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The Turkmen national rite of singing and dancing, Kushtdepdi, has been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Humanity. This has been communicated at the session of the Government of Turkmenistan by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
The decision was adopted unanimously at the 12th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage that took place on 7 December 2017 in Jeju (Republic of Korea). According to the head of state, this fact confirms the recognition of enormous importance of the spiritual culture of the Turkmen people, the integral part of the universal cultural heritage. Kushtdepdi is a colorful example of folk art that reflects the symbolic relation between historical and cultural traditions and spiritual experience of the nation, and represents the vivid example of harmonious blend of traditions of the past and creative energy of our time, said the head of state. The President expressed his congratulations to those present at the session and all people of Turkmenistan with this remarkable event, and stressed the importance of intensifying works on promoting the national cultural heritage.
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The decision of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
City of Cheju, Republic of Korea,
December, 4-9, 2017
UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage:
1. Takes into consideration that Turkmenistan has presented the nomination «Kushdepdi - singing and dance art» (№ 01259) for inclusion in the Representative list of the Intangible cultural heritage of mankind:
Singing and dance art kushdepdi is the performing art combining poetry, expressing good feelings and wishes, singing with vocal improvisation and dancing movements, rhythmical gestures. The ceremony serves as the tool for transfer of kind wishes and is an integral part of ceremonies and national holidays. Carriers and experts are leading singers and the dancers having experience in art and capable to transfer vocal technicians and skills of dance. Kushdepdi serves as a bridge between generations on the basis of general spiritual and cultural values. Carriers and experts actively participate in its safety, and practioners provide viability of this element by means of performances at ceremonies and the public meetings promoting social unity and mutual understanding. Practioners also participate in drawing up of introduction educational resources on the given practice and folklore field expeditions for gathering of data on it will regularly be organised.
Knowledge and the abilities connected with this practice, is traditionally transferred from leading executors to fans by means of informal oral practical training, but specialised music schools and cultural centres also help fans to develop the skills on the basis of formal training.
2. Decides, being based on the given material that the nomination satisfies to the below-mentioned criteria for inclusion in the Representative list of the Intangible cultural heritage of mankind:
- Singing and dance art kushdepdi is a part of family ceremonies (such, as birth of the child and wedding) and national holidays. The ceremony serves as an aspiration embodiment fortunately, to birth rate and well-being of communities, and also peace and solidarity, social unity among practioners. Carriers can include any, irrespective of age, sex, social status and name, among them - pupils, farmers, fishermen, working, researchers, scientists and handicraftsmen. Transfer of the code of ethics also is a prominent aspect of this practice;
- Element inclusion will promote the best understanding of performing art as tool for dialogue between generations and social unity - as in the country, and abroad, and also to the further scientific researches and the academic interest in this and other forms of national creativity. As a platform for an exchange and cultural cooperation which could strengthen links between people of different age categories and promote tolerance and respect, this element promotes intercultural and intergenerational dialogue;
- Viability of an element has been provided by the co-ordinated efforts of corresponding communities and establishments both in the past, and in the present. Such measures concern: publishing, revealing, documentation, education, increase of awareness and measure on potential strengthening at national level and performances during wedding ceremonies, public actions and national holidays. Courses on the element also have been included in the program of training of high school and system of higher education since 2009, folklore field expeditions for data gathering about the current status of the element will often be organised. All expenses connected with realisation of planned measures on protection, are financed at the expense of the state budget of Turkmenistan. The local government has created a legal basis for preservation of the intangible heritage;
- The idea of promotion was offered by the practioners participating in the international cultural festival in 2014. Preparation of nomination of the file included wide participation of corresponding communities. They also actively participated in gathering of documentation during process of promotion of nominees. The state-participant has specified that practising and members of communities initiatively participate in registration of live carriers and existing folklore ensembles, collecting the demanded information, including photos, audio- and video recordings, definition of ways of practice and transfer and definition of cultural values and social functions connected with the element;
- This element was included in the national stock of intangible cultural heritage of Turkmenistan in 2013. Management of intangible cultural heritage at the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan is the body responsible for administration and conducting of national inventory. Inventory has been developed with an active participation of carriers, experts, practioners and members of folklore groups in close cooperation with participants of the folklore field expeditions consisting of scientists and experts from the ministries of culture and education and the academic sector. The national stock is updated annually;
3. Decides to include the singing and dance art kushdepdi in the Representative list of the Intangible cultural heritage of mankind;
4. Reminds the state-participant that the measures directed to protection of the element, should not "freeze" the element and underlines an integral household and evolutionary character of intangible cultural heritage which is constantly recreated by communities.
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