Two new elements added to UN-backed list of intangible heritage

Manqueriapa explains the meaning of Eshuva. © INC (2010), Alberto

25 November 2011 – Sung prayers from an indigenous group in Peru and traditional weaving skills from the United Arab Emirates were added today to the United Nations List of Intangible Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding.

Both items are in danger of dying out, according to the intergovernmental committee managing the list, which is meeting this week in Bali, Indonesia. The committee also selected five new best safeguarding practices from Belgium, Brazil, Hungary and Spain.

The According to oral tradition, Eshuva songs were learned directly from forest animals and are sung to summon nature’s spirits to help alleviate illness.Eshuva, or sung prayer, is a religious expression of the Huichipare indigenous ethnic group in Peru’s southern Amazon tropical forest. The songs are only sung in the Huichipare’s language, Harákmbut and are performed for healing or as part of traditional ceremonies. According to oral tradition, Eshuva songs were learned directly from forest animals and are sung to summon nature’s spirits to help alleviate illness.

Al Sadu is a traditional form of weaving practised by Bedouin women in rural communities of the United Arab Emirates to produce soft furnishings and decorative accessories for camels and horses. Bedouin men shear the sheep, camels and goats, and women gather in small groups to spin and weave, exchanging family news and occasionally chanting and reciting poetry.

Since its creation in 2008, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intangible Heritage List – as well as the List of Intangible Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding – has included an array of global cultural expressions.

The five new best safeguarding practices, announced in a news release issued by UNESCO, include a programme to cultivate diversity of traditional games and sports in Belgium; the conservation of a museum that promotes fandango, a traditional Brazilian dance; a programme to encourage new initiatives for local governments also in Brazil; a Hungarian method for teaching folk dance and music; and the revitalization of traditional lime-making in Spain.


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