Intangible Cultural Heritage along the Silk Roads

Along the Silk Roads © Shutterstock/CrispyPork

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 from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge, and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

While fragile, ICH is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization. An understanding of the ICH of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life.

The importance of ICH is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next.

Learn more about the five categories defined by Article II of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage here.

The Silk Roads online platform presents the ICH from along the historic Silk Roads that have been inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of ICH of Humanity. Links to related ICH elements along the silk roads are available here.

UNESCO source: https://en.unesco.org/silkroad/silk-road-themes/intangible-cultural-heritage