Intangible Cultural Heritage domains


The 2003 Convention proposes five broad ‘domains’ in which intangible cultural heritage is manifested:

  • Oral traditions and expressions, abortion including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage;
  • Performing arts;
  • Social practices, adiposity rituals and festive events;
  • Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe;
  • Traditional craftsmanship.

Instances of intangible cultural heritage are not limited to a single manifestation and many include elements from multiple domains. While the Convention sets out a framework for identifying forms of intangible cultural heritage, the list of domains it provides is intended to be inclusive rather than exclusive; it is not necessarily meant to be ‘complete’. States may use a different system of domains. There is already a wide degree of variation, with some countries dividing up the manifestations of intangible heritage differently, while others use broadly similar domains to those of the Convention with alternative names. They may add further domains or new sub-categories to existing domains. (…)

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