cars, trucks, airplanes and trains have appeared, reflecting the world surrounding modern-day children. Tiny toy instruments, carefully tuned as they are created, still serve as important components in the musical education of rural children.
Decision 4.COM 13.35
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: Traditional manufacturing of children’s wooden toys in Hrvatsko Zagorje is transmitted from generation to generation and provides the community with a sense of identity, while continuing to have a specific social function in people’s lives;
- R.2: Inscription of the element on the Representative List would contribute to the visibility of intangible cultural heritage worldwide while at the same time promoting the role of handicrafts in the education and emotional development of children;
- R.3: Elaborate safeguarding measures currently sustaining the element are presented, and well defined future measures are proposed, specifying responsibilities and costs and focusing on promotion and education;
- R.4: The nomination was prepared with the support and participation of practitioners and their organizations, and their free, prior and informed consent is demonstrated;
- R.5: The element is inscribed in the Register of Cultural Goods of the Republic of Croatia maintained by the Ministry of Culture.
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