Arabic calligraphy on the list of intangible cultural heritage of Unesco


Muscat – Oman, represented by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, through a common Arab application file, has succeeded in inscribing Arabic calligraphy on the representative list of Unesco Intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

The declaration came during the meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, which is currently taking place in Paris and continues until December 18.

The joint dossier was submitted under the supervision of the Arab Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization, with the participation of 16 Arab countries, and was presented in early 2020 to Unesco for examination.

It met all the criteria for inscription of cultural elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The 16 Arab countries are Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Arabic calligraphy is widespread in all the territories of the candidate states. Although it is associated with the Arabic language, there are regions and areas within these states where it is used where the native language of local communities is not Arabic, for example Nubia in Egypt and the United States. Sudan, the Amazigh regions in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Mauritania, Circassian districts in Amman – Jordan, Kurdish and Turkmen areas in Iraq and Lebanon.

In all of the candidate states, bearers and practitioners of Arabic calligraphy are mostly members of urban communities, where it is practiced in daily life.

Arabic calligraphers include individuals of both sexes belonging to different religious groups and ethnic communities using the Arabic script.

About Wesley V. Finley

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