Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Intangible Cultural Heritage *(Part 1)

*Without daring to ask.


At the time when book sellers of the Seine rivers are facing the risk to disappear and My Craft Curator is slowly taking shape, we decided to talk a bit more about Intangible Cultural Heritage, the basis of all actions of My craft Curator. But you might wonder what’s the common point between the small green boxes on the Seine’s banks and the beautifully crafted Uzbek embroideries?

Don’t worry, all the answers you need are right here!


© Jean-Luc Kokel, 2009

What is Intangible Cultural Heritage?

The term ‘cultural heritage’ has changed content considerably in recent decades, partially owing to the instruments developed by UNESCO. Cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects.

It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited such as

  • Oral traditions (Ex: Hudhud chants of the Ifugao, Philippines)
  • Performing arts (Fest-Noz, festive gathering based on the collective practice of traditional dances of Brittany,France)
  • Social practices (Arabic coffe, a symbol of generosity Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, United arab emirate)

    © 2016 by National Kok-Boru Federation, Kyrgyzstan
  • Rituals and festive events ( The kirgiz game of Kok boru)
  • Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe (Chinese Zhusuan, knowledge and practices of mathematical calculation through the abacus, China)
  • Knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts (Uzbekistan safegarding of the adras and atlas traditional technology)
© Renato S. Rastrollo / NCCA -ICH /UNESCO



The UNESCO insists on Intangible Cultural Heritage being   “an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization”, which means it must help to get to know deeper knowledge of the communities, among them and outside of them. This is why the UNESCO underline the importance of “an understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue.” Moreover, the transmission of this heritage bears in itself a strong “ social and economic value of this transmission of knowledge is relevant” for the communities and the rest of the world.

This is exactly the main purpose of My Craft Curator!

© 2007 by Chinese Abacus and Mental Arithmetic Association (CAMAA)

The UNESCO chose four aspects to frame the notion of Intangible Cultural Heritage to make it a stable entity through time.

© Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA), 2006

Intangible cultural heritage must be:

  • Traditional, contemporary and living at the same time.
  • Inclusive.
  • Representative.
  • Community-based.

MyCraftCurator chose to use the same aspects to make them the four cardinal points of its action towards ICH.




Traditional craftsmanship

© 2016 by the National Commission of Uzbekistan for UNESCO

Among the diffrent elements of Intangible Cultural Heritage,  “ the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts” is obviously the one closest to y craft Curator’s project and missions. This category has a very specific place in the the ICH since it’s “perhaps the most tangible manifestation of intangible cultural heritage”.

However, the UNESCO is very clear about its decision to include it in the Intangible Cultural Heritage family by protecting only “the skills and knowledge involved in craftsmanship (and not) the craft products themselves”. This choice makes sense  since not protecting the knowledge would end up being whipped out by globalisation. This is why My Craft Curator wants to help protection these knowledge and skills by providing the communities with an income that would help them maintain their heritage and sustain them. So we want to shed light on those creations by promoting them in a respectful economic loop (an important point that we already mentioned here), this is how My Craft Curator takes action!

All informations and pictures come from the UNESCO website under the section Intangible Cultural Heritage. 




See you soon, 

My Craft Curator


Written by Margot.

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