Aubusson tapestry

Inscribed in 2009 (4.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Country(ies): France



Aubusson tapestry

A centuries-old tradition, the craft of Aubusson tapestry consists of weaving an image using processes practised in Aubusson and a number of other localities in the Creuse region of France. This craft produces mainly large decorative wall hangings but also rugs and pieces of furniture. Aubusson tapestry can be based on an image in any artistic style, prepared by a paper ‘cartoon’ (template) designer. Weaving is done manually by a lissier, or weaver, on a loom positioned horizontally, working on the reverse side of the tapestry, and using yarns that are hand-dyed in house. This process is time-consuming and expensive. The Aubusson tapestries are a gold standard throughout the world, to the extent that Aubusson has become a common noun in some languages. The production of tapestries in Aubusson and Felletin provides enough work for three small businesses and ten or so freelance artisan weavers, thus creating a significant volume of related work (wool production and spinning, marketing, by-products, museum, exhibitions and tourism). To stabilize the level of activity and avoid breaking the line of transmission, the interest of the young must be stimulated and this heritage promoted.


Decision 4.COM 13.39

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: Aubusson tapestry provides its practitioners with a sense of identity and continuity and constitutes intangible cultural heritage as defined in the Convention;
  • R.2: Inscription of the element would contribute to the visibility of intangible cultural heritage and, through the shared traditions of tapestry around the world, to dialogue among cultures;
  • R.3: Important safeguarding measures are currently implemented and others proposed to ensure the long-term safeguarding of the element;
  • R.4: The nomination describes how the community concerned participated in the nomination process and demonstrates its free, prior and informed consent;
  • R.5: The element is included in national inventories.



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