29.01.2013 - UNESCO Office in Moscow

"Craftsmanship and performance art of the Tar, a long-necked string musical instrument" from Azerbaijan inscribed on UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

2010 by M.Rahimov/ Ministry of Culture and Tourism

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage conducted its 7th session on 3-7 December, 2012 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and added Azerbaijan “Craftsmanship and performance art of the Tar a long-necked string musical instrument” to the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


The Tar is a long-necked plucked lute, traditionally crafted and performed in communities throughout Azerbaijan. Considered by many to be the country’s leading musical instrument, it features alone or with other instruments in numerous traditional musical styles. Tar makers transmit their skills to apprentices, often within the family. Tar performance has an essential place in weddings and different social gatherings, festive events and public concerts. Players transmit their skills to young people within their community by word of mouth and demonstration, and at educational musical institutions. Craftsmanship and performance of the tar and the skills related to this tradition play a significant role in shaping the cultural identity of Azerbaijanis.

The Tar was inscribed on UNESCO Intangible Heritage List and became a 5th element of intangible cultural heritage in Azerbaijan after Traditional art of Azerbaijani carpet weaving (2010), Art of Azerbaijani Ashiq (2009), Novruz, Nowrouz, Nooruz, Navruz, Nauroz, Nevruz (Azerbaijan – India – Iran (Islamic Republic of) – Kyrgyzstan – Pakistan – Turkey – Uzbekistan) (2009), Azerbaijani Mugham (2008).

The Committee meets annually to evaluate nominations proposed by States Parties on inscription of elements of intangible heritage on the Convention’s Lists. There are two lists of the Convention of 2003, the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, which is aimed at safeguarding ICH elements whose viability is threatened, the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity which is intended to illustrate the diversity of the ICH of humanity across all its domains and across all communities and groups and the Register of best safeguarding practices where the programmes, projects and activities that best reflect the principles and objectives of the Convention are presented.

According to the decision of the 7th session of the Committee, the city of Baku, Azerbaijan, will host the next session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in December 2013, the 10th anniversary of the Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 2003.

More information: http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/RL/00671

Lists of elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage  




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