Scribing tradition in French timber framing
Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Scribing tradition in French timber framing
The purpose of the scribing tradition is to master in three dimensions the design of a complex wooden building. This traditional expertise runs counter to modern standardization by emphasizing the role of the builder in the construction process and giving a creative impulse to the structures themselves. Scribing is a combination of the graphic processes used in France since the thirteenth century that make it possible to express accurately through the design the actual volumes of a building, its interlocking, and the characteristics of the wooden components. It was taught as a special subject quite distinct from the theory and practice of architecture. Through this process, the carpenter can determine all the components before they are built, however complex they are, and thus be sure that all the assemblies will fit together perfectly when the timber frame is built. Carpenters who are members of trade guilds recognize the scribing tradition as having a symbolic and initiatory meaning that remains a secret. The art plays a crucial role in the value system of the Companions of the Tour de France, for example. Special training in scribing is available in several dozen training centres, guilds and businesses.
Decision 4.COM 13.41
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: The element is passed down among its practitioners, providing them with a sense of identity and continuity;
- R.2: Inscription of the element on the Representative List would contribute to the visibility of intangible cultural heritage at the local, national and international levels and promote respect for cultural diversity and creativity;
- R.3: The proposed measures focus on the vocational training of the youth, which is essential to the safeguarding of the element;
- R.4: The communities and practitioners were involved in the nomination process and the identification of the safeguarding measures, and their free, prior and informed consent is provided;
- R.5: The element is inscribed in the inventory of intangible cultural heritage of France, currently being prepared.
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