http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/USL/00693

Ala-kiyiz and Shyrdak, art of Kyrgyz traditional felt carpets

Inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding

Country(ies): Kyrgyzstan

Identification

Description

Ala-kiyiz and Shyrdak, art of Kyrgyz traditional felt carpets

Traditional felt carpets are one of the foremost arts of the Kyrgyz people and an integral part of their cultural heritage. The Kyrgyz traditionally produce two types of felt carpets: Ala-kiyiz and Shyrdaks. Knowledge, skills, diversity, the semantics of ornamentation, and the ceremonies of creating carpets are all important cultural components, providing Kyrgyz people with a sense of identity and continuity. The making of Kyrgyz felt carpets is inseparably linked to the everyday life of nomads, who used felt carpets to warm and decorate their homes. Creation of felt carpets demands unity among the community and fosters the transmission of traditional knowledge – as a rule by older women who are normally concentrated in rural and mountainous areas, to younger women within the family. The Ala-kiyiz and Shyrdak traditional art is in danger of disappearing, however. The number of practitioners is diminishing, with most over forty years of age. The lack of governmental safeguarding, the disinterest of the younger generation, the dominance of inexpensive synthetic carpets, and the poor quality and low availability of raw materials are exacerbating the situation. As a result, Ala-kiyiz carpets have practically disappeared from Kyrgyz homes and Shyrdaks are under serious threat of being lost.

Documents

Decision 7.COM 8.5

The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, as follows:

  • U1: The traditional felt carpets provide Kyrgyz people, and especially the female carpet makers, with a sense of identity and continuity linked to their nomadic lifestyle;
  • U2: Kyrgyz felt carpets face challenges such as a lack of interest in learning the craft among young people, the absence of adequate State policy for safeguarding the craft, the scarcity and decreasing quality of raw materials and the advent of inexpensive, industrial synthetic carpets that threaten the economic viability of the craft;
  • U3: A five-year safeguarding plan involves various activities including legislative and policy measures, improving the availability of raw materials, strengthening transmission and promoting greater awareness, at home and abroad, of the Kyrgyz carpet-making art;
  • U4: The nomination was developed with the participation of carpet-makers who provided their free, prior and informed consent;
  • U5: Kyrgyz felt carpets were included in 2008 in the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, which was updated in 2011 by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism;

Inscribes Ala-kiyiz and Shyrdak, art of Kyrgyz traditional felt carpets on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding;
Takes note of the ambitious safeguarding plan proposed by the submitting State and its strong focus on economic promotion and encourages the State Party to take into account funding sources and their sustainability;
Takes further note that some of the activities such as increasing the availability of raw materials appear to be under-budgeted while other activities appear to be over-budgeted, and that the request does not clearly identify the financial resources;
Regrets that the nomination characterizes practices of other States;
Invites the State Party to facilitate the widest possible participation of the practitioners in the safeguarding measures, in particular for the transmission of know-how and techniques, and to ensure that practitioners are the primary beneficiaries of the safeguarding measures, particularly those aimed at promoting the carpet industry;
Further invites the State Party to develop a sustainable safeguarding plan with more focused activities, a feasible timeline and clearly identified sources of budget;
Invites the State Party to consider paragraphs 116 and 117 of the Operational Directives in the implementation of planned safeguarding measures.

Slideshow

Video


© 2011 by Murat Mambetov/CACSARC-kg

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