UNESCO Lists Traditional Korean Arts and Crafts

Korean traditional wooden architecture or daemokjang, songs based on traditional poetry from the Chosun era or gagok, and falcon hunting have been included on the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

The Cultural Heritage Administration on Tuesday said the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, decided to include the three on the list.

The list was established to preserve diversity and creativity of humanity that are being rapidly lost in the wake of industrialization and globalization.

Three Korean intangible properties included in the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. From left, a performance of a traditional poetry from the Chosun era, building a traditional home supervised by a wood craftsman, and falcon hunting /Courtesy of Cultural Heritage Administration Three Korean intangible properties included in the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. From left, a performance of a traditional poetry from the Chosun era, building a traditional home supervised by a wood craftsman, and falcon hunting /Courtesy of Cultural Heritage Administration

With the latest addition, Korea now has 11 traditions on the list. The other eight are  the royal ancestral ritual at the Jongmyo shrine and its music (2001); the pansori epic chant (2003); the Gangneung Danoje Festival (2005); Ganggangsullae dance (2009); Namsadang Nori performance (2009); Yeongsanjae Buddhist ritual (2009); Jeju Chilmeoridang Yeongdeunggut shaman ritual (2009); and the Cheoyongmu dance (2009).

Gagok is sung with the accompaniment of a small orchestra with lyrics from traditional poems. There are 41 surviving gagoks. Daemokjang refers to a traditional wood craftsman who oversees the whole process of building houses. Falconry which was usually practiced in the winter in Korea is listed together with other countries such as Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Mongolia, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Syria, and United Arab Emirates.

englishnews@chosun.com / Nov. 17, 2010 12:44 KST