Joint bid by group of EU countries leads to UNESCO listing for artisanal glass techniques

Glass blowing listed Unesco

Rima Abdul Malak, the French Minister of Culture, and Olivia Grégoire, Deputy Minister in charge of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Trade, Crafts, and Tourism, have praised the inscription of the “Knowledge, techniques, and know-how of artisanal glassmaking” on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The bid, spearheaded by the Federation of Crystal and Glass, was submitted jointly by France, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Hungary, and Spain.

The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, meeting in Kasane, Republic of Botswana, from December 4th to 9th, 2023, under the chairmanship of the Republic of Botswana, has just reviewed the nomination of the “Knowledge, techniques, and know-how of artisanal glassmaking.”

Glassmaking gestures refer to the artisanal and traditional practices of producing glass and crystal. They involve shaping the material at high temperatures through blowpipes or torches, cutting, or decorating it at room temperature to manufacture a wide variety of hollow glass objects or flat glass.

From generation to generation

These skills, passed down from generation to generation, from highly skilled craftsmen to novice glassmakers, preserve a heritage for which each artisan is a custodian. Over centuries, they have developed a strong sense of belonging, a specific vocabulary, a festive culture, and religious functions that still hold significant cultural and social importance today.

The listing of glassmaking practices will encourage the transmission and preservation of these skills by supporting a broad range of glassmaking professions. It will also raise public awareness of traditional glass production.

Deeply committed to the arts and crafts for which they have launched a national strategy, Olivia Grégoire and Rima Abdul Malak are delighted with this inscription that recognizes the cultural importance and excellence of a know-how that must be relentlessly preserved, transmitted, and reinvented.

Intangible cultural heritage refers to the practices, expressions, knowledge, and skills transmitted from one generation to the next within a community. These practices, such as songs, dances, rituals, celebrations, traditional craftsmanship, and knowledge related to nature and the universe, are constantly recreated.

The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity consists of expressions that demonstrate the diversity of intangible heritage and raise awareness of its significance.

The year 2023 is particularly important for the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage. It marks the twentieth anniversary of UNESCO’s convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage, which established this heritage category.

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