Traditional violin craftsmanship in Cremona
Inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Traditional violin craftsmanship in Cremona
Cremonese violin craftsmanship is highly renowned for its traditional process of fashioning and restoring violins, violas, cellos and contrabasses. Violin-makers attend a specialized school, based on a close teacher-pupil relationship, before being apprenticed in a local workshop, where they continue to master and perfect their techniques – a never-ending process. Each violin-maker constructs from three to six instruments per year, shaping and assembling more than 70 pieces of wood around an inner mould by hand, according to the different acoustic response of each piece. No two violins are alike. Every part of the instrument is made with a specific wood, carefully selected and naturally well seasoned. No semi-industrial or industrial materials are used. Craftsmanship requires a high level of creativity: the craftsperson has to adapt general rules and personal knowledge to every instrument. Cremonese violin-makers are deeply convinced that sharing their knowledge is fundamental to the growth of their craftsmanship, and dialogue with musicians is deemed essential so as to understand their needs. Traditional violin-making is promoted by two violin-makers’ associations, ‘Consorzio Liutai Antonio Stradivari’ and ‘Associazione Liutaria Italiana’, and is considered fundamental to the identity of Cremona, its citizens, and plays a fundamental role in its social and cultural practices, rituals and events.
Decision 7.COM 11.18
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 craftsmanship for violin-making has been transmitted from generation to generation, both through apprenticeship and through formal education, playing an important role in the everyday life of people in Cremona and giving them a sense of identity.
- R.2: Given the high degree of skills and manual inventiveness of the internationally known traditional violin craftsmanship, its inscription on the Representative List could testify to human creativity, while contributing to intercultural dialogue and to the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage as a whole.
- R.3: Past and current efforts to safeguard the craftsmanship enjoy the participation and support of diverse stakeholders including the municipality and national government, local institutions as well as violin-makers’ workshops and associations.
- R.4: Violin-makers and their associations, together with local institutions and representatives of the town of Cremona, participated in the nomination process and gave their free, prior and informed consent.
- R.5: The element is included in the national inventory of cultural heritage maintained by the Ministry of Cultural Properties and Activities; the Archive of Ethnography and Social History of Lombardy Region also included the element in its Register of Intangible Heritage of Lombardy Region.
Inscribes traditional violin craftsmanship in Cremona on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
© 2011 by Ministry of Culture and Tourism
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