The Afghan government has begun efforts to register the following with UNESCO as “intangible” cultural heritage: Behzad’s technique of painting miniatures, the art of making the stringed instrument known as a rubab, and the national dance, known as the Atan, the Ministry of Information and Culture said.
The ministry said that documentation for the three proposed techniques has been collected and evidence of their Afghan origins will be submitted to UNESCO through Afghanistan’s embassy in France.
The ministry said that 11 cultural heritage techniques have been added to the list of the country’s intangible heritage and that they will also be registered at UNESCO.
“What is needed for documentation are interviews, photos, consent letters, and research,” said Mahbooba Babakarkhil, head of the intangible cultural heritage department of the Ministry of Information and Culture.
She said that the ministry team traveled to the provinces to document the art of rubab-making, miniature-paining, and the Atan dance.
“It took a lot of time to travel to the provinces and to find Behzad’s birthplace and the place where he was buried. We want to register Behzad’s miniature style,” she said.
“Regretfully, we have fallen behind neighboring countries… We call on UNESCO to accept at least three cases in a year considering the threat that Afghanistan’s tangible and intangible heritage faces,” said the acting minister of information and culture, Tahir Zuhair.
A former Afghan diplomat for UNESCO, Reza Azimi, is running the UNESCO-related activities at Afghanistan’s embassy in Paris.