This study reviews the Ministry of Heritage and Culture’s efforts to preserve intangible cultural heritage in the Sultanate of Oman through focusing on three main aspects.
Documentation of intangible cultural heritage internationally:
As part of the Sultanate's efforts to document Oman’s intangible cultural heritage, the Ministry of Heritage and Culture has had seven examples of Oman’s intangible cultural heritage added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
The inclusion of these elements reflects both the Sultanate’s interest in its folk heritage and global recognition of Omani heritage. The most important is the many Omani sites that have been recognised as world heritage sites, including Bahla Fort in 1987, the archaeological sites of Bat, Al-Khutm and Al-Ayn in 1988, the road of al-Luban, and the Aflaj irrigation systems in 2006.
Twelve documents were presented as examples of intangible cultural heritage in Oman, and six were accepted in 2010, (Al-Barah, an ancient system for distilling rosewater, Al Khanjar, Raaha, Al-Razfa and Al Ayala); the remaining documents will be re-submitted. In 2011, the Sultanate presented two new documents about Al-Midan and Al-Azi.
Oman’s National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage The objectives of Oman’s National List include:
1) Cataloguing and categorising Oman’s intangible cultural heritage in order to preserve and protect this heritage.
2) Documenting all data and information related to intangible cultural heritage
3) Reviewing all published and written material about intangible cultural heritage
4) Developing a database for all the activities related to intangible cultural heritage
Publications related to intangible cultural heritage:
The Ministry of Heritage and Culture has published a number of publications, contributing to the documentation of Omani heritage and introducing it locally and internationally as part of a series on Oman’s intangible cultural heritage and an oral history project.
This project included folk arts, traditional crafts and social events. Researchers were assigned to conduct field research including interviews with the people who are most familiar with these topics.
This project is distinguished by its approach, which combines data from scientific sources and information that can be deduced from the items themselves.
Emad bin Jassim Al Bahrani