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Samples of Azerbaijani culture inscribed to UNESCO List

06 December 2023 [16:00] - TODAY.AZ
Laman Ismayilova

More samples of Azerbaijani culture have been included in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity.

The decision was made during the 18th session of the Committee for Safeguarding of ICH in Botswana, Azernews reports.

Craftsmanship and performing art of balaban/mey

The multinational cultural element of "Craftsmanship and performing art of balaban/mey, jointly prepared by Azerbaijan and Turkiye, has been inscribed to the UNESCO List.

"Balaban (in Azerbaijan) or Mey (in Türkiye) is a centuries-old woodwind instrument made up of three parts: a body, a wide and flat double reed and a clip. The instrument is traditionally made of plum or apricot wood and coated with linseed or olive oil. Once dry, crafters drill several holes into the front of the body and one hole into the back. The sizes, number of holes and materials used vary according to the region. The knowledge, skills and techniques of crafting and playing Balaban are typically passed on informally within families through observation and hands-on experience, as well as through apprenticeships," said on UNESCO website.

Craftsmanship of mother of pearl inlay

The multinational cultural element of "Craftsmanship of mother of pearl inlay" jointly prepared by Azerbaijan and Türkiye, became another element included in UNESCO.

"Mother of pearl inlay is the practice of inserting mother of pearl pieces into wooden objects such as Koran cases, desks, chests, chairs, mirrors, jewel cases and musical instruments. Craftspeople begin by cutting the inner shells of molluscs into different shapes. They draw motifs on a piece of wood, carve out the outlines and shape the mother of pearl pieces, which are then inlaid to the wood. Finally, the surface is polished with sandpaper, burnt for colouring and varnished with melted resin. Practitioners use thick woods such as walnut, ebony and mahogany, preferring dark colours to contrast with the white of the mother of pearl. Geometrical, floral and calligraphic motifs are often used for embellishment. For craftspeople and their families, the element represents a part of daily life and is a source of identity and pride," UNESCO reports.

Iftar/Eftari/Iftar/Iftor and its socio-cultural traditions

Multinational cultural element of "Iftar/Eftari/Iftar/Iftor and its socio-cultural traditions" jointly prepared by Azerbaijan, Iran, Türkiy and Uzbekistan was also included in the UNESCO Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Humanity.

It was brought to attention that Iftar (also called Eftari, ?ftar or Iftor in practicing countries) is observed by Muslims at sunset in the month of Ramadan (the ninth month in the lunar calendar), upon completion of all religious and ceremonial rites. Observed by people of all ages, genders and backgrounds, it marks the daily termination of the hardships of fasting from dawn to sunset.

"The evening prayer is followed by activities such as praying ceremonies, music, storytelling, games, preparing and serving traditional and local meals and marriage arrangements. For communities, it often takes the form of gatherings or meals, strengthening family and community ties and promoting charity, solidarity and social exchange. The ceremonies and rituals related to Iftar are also practised by people who do not necessarily fast during the month of Ramadan," the organization reports.

As a UNESCO member, Azerbaijan has been actively engaged in promoting cultural diversity and heritage preservation.

The country has been constantly participating in UNESCO programs since 1992.

Through its efforts, Azerbaijan plays a significant role in UNESCO's mission to build peace, foster sustainable development, and foster intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication, and information.

In 2003, the parties signed a framework agreement on cooperation in the areas of culture, science, education, and communication, which allowed Azerbaijan to become one of the donors of UNESCO.


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