Unformatted text preview: UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust for
Intangible Cultural Heritage
The term 'cultural heritage' usually calls to mind
monuments, museums, material culture, works of art,
and so on. However, it should not be forgotten that
'intangible cultural heritage', which may be defined as
the collective creations of a cultural community,
rooted in its traditions, is every bit as much a
fundamental part of the heritage of humankind. The
transmission of intangible cultural heritage, including
oral and gestural traditions, is modified with the
passage of time through a process of collective recreation. Intangible heritage takes such forms as
languages, oral traditions, customs, music, dance,
rituals, festivals, traditional medicine, handicrafts and
traditional building skills. unique forms of local, popular and traditional cultural
UNESCO has accordingly included the intangible
heritage programme, for the safeguarding, revitalization,
promotion and transmission of traditional and popular
culture, among its priority programmes, in order that it
may play a central role in preserving and strengthening
local cultures, as a vital step in perpetuating the
world's cultural diversity, which is a source for
enrichment to all humanity,
Director-General of UNESCO For many cultures, and for minority and indigenous
populations in particular, intangible cultural heritage
is an essential source of identity. Their views of the
world, philosophy, values, ethics, attitudes and ways
of thinking are conveyed through language, oral
traditions and other cultural expressions specific to
There is a growing awareness that intangible
heritage plays an essential role in our cultural and
social activities, often serving to ensure social unity, by
such means as language, while enriching our lives
through the diversity of creative expressions. Today,
however, there is an increasing need to give greater
recognition and support to intangible cultural
heritage worldwide, mainly on account of the
unprecedented impact that globalization is having on
local cultures. While such global developments as the
spread of information technology may offer excellent
opportunities for promoting the cultural heritage,
they can also have an adverse effect, by imposing a
single cultural model, thereby presenting a very real
threat to many © UNESCO 2001
At its twenty-fifth session in 1989, the General Conference
of UNESCO adopted The Recommendation on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore, thus confirming the
important place traditional and popular culture in the heritage of humanity as a whole.
In accordance with the principles found in the Cultural Properties Law promulgated in 1950, Japan is making continuous efforts for the preservation and promotion of 'Intangible Cultural Heritage', originally derived from the Japanese word Mukei-Bunkazai. As a country acutely aware of
the importance and value of traditional and popular culture
in socio-economic development, Japan was the first country
among UNESCO's Member States to have generously lent
its active support to the Organization. As part of this
support, in 1993 the Japanese Government established a
fund within UNESCO called The Japanese Funds-in-Trust
for the Preservation and Promotion of Intangible Cultural
Heritage. This Funds-in-Trust confirms Japan's commitment to supporting the joint efforts of UNESCO and mainly
Asian countries involved in safeguarding and promoting
traditional and popular cultures. The Funds-in-Trust has
also given considerable impetus to the revitalization of
UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage Programme, with
the Japanese Government making regular annual contributions: funds totalled US$2,372,000 at the end of 2000.
With the aid of the UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust, numerous projects have been implemented in several countries in
a number of areas of intangible cultural heritage. OBJECTIVES
The long-term objectives of the Funds-in-Trust are to safeguard, preserve, promote and revitalize priority areas of
intangible cultural heritage. To meet these objectives, specific project criteria have been defined in the
Funds-in-Trust Guidelines endorsed by both Japan and
UNESCO. © UNESCO 2001
2 ACTIVITIES FINANCED BY THE FUND
The Funds-in-Trust finances activities (implemented 1993-2000) focusing on or encompassing one or more of the
• International expertise and assistance for Member States wishing to develop a national plan for safeguarding,
promoting and transmitting intangible cultural heritage;
• Strengthening the involvement of custodians, both local communities and practitioners, in the preservation and
promotion of their intangible heritage;
• Surveys and revitalization of endangered languages,
oral heritage, and traditional handicrafts techniques;
• Organization of training courses and seminars for national officials and community members to support the
transmission of traditional performing arts and knowledge;
• Publication of books and production of documentaries and other materials designed to create awareness, among local,
national and international communities, of the value and diversity of intangible cultural heritage and the need to ensure
its preservation, promotion and transmission;
• Co-operation and networking among beneficiary countries, non-governmental organizations and communities involved
in implementing projects related to the transmission and revitalization of intangible cultural heritage. THE SELECTION OF PROJECTS
Projects may be proposed by both UNESCO and the Japanese authorities on the basis of requests for assistance submitted
by Member States. As with all projects implemented by UNESCO, the Organization seeks the endorsement of the relevant
Specific criteria established in the 1999 Guidelines must be observed in the selection of projects:
• The revitalization of intangible cultural heritage with a view to increasing young people's awareness of its value and
The importance of intangible cultural heritage should be recognized and promoted in terms of:
- Outstanding value and significance in the cultural traditions and history of the community concerned;
- Central role in maintaining traditional social contexts and coherence as living cultural expressions of the
- Urgent need for protection against the threat of degradation and disappearance.
To date, twenty-six projects have been or are currently supported; fourteen have been completed and twelve are in
progress. BENEFICIARY COUNTRIES UP TO 2000
Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lithuania, some Melanesian countries, Mongolia, Myanmar,
Philippines, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam. AREAS INVOLVED
• Performing arts (traditional music and dance, for example);
Oral traditions (epics, storytelling);
Traditional skills (e.g. costume-making, pottery, bamboo products, and lacquerware or other handicrafts). A central aspect of UNESCO's involvement in the above areas is the preparation, implementation and evaluation of these
projects in co-operation with Member States, as well as the provision of international expertise. © UNESCO 2001
3 PRESENTATION OF PROJECTS
INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS' MEETINGS
International Consultation on New Perspectives for UNESCO's Programme: The Intangible Cultural Heritage
(jointly funded by UNESCO and the Japan Funds-in-Trust: $30,000 each).
The purpose of this consultation was to advise the Organization on future directions and the orientation of the
medium-term strategy (1996-2001) and on its Programme for safeguarding and enhancing intangible cultural heritage. Eighty-one participants, including experts, representatives of research institutions and private foundations,
as well as observers from some thirty countries, attended the meeting.
The following new objectives were submitted to UNESCO regarding its action in the field of intangible cultural
• UNESCO's role should be that of a catalyst, coordinator and creator of awareness of the need to safeguard
intangible cultural heritage;
• UNESCO's action and priority: the Organization proposed that:
- short-term priority be given to the performing arts, oral traditions, languages and traditional skills; and
- long-term priority be given to the revitalization of intangible cultural heritage for transmission to future
• Principle of intervention: emphasis was placed on the need to create regional and inter-regional networks of
specialized institutions to co-ordinate actions, promote international collaboration and the exchange of
information and experience;
• Modes of action recommended for UNESCO to ensure the revitalization and transmission of this heritage include
the organization of training sessions for safeguarding and promoting intangible heritage, the publication of oral
traditions in local and contact languages and the official recognition of leading specialists, including practitioners,
of intangible cultural heritage.
This meeting marked the launching of UNESCO's Safeguarding and Promoting Intangible Heritage programme.
• International Expert Meeting for the Safeguarding and Promoting of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Minority
Groups in Viet Nam (Hanoi, 15-18 March)
• International Expert Meeting for the Safeguarding and Promoting of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the
Region of Hue (Hue, 21-24 March, funded jointly by UNESCO, $33,900, the Japan Funds-in-Trust, $33,900,
and the French Government $18,000, for both projects)
International Conference on the Preservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage in the Asia-Pacific Region
The Conference was organized jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, the Agency for Cultural Affairs of
Japan and UNESCO with the following objectives:
• To convene a panel of experts on performing arts and crafts;
• To identify areas of intangible heritage in Asia and the Pacific requiring particular assistance for preservation
and the necessary actions to do so, and;
• To expand the framework of international co-operation for the preservation of intangible cultural heritage in
Asia and the Pacific.
Representatives and observers from thirteen Asian countries including Japan and observers from four countries
attended the conference. Participants formulated concrete suggestions for regional co-operation, modes of action, a
legal framework, training and priority activities to be undertaken, and discussed the rote of governments in pre
serving and promoting intangible cultural heritage. They also addressed recommendations to UNESCO and the
national governments regarding their roles in actively responding to the recommendations. © UNESCO 2001
4 Photo © Museum für Lackkunst, Munster, Germany ©UNESCO 2001
International Expert Meeting for the Safeguarding and Promoting of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Minority
Groups of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Vientiane, 7-11 October 1996, funded jointly by the Japan Funds-inTrust, $39,550, and the French Government, $8,000).
At the request of the Vietnamese and Lao governments, UNESCO organized the above meetings in the respective
countries. The main purpose of the meetings was to assist the Vietnamese and Lao authorities in establishing a national
plan for safeguarding and promoting the intangible heritage of ethnic minorities. The population of these ethnic groups,
of which there are fifty-four in Viet Nam and forty-seven in Lao PDR, is significant. In Lao PDR, for example, ethnic
minorities account for almost half of the entire population, while in Viet Nam they represent approximately 10% of the
Following decades of war, at the beginning of the 1990s Viet Nam and the Lao People's Democratic Republic re-opened
to the world. An assessment of the status of intangible cultural heritage of the ethnic minority groups is now timely and
should play a significant role in the development of national cultural plans. This can be achieved by drawing on the
knowledge of community members, practitioners, the experience of both international and national experts, and by
developing and proposing joint projects to be carried out by national and international scientific and cultural institutions.
Fifty-eight participants (officials, experts, representatives of research institutions and private foundations and observers)
from thirteen countries, together with their Vietnamese counterparts, attended the meeting in Viet Nam. Forty
participants from nine countries and twenty Lao participants attended the meeting in Lao PDR. In addition to specialists
on ethnic minorities, participants active in international or regional co-operation for safeguarding and promoting the
intangible cultural heritage of minority groups in their own or other countries or communities also attended. © UNESCO 2001
6 FOLLOW-UP OF THE 1994 AND 1996 MEETINGS These two meetings were instrumental in the development of a national plan in the respective countries for safeguarding and
promoting intangible cultural heritage. Furthermore, they provided a strong impetus for mobilizing the national and
international communities to carry out actions for this purpose. A number of follow-up projects have been or are being
implemented in both countries. Several projects have received regular support from the Japan Funds-in-Trust, others from the
Vietnamese and Lao governments, and others from other international public and private funding sources. The following list of
activities generated by these meetings, although not exhaustive, indicates the range and scope of practical outcomes.
• A book entitled The Sedang of Viet Nam (in English and Vietnamese, at a cost of $106,019) was published in March 1999,
following a training course on the preparation of an inventory of the handicrafts in Viet Nam
organized in 1995.
This publication is an illustrated catalogue of the Sedang people's handicraft collection in the Viet Nam Museum of
Ethnology. The Sedang are one of fifty-four ethnic minority groups that have inhabited Viet Nam's Central Highlands for
centuries. With the support of the Japanese Funds-in-Trust, UNESCO organized a training course in 1995 on the collection of
Sedang handicrafts, The items in the collection were purchased from the Sedang community and given to the museum.
Support for the French publication of The Sedang of Viet Nam in France was generously provided by the Agence de la
• A department of nha nhac (court music) was set up at the University of Hue in 1996 on the initiative of two of
the participants at the Hanoi and Hue expert meetings, Professors Yoshihiko Tokumaru and Osamu Yamaguchi
(Osaka University), and supported by the Japan Foundation's Asian Centre. On the basis of result of this research,
training and workshop were organized from 2000, with the support of the Japan Foundation.
Training in Research and Video Documentation of the Performing Arts of the Ethnic Minorities in Viet Nam
(Ho Chi Minh City, April 1999) was organized by Professor Osamu Yamaguchi (Osaka University) and other Japanese
specialists in collaboration with Vietnamese specialists, with the support of the Japan Foundation.
At the same time, the National Centre for Social Sciences and Humanities in Viet Nam (NCSSH) and the Viet Nam Museum of
Ethnology have implemented numerous projects, including:
• The reconstitution of the traditional Vietnamese toy puppet theatre;
• A survey of the Hmong and the Yao traditional crafts in the Sapa region;
• The publication of two books on minorities (in Vietnamese);
• A musicological study in the province of Thanh Hoa;
• An exhibition entitled Celebrating Children;
• An exhibition entitled Share the Decorative Arts Tradition of Viet Nam's Thai and Austronesian Peoples;
• The publication of an illustrated catalogue on the Muong ethnographic collection in the Viet Nam
Museum of Ethnology (English, French and Vietnamese translations, with the support of the École française
• The production of a documentary film on the Champa people (with support from UNESCO);
• The publication of a series of books on Champa oral traditions (in French and Vietnamese) by the École française
d'Extrême-Orient), and on the initiative of one of the professors who participated at the Hanoi meeting,
Professor Po Dharma;
• The organization of the Third International Conference on Yao Studies (Hanoi, 1996) in association with other
international partners. Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR)
Following the UNESCO meeting, and thanks to actions taken by some participants, several international
institutions reinforced their co-operation with Lao PDR in the area of intangible cultural heritage, particularly with the Lao
Institute of Research on Culture in Vientiane.
•As part of the Linguistic and Anthropological Study of the Shan Culture Area programme, Professor Tadahiko
Shintani of Tokyo University of Foreign Languages led a team that conducted linguistic fieldwork in the north of
Lao PDR, the results of which were then published. A number of Lao linguists also received fellowships to continue
their research in Tokyo; ©UNESCO 2001
7 • Professor David Bradley, of the Department of Linguistics at LaTrobe University, Melbourne, Australia, has
undertaken linguistic research on Tibetan-Burmese languages in clanger of disappearing in northern Lao PDR;
• Professor Jacques Lemoine, the director of the South China and Indo-Chinese Peninsula Anthropology Lab
oratory of the French National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) has established a databank at the Lao
Institute of on Research Culture in Vientiane. This has been in operation since early 1999. • Viet Nam a book on the intangible cultural heritage of minorities in Viet Nam ($104,700), 250 pp., 100 illustrations, to be
published in 2001 in English, French and Vietnamese.
• Lao PDR a book on the intangible cultural heritage of minorities in Lao PDR ($105,090) 250 pp., 100 illustrations, to be
published in English, French and Lao in 2001. ©UNESCO 2001
8 © Noriko Aikawa © UNESCO 2001
World Survey on the Application of Recommendations Adopted in 1989 on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture
and Folklore (Washington D.C., UNESCO/Japan Funds-in-Trust: $69,942; the Smithsonian Institution: $60,000; US
State Dept: $30,000; National Endowment: $10,000). Since the adoption of UNESCO's Recommendations on the Safeguarding of Traditional Culture and Folklore in
1989 and the launching of the Safeguarding and Promoting of Intangible Cultural Heritage Programme in 1993
much has changed in the worldwide political, economic, social and cultural landscapes. In addition, the
emergence of new technologies can have an adverse effect, which challenges the safeguarding of intangible
cultural heritage, and alternatively, more positive influences facilitating preservation, revitalization and
transmission. Despite the progress of UNESCO's intangible Heritage Programme, many issues and questions have
arisen in relation to the situation of this heritage.
In response, UNESCO has organized eight regional seminars of assessment for the application of the
Recommendation from 1995 to 1999. On the basis of the results of these regional seminars, the International
Conference was organized by UNESCO in collaboration with the Smithonian Institution with the purpose of
reviewing the protection of intangible cultural heritage at the end of the twentieth century, assessing the relevance of
UNESCO's 1989 Recommendation to the current situation and developing fresh orientations for UNESCO's
programme in this new world context.
The Action Plan adopted at the conference highlights the concerns of thirty-four participants from twenty-seven
countries and those of forty observers. While pursuing efforts in the field of safeguarding and promoting intangible
cultural heritage, UNESCO's programme must respond to Member States' concerns regarding the continual emergence of relevant and diverse factors, including gender issues, environmental and ecological concerns, societies in
transformation, access to new technologies, bio-ethics, traditional knowledge, human rights, linguistic rights,
management of natural resources, cultural diversity and globalization. The following concrete recommendations
were made within the Action Plan addressed to UNESCO:
• Development of adequate international legal instruments to reinforce the protection of intangible cultural
• Implementation of actions orientated towards practitioners with the active participation of local communities for safeguarding their own culture;
• Establishment of an international and interdisciplinary network of experts to assist Member States in dev
eloping concrete programmes to safeguard, promote, transmit and revitalize intangible cultural heritage. ©UNESCO 2001
10 LANGUAGES AND ORAL TRADITIONS
1994-1999 The Preservation of Traditional Chinese Folk Tales, Poems and other Intangible Cultural Heritage (UNESCO,
Beijing Office, $120,345) With the support of the Funds-in-Trust, the Chinese Folk Literature and Art Society carried out
fieldwork in the five regions which have maintained significant living oral traditions. Numerous folk tales were collected, and
over 200 hours were recorded. An audiovisual tape was produced and a brochure published in both English and Chinese,
based on the best cases of the field records.
1994-1996 An Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger of Disappearing ($37,290), published by UNESCO Press in English,
French and Spanish.
Linguists estimate that there are over 5,000 living languages in the world today. Each language is a vehicle of expression for the
intangible cultural heritage of a people. The disappearance of a language means that an irreplaceable aspect of a people's
cultural identity, knowledge, understanding and world view is lost forever. UNESCO has taken the initiative in creating awareness
in Member States of the problem of endangered languages « and mobilizing public opinion as to the urgent need to preserve
and revitalize these languages. In association with two non-governmental organizations, the International Council for
Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (CIPSH) and the Permanent International Committee of Linguists (CIPL), UNESCO published
this atlas, which is the first of its kind. This Publication proved to be a great success and has contributed to raising awareness in
communities throughout the world regarding the current situation of endangered languages.
In response to public demand and the need to incorporate the results of linguistic research over the past four years,
an updated version of the atlas is being prepared and will be published with the support of the Japan Funds-in-Trust
1997 The Central Asian Epic Festival and Symposium (Mongolia, $83,600).
As the basic social structure of the Mongolian people, nomadism is closely linked to oral traditions, particularly epics. These
traditions, which have been a vital means for transmitting oral heritage for hundreds of years, contain people's historical,
geographical, political, social and linguistic references. The most famous Mongolian epic, Djan-gar, was sung not only in
Mongolia, but in other countries too, including China, countries of Central Asia, and several republics of the Russian Federation.
Artists (singers, musicians and epic-tellers) and researchers from neighbouring countries participated in this festival and
symposium. Following the event, the Mongolian authorities decided to establish the Mongolian National Centre for Intangible
Cultural Heritage in order to follow up efforts to safeguard and promote Mongolia's intangible cultural heritage.
1999-2001 Follow-up action: Safeguarding of Mongolian Intangible Heritage: Audiovisual Documentation of the Oral Heritage
of Mongolia (Mongolia, $133,000). The newly established Mongolian National Centre for Intangible Cultural Heritage is
carrying out fieldwork to collect, record and document Mongolian oral traditions in order to preserve, disseminate and revitalize
this heritage. A Japanese company has enthusiastically supported the project and made a significant donation of technical
equipment to the value of $120,000.
Thanks to international co-operation and the efforts of the Mongolian team at the Mongolian National Centre for Intangible
Cultural Heritage, an audiovisual documentation programme was set up and has been in operation since September 1999. In
addition to collecting and documenting data for further research on oral heritage, the production and broadcasting of
documentaries are planned for late 2000, so as to ensure the dissemination of this rich intangible cultural heritage among a
wide public. ©UNESCO 2001
11 Photo © Noriko Aikawa Photo © Viet Nam Museum of Ethnography © UNESCO 2001
12 TRADITIONAL SKILLS (TECHNIQUES AND ARTISTRY)
Aspects of intangible cultural heritage - traditional technical and artistic skills - are passed on through the generations, and have always played a significant role in daily life. Not only do traditional skills help people to deal with
their natural environment and manage their natural resources, they are also deeply rooted in a people's cultural
traditions and reflect their way of life. The fact that traditional knowledge systems continue to guide societies
worldwide is evident in both natural and human domains such as farming, gathering, healing, maintaining a
balance between society and nature, handicrafts for daily use, and so forth. UNESCO has concentrated its efforts
on preserving and revitalizing traditional skills and adapting them to changing lifestyles.
1997 Regional Workshop on East Asian Lacquerware (Yangon, Myanmar, 14-21 February 1997, $76,840).
Lacquerware originated in China approximately 3,000 years ago and spread to almost every country in East Asia. Its
uses are broad, ranging from religious ritual objects to architectural decoration, furniture, musical instruments and
everyday utensils. Lacquer may be applied to a base material of wood, porcelain, bamboo, leather, paper, fabric,
and even stone or metal. Although traditional techniques of lacquerware have been relatively well preserved in each
country, it was thought necessary to bring the lacquerware masters of producing countries together to compare
techniques and designs and to discuss common solutions for the future development of the lacquerware industry
and its markets. Twenty-two artisans and specialists from eleven countries, accompanied by a number of Myanmar
artisans, participated in the workshop. An exhibition of lacquerware brought by the participating artisans was
held during the workshop. Participants also visited lacquerware workshops in Pagan and compared their respective
1997-2001 Compilation and publication of a book on East Asia Lacquerware ($88,705).
This publication project is a follow-up to the workshop. It will be the first in a series of books on traditional
lacquerware techniques in Asia. The illustrations feature lacquered objects as well as lacquerware production
of the illustrations
provided by the
1997 Safeguarding and Promotion of the Traditional Techniques of Bamboo in Modern Life (Ho Chi Minh City, Viet
Nam, 17-19 December 1997, $90,400).
Bamboo is one of the world's oldest and most precious building materials. It has played a prominent role throughout
the tropical and sub-tropical belts of Asia, as well as in South America and Africa. In addition to its multiple uses in
many aspects of life, its availability and ecological virtues, bamboo, like other sources of human inspiration, plays
an important role in both oral and written traditions. These traditions form a vital part of the cultural identity of the
regions and peoples concerned, especially those in the process of social and economic transition. To encourage the
adaptation of bamboo's traditional uses to contemporary life, UNESCO organized this seminar in Ho Chi Minh City,
A total of thirty-one participants (experts, representatives of research institutions, architects and observers) from
some fifteen countries attended the seminar. They made concrete recommendations for governments of countries
that produce and use bamboo, as well as for international organizations.
1999-2000 INBAR (International Network for Bamboo and Rattan) follow-up
As a follow-up to the seminar described above, UNESCO is supporting an ongoing project, Documenting and
Disseminating the Preservation of Bamboo-working Technique: being conducted by INBAR, a non-governmental
organization based in Beijing, China. The organization's aim is to support INBAR's ongoing project by developing
database: on both traditional and modern bamboo and rattan techniques and uses. Some of this data is now
accessible through the INBAR Web site (http://www.inbar.org.cn).
2000 The Blue of Samarkand: project for the revival of medieval Ishkor alkaline vegetable glaze used in the pas
both for architectural tiles and utilitarian pottery (Uzbekistan, $94,000). © UNESCO 2001
13 A unique, traditional technique for producing a glaze for tiles used in sacred monuments was practiced in Central
Asia for centuries. The production of this glaze was concentrated in the region of Samarkand in Uzbekistan. The
medieval pottery of Central Asia withstood centuries and exposure to the severe climatic and environmental
conditions that prevailed in the region. The tiles being produced today in restoration workshops, however, are inferior
in quality to those from medieval times. This inferior quality is due primarily to insufficient knowledge of the old
techniques. The most important Timurid monuments of Central Asia have been inscribed on UNESCO's World
Heritage List The revival and preservation of ancient techniques to be used in repairing their glazed cladding will
benefit not only present and future generations in Central Asia, but also art lovers the world over.
In supporting this objective, UNESCO, in association with the Uzbek authorities, organized an international
symposium, 'Blue of Samarkand', in June 2000. A pilot project was presented during the symposium to initiate
research work, laboratory testing and analysis of the medieval architectural glaze, the reconstitution of the blue of
Samarkand and the development of strategies for the revitalization and sustainable application of traditional
2000 Regional Workshop on the Transmission of the Traditional Technique of Costume-making of the Miao/Hmong
People Living in China, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam (China, $108,000).
The Miao or Hmong people are an ethnic group with a population of over 10 million. They live in the south of
China, Lao PDR, Thailand and Viet Nam. Since the 1970s, nearly 150,000 Miao/Hmong have settled in Australia,
Canada, France and the United States. Throughout their centuries of migration, the Miao/Hmong's oral traditions
have been crucial to the transmission of their philosophy and history. This is reflected in their garments and
hairstyle as well as the designs, colours, and compositions of the decorative patterns used in their costumes.
Today, most of their traditional costume-making techniques are in danger of disappearing as traditional
costumes are gradually being replaced by modern clothing in synthetic materials. The lack of raw materials, timeconsuming production, a decreasing demand, and the impracticality of traditional costumes for a modern lifestyle,
make it difficult for these communities to continue traditional costume-making and preserve the techniques.
Despite this, Miao/Hmong costumes have a high aesthetic appeal and are much appreciated by specialists and
the wider public alike. They have inspired modern fashion designers and interior decorators.
UNESCO was asked to organize this workshop with three principle objectives:
• to build links between these communities and specialists;
• to compile an inventory of the endangered techniques, and;
• to strengthen co-operation between community and non-governmental organizations to promote and
revitalize this traditional know-how.
In association with the Yunnan provincial authorities in China, UNESCO organized a training workshop on
Miao/Hmong traditional costume-making techniques in June 2000, designed to encourage and assist local
communities in revitalizing their traditional techniques and adapting them to modern life while preserving their
cultural identity. Miao/Hmong masters of costume-making from various countries were invited to demonstrate
and exchange techniques during the workshop. International and national specialists in textile techniques and
regional NGOs involved in promoting handicrafts were invited to attend the workshop and give training courses for
young Miao/Hmong professionals. © UNESCO 2001
As this document testifies, the intangible cultural heritage of the world reflects a variety of creative
and social expressions which are integral to cultural identity and social cohesion. These
forms are manifestations of the world's cultural diversity and offer to us and to future generations
the opportunity to appreciate different cultural traditions. They represent that bind ties many
different aspects of human life - and probably the most signifiant one of all is the treasure
constituted by the intellectual and cultural aspirations of mankind. They also represent a
heritage that belongs to each and every one of us. For these reasons, the responsibility for
safeguarding these cultural and popular expressions should be shared by all.
UNESCO and its Member States are grateful to the Japanese Government which, through the
establishment of its Funds-in-Trust in 1993, gave the impetus to launch UNESCO's
Intangible Cultural Heritage Programme and continues to provide valuable support. So far,
activities through this Japanese Funds-in-Trust have been focused on Asia however, the
Japanese government will make an effort to extend its contribution to the preservation and
promotion of the intangible cultural heritage of other regions in the future. © UNESCO 2001
15 List of the projects financed by UNESCO/Japan
Funds-in-Trust from 1993 to 2000
(Japan's total contribution: US$2,372,000, including 13%
of project support costs)
1. International consultation on the new
perspectives for UNESCO's programme: the
intangible cultural heritage.
1993, UNESCO, Paris, 16-17 June, $30,000, partial
contribution. 2. Preservation of Chinese traditional folk tales,
poems and other intangible cultural heritage.
1994-1999, UNESCO Beijing Office, $120,345.
3. International Expert Meeting for the
safeguarding and promotion of the intangible
cultural heritage of minority groups of Viet Nam.
Safeguarding and Promotion of the Intangible
Cultural Heritage of the Hué Region.
1994, Hué, $33,900 for projects (3) and (4), partial
contribution. 5.Training course on the inventory of handicrafts
of minorities in Viet Nam, and the publication
of the book The Sedang of Vietnam. 1995-1999,
6. Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger of
Disappearing. 1994-1996, UNESCO, Paris, $37,290.
7. International conference on the preservation of
the intangible cultural heritage in Asia and the
Pacific Region. 1995, Tokyo, $102,000.
8. Regional workshop on East Asian Lacquerware.
1997, Yangon, Myanmar, $76,840.
9. International Expert Meeting for the
safeguarding and promotion of the intangible
cultural heritage of the minority groups of the Lao
People's Democratic Republic.
1996, Vientiane, $39,550.
10. Publication of an art book on East Asian
Lacquerware. 1997-2001, UNESCO Paris, $88,705.
11. Publication of a book on the intangible cultural
heritage of minorities in Viet Nam. UNESCO HQ,
1997-2001, Paris, $104,700. 12. Publication of a book on the intangible cultural
heritage of Minorities in PDR Lao. UNESCO,
1997-2001, Paris, $105,090.
13. The Festival and Symposium of the Central Asian
Epic.1997, Ulan Batoor, $83,600.
14. Safeguarding and promotion of the traditional
techniques of bamboo in modern life.1998, Ho Chi
Minh City, $90,400.
15. Safeguarding of the Mongolian intangible
heritage. 1999-2001, Uian Batoor, $133,000.
16. International Conference: World Survey on
in 1989 on the safeguarding of
traditional culture and folklore.1999,Washington
D.C., $69,942. 17. The Blue of Samarkand: project
for the revival of medieval Ishkor alkaline
vegetable glaze, used in the past both for
architectural glazed tiles and for utilitarian
18. Regional Workshop on the Transmission of the
traditional technique of costume-making of the
Miao/Hmong people living in China, Laos,
Thailand and Viet Nam. 2000, Kunming, $108,000.
19. Artisans of Southeast Asia: Symposium,
Workshop and Exhibition for the Preservation
and Inheritance of Traditional Textile making
Skills. 2001, Osaka and Kyoto, $155,189.
20. Protection and Promotion of Minority
Chinese Nationalities' Folk Tales, Poems and Other
Nonphysical Cultural Heritage in Danger of
Extinction, 2000-2002, China, $118,650. © UNESCO 2001
16 21. Indigenous Languages Revitalisation and Preservation
of in Melanesia and the Pacific. 2000-2002, Melanesian countries, $129,385.
22. Revised edition of An Atlas of the World's Languages
in Danger of Disappearing. 2001, UNESCO Paris, $38,420.
23. Rehabilitation and Preservation of Performing Arts in Cambodia.
2000-2002, Phnom Penh, $94,943.
24. National Programme for the Safeguarding and Development of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of
2000-2002, Lithuania, $56,688.
24. Training Course for the System entitled “Living Human Treasures".
2001, Manila and Tokyo, $106,672.
25. Establishment of a National Inventory of the Performing Arts of Bhutan. 2001-2003, Bhutan, $139,382. ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/10/2012 for the course IT 1023 taught by Professor Ting during the Spring '12 term at UCSI.
- Spring '12