Port Louis, 26 November—The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, meeting in Port Louis (Mauritius), has decided to inscribe traditional Korean wrestling, ssirum/ssireum, on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, on the basis of a joint application by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea.
“The fact that both Koreas accepted to join their respective applications is unprecedented,” declared Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO. “This would not have been possible without great trust in UNESCO on the part of all Korean authorities. The joint inscription marks a highly symbolic step on the road to inter-Korean reconciliation. It reminds us of the peace-building power of cultural heritage, as a bridge between peoples. This marks a victory for the longstanding and profound ties between both sides of the inter-Korean border.”
Traditional Korean wrestling—“Ssirum” in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and “Ssireum” in the Republic of Korea—has deep significance for all Koreans. Fundamentally linked to land and agriculture, it is both a national sport and a very popular cultural practice. Competitions are regularly organized during agricultural events or festivals linked to the cycle of the seasons.
This unprecedented joint inscription was made possible thanks to the common will of the two Koreas—the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea. Following UNESCO’s mediation, they agreed to merge their initially separate applications for the inscription of traditional Korean wrestling on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
This achievement follows on the Director-General’s visit to the Republic of Korea last June and her meeting with President Moon Jae-in last month in Paris. During that meeting, Ms Azoulay proposed a series of concrete projects involving UNESCO that would facilitate inter-Korean reconciliation. Similar discussions also took place over recent weeks with the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea. The commitment of UNESCO to facilitate peace between the two parties has led to the joint inscription in a short timeframe.
UNESCO Beijing Cluster Office has been supporting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s endeavor to safeguard its Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) through a series of capacity-building activities since 2011, including a National Safeguarding Awareness-Raising in 2011, a Training Workshop on the Implementation of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the ICH in 2013, and a Training Workshop on Community-Based Inventorying of ICH in 2016. The most recent activity was the Training Workshop on Community-Based Inventorying of ICH and Elaborating Nomination Files held last month (link), in which we refreshed participants’ knowledge on ICH inventorying and raised their capacities in preparing nomination files for UNESCO’s Representative List of the ICH of Humanity.
UNESCO will continue to work on concrete projects with the authorities of both countries towards reconciliation on the Korean peninsula, through culture, education and the sciences. These sectors, at the heart of UNESCO’s mandate, are essential foundations for lasting peace.
“迈向朝韩和解的极具象征意义一步，彰显文化遗产在和平建设上的力量” / "A highly symbolic step towards inter-Korean reconciliation, that reminds us of the peace-building power of cultural heritage"
“朝韩同意将各自单独提出的申请予以合并，这是史无前例的。” 教科文组织总干事奥德蕾·阿祖莱表示，“如果没有韩朝双方对教科文组织的高度信任，联合申遗不可能实现。 联合申遗是迈向朝韩和解的极具象征意义的一步，彰显了文化遗产在和平建设上的力量。文化遗产是人民之间的桥梁。这是韩朝边境两侧悠久而深厚的关系的一次胜利。”
朝鲜族传统摔跤“希日木”/ Traditional Korean wrestling © KANG Sang Ho, journalist of Korean National Heritage Preservation Agency, DPRK, 2017
邮票上的朝鲜族传统摔跤 / Traditional Korean wrestling on a stamp © Korea Post
11月23日，朝鲜代表团与联合国教科文组织驻华代表处的工作人员会面，随后前往参加毛里求斯路易港参加“保护非物质文化遗产政府间委员会第十三届会议” /On 23 Nov, the DPRK delegation met with staff of UNESCO Beijing Cluster Office before their trip to the 13th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. © UNESCO Beijing
今年十月，联合国教科文组织驻华代表处在朝鲜举办“以社区为基础的非遗清点和提名文件培训工作坊” / Training Workshop on Community-Based Inventorying of ICH and Elaborating Nomination Files organized by UNESCO Beijing in October 2018. ©National Authority for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of DPRK
(출처 : 联合国教科文组织 北京 2018.11.27)