Behzad-style miniature, Atan and Afghan Rubab sent to UNESCO for registration

8 Subh, Kabul: The head of the Ministry of Information and Culture announced that three items of Afghanistan’s intangible cultural heritage of the country, including the Atan (national dance), Behzad Miniature and Afghan Rubab, have been sent to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for registration.

The acting Minister of Information and Culture, Mohammad Tahir Zuhair, made the announcement at a news conference on Tuesday, February 23. He said that the Ministry of Information and Culture has so far given national recognition to 20 items of intangible cultural heritage, and that work is under way to register them with UNESCO.

According to him, among these 20 examples of intangible cultural heritage, the files and documents for three, which include Behzad-style miniature art, Afghan Rubab and the national dance, Atan, have been completed. Zuhair added that the documents will be submitted to UNESCO through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for registration as part of the World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The acting Minister of Information and Culture explained that UNESCO registers only one intangible cultural heritage from each country each year. Mohammad Tahir Zuhair says that because Afghanistan was late in registering its intangible cultural heritage, he called on UNESCO to accept and register at least three heritages a year from Afghanistan because of the dangers they face.

However, Zuhair said the country’s 17 intangible cultural heritages have been nationally registered with the Ministry of Information and Culture and will be registered with UNESCO in the coming years. The 17 intangible cultural heritages include blacksmithing, Qarsak (dance), the game of Falak, tile making, Nastaliq calligraphy, silkworm cocoon breeding, silk weaving, Charda Paal (a game), pishpo (a dance), Barak weaving, spear play, Samanak (food), Mirab, Nooristan woodcarving, Night of Yalda, and windmills.

The head of the Ministry of Information and Culture has asked the people to share any other intangible cultural heritage with the Ministry of Information and Culture. Meanwhile, the action of Turkey and Iran to register miniature art and calligraphy in UNESCO as a common heritage of the two countries in the past had come in for criticism from the Ministry of Information and Culture.

The Ministry of Information and Culture also said that Afghanistan owns miniature arts and calligraphy and that the two countries should respect this position. Kamaluddin Behzad, Sultan Hussein Bayiqra and Amir Ali Shir Khan Nawayi are considered to be the founders of these arts.