05.12.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

Four new items inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Belkaïd, 2011Before entering the room where the festivities will take place, the stepmother of the bride makes the newly weds take a bite of a date to usher in a married life that is gentle and sweet - Algeria

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage meeting at UNESCO Headquarters until 7 December today inscribed elements from Algeria, Armenia, Austria and Azerbaijan on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The following elements have been inscribed so far:

Rites and craftsmanship associated with the wedding costume tradition of Tlemcen, Algeria—During the wedding ritual of Tlemcen in northwestern Algeria, the bride is dressed in a traditionally woven golden silk dress, surrounded by her friends and married female relations; symbolic henna designs are applied to her hands, and an older woman helps her don a caftan of embroidered velvet, jewelry and a conical hat. Girls in Tlemcen are initiated into the costume tradition at an early age, while the craftsmanship involved in making the precious wedding costume is transmitted from generation to generation.

Performance of the Armenian epic of 'Daredevils of Sassoun' or 'David of Sassoun', Armenia—The traditional Armenia epic Daredevils of Sassoun recounts the story of David of Sassoun, a defiant youth who defended his homeland in an unequal duel against the evil. This heroic epic is recounted and sung in sections in a lyrical voice with rhythmic enunciation. It is performed, usually sitting, to the musical accompaniment of a duduk during weddings, birthdays, christenings and major national cultural events. There are 160 variants and performances may last up to two hours.

Schemenlaufen, the carnival of Imst, Austria—The city of Imst celebrates its Fasnacht carnival every four years on the Sunday before the Christian season of Lent. The central festivity is Schemenlaufen, a procession of masked, costumed dancers. The main characters wear bells and perform a special musical dance of jumps and bows. Masked chimney sweeps climb houses, witches shout at the audience accompanied by a band playing dissonant melodies, and bears demonstrate their strength. The carnival unites the whole population of Imst in a common goal: organizing the Fasnacht in accordance with long-standing tradition.

Craftsmanship and performance art of the Tar, a long-necked string musical instrument, Azerbaijan—The Tar is a long-necked plucked lute crafted and performed throughout Azerbaijan. It features in numerous traditional musical styles and is played at weddings and socials gatherings, festive events and concerts. The hollow body, made of mulberry wood, is shaped in the form of a figure eight and is held horizontally, while the eleven metal strings are plucked with a plectrum. Craftspeople pass on their skills to apprentices, and players transmit their skills by word of mouth and demonstration to young people within their community.


The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity covers cultural expressions which are testimony to the diversity of intangible heritage.  It is designed to help raise awareness of the importance of this heritage.  More inscriptions are scheduled to take place later in the day.



Journalists wishing to cover the Committee meeting should request accreditation.

UNESCO Press Service: Lucía Iglesias Kuntz, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 02

Broadcast media: Carole Darmouni, +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 38.

Press Resources

Photo gallery

More information about the seventh session

Follow us on Tweeter for live inscriptions: Twitter.com/unesco, hashtag #IntangibleHeritage

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