Developed in 2008, UNESCO’s Representative List is made up of intangible cultural heritage elements that demonstrate the diversity of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. It also raises awareness of their importance to humanity, and encourages dialogue and respect for the cultural diversity of the world.
It is worth noting that the successful listing of an element on UNESCO’s Representative List by a country does not imply that this element belongs to, originates from, or exists only in the submitting country. Since the Representative List was developed in 2008, a total of 399 elements have been inscribed as at December 2017. Here are some examples from the Asia-Pacific region:
Japan: Washoku is the traditional dietary culture of the Japanese, notably for the celebration of the New Year. A social practice related to families and communities coming together for the preparation and consumption of food, it is also associated with the knowledge of nature in the use of seasonal ingredients, and traditional culinary techniques involved in the preparation processes.
South Korea: Kimjang, the making and sharing of kimchi, is recognised as an intangible cultural heritage element and an important part of Korean identity. The preparation of kimchi follows the cycles of the seasons, and the preparation technique is traditionally passed down from mothers to daughters.
Indonesia: Traditional Balinese Dance is a performing art that simultaneously expresses social beliefs and customs, and embodies traditional craftsmanship in its costumes and accessories. Indonesian batik is significant not just as a textile that involves workmanship, but also because its role is related to social customs through the various stages of life of Indonesians. For instance, batik is used as baby slings, for traditional dresses, and as ceremonial textiles in funerary rituals.