The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) has asked the Prime Minister for permission to join the Republic of Korea (RoK) in compiling a multinational dossier seeking UNESCO’s recognition of the traditional craft of “son mai” (lacquer) as part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage.
If it is allowed, the ministry will work with relevant ministries, sectors and localities as well as the RoK and other countries that boast traditional lacquer techniques to design the dossier.
On September 16, 2015, the RoK’s Cultural Heritage Administration sent a letter to MCST to ask for coordination in building a multinational dossier seeking UNESCO’s recognition of the art of lacquer as part of the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
MCST cited the RoK as saying that China and Japan could also join in the compilation.
The countries’ coordination aims to help preserve and promote the unique values of lacquer and bolster cooperation in protecting intangible cultural heritage among regional nations, the ministry added.
Vietnamese “son mai” is a traditional handicraft first used during Vietnam’s feudal age. Son mai painting has evolved over time, especially during the 1930s when artists and students at L’Ecole des Beaux Art d’Indochine (Indochina Fine Arts School) resurrected the medium, fusing it with French techniques and positioning it as a fine art.
The medium gets its name from sap extracted from the “son” tree that inhabits the mountains of the northern province of Phu Tho.
If permission is given, this will be the second time Vietnam will have joined the compilation of a multinational dossier.
Previously, Vietnam coordinated with Cambodia, the RoK and the Philippines to build a dossier for the tugging rituals and games (a tug-of-war ritual practiced as a prayer for a good harvest), which were added to UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2015.
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