http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/RL/00610

Craftsmanship of Horezu ceramics

Inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Country(ies): Romania

Identification

Description

Craftsmanship of Horezu ceramics

Horezu ceramics are a unique traditional craft. Handmade in the northern part of Vâlcea County, Romania, they reflect generations of knowledge and craftsmanship. Men and women generally divide the fabrication processes. Men select and extract the earth, which is then cleaned, cut, watered, kneaded, trampled and mixed – transforming it into a clay body from which the potters of Horezu produce a red pottery. The potters then shape each object with a special finger technique requiring concentration, strength and agility. Each person has his own method of shaping, but everyone respects the sequence of operations. The women decorate the objects using specific techniques and tools to draw traditional motifs. Their skill in combining decoration and colour defines the personality and uniqueness of these ceramics. The colours are vivid shades of dark brown, red, green, blue and ‘Horezu ivory’. The object is then fired. The potters use traditional tools: a mixer for cleaning the earth, a potter’s wheel and comb for shaping, a hollowed-out bull’s horn and a fine wire-tipped stick for decoration, and a wood-burning stove for firing. The craft is transmitted through families, in workshops from master to apprentice, and at fairs and exhibitions. The element gives the community a sense of identity, while maintaining a social function in everyday existence.

Documents

Decision 7.COM 11.28

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 knowledge and skills associated with Horezu ceramic and its transmission techniques distinguish it as a symbolic marker of the identity of the people of Horezu and Olari;
  • R.2: Inscription of the craftsmanship of Horezu ceramics on the Representative List could contribute to dialogue with other potters and to promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity;
  • R.3: Proposed measures aimed at increasing promotion, research and transmission demonstrate the commitments of the various craft associations and local authorities to safeguard this know-how;
  • R.4: The Horezu potters and local authorities participated in the nomination process, and granted their free, prior and informed consent for inscription of the element;
  • R.5: The craftsmanship of Horezu ceramics is included in the intangible cultural heritage inventory of Romania under the authority of the National Commission of Intangible Cultural Heritage; bearers and practitioners provided information during its preparation;

Inscribes craftsmanship of Horezu ceramics on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Slideshow

Video


© Centre National pour la Préservation et Promotion de la Culture Traditionnelle (CNCPCT)/Ministère de la Culture et du Patrimoine National, 2012

These videos (and many more) can also be consulted through the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website